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New books by Art History faculty

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 3:51pm
Alan Flurry

Congratulations to two Art History faculty members in the Lamar Dodd School of Art who recently had books published.

Dr. Alisa Luxenberg, Professor of Art History, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in 18th- and 19th-century European art and the early history of photography. Her recent research has resulted in a volume edited with Reva Wolf: Freemasonry and the Visual Arts from the Eighteenth Century Forward: Historical and Global Perspectives:

With the dramatic rise of Freemasonry in the eighteenth century, art played a fundamental role in its practice, rhetoric, and global dissemination, while Freemasonry, in turn, directly influenced developments in art. This mutually enhancing relationship has only recently begun to receive its due. This volume offers diverse approaches, and explores the challenges inherent to studying Freemasonry, through a series of eye-opening case studies. These case studies reveal new dimensions of well-known artists such as Francisco de Goya and John Singleton Copley, and important collectors and entrepreneurs, including Arturo Alfonso Schomburg and Baron Taylor. Individual essays take readers to various countries within Europe and to America, Iran, India, and Haiti. The kinds of art analyzed are remarkably wide-ranging - porcelain, architecture, posters, prints, photography, painting, sculpture, metalwork, and more - and offer a clear picture of the international scope of the relationships between Freemasonry and art and their significance for the history of modern social life, politics, and spiritual practices. In examining this topic broadly yet deeply, Freemasonry and the Visual Arts sets a standard for serious study of the subject and suggests new avenues of investigation in this fascinating emerging field.

Dr. Nell Andrew, Associate Professor of Art History, teaches courses in Modern Art, the historical avant-garde, dance history, and early film. Moving Modernism: The Urge to Abstraction in Painting, Dance, Cinema (Oxford UP, 2020) is Andrew’s first book. 

In early twentieth-century Europe, the watershed developments of pictorial abstraction, modern dance, and cinema coincided to shift the artistic landscape and the future of modern art. In Moving Modernism, Nell Andrew challenges assumptions about modernist abstraction and its appearance in the field of painting. By recovering performances, methods, and circles of aesthetic influence for avant-garde dance pioneers and filmmakers—including dancer Loïe Fuller, who presented to symbolist artists the possibility of prolonged or suspended vision; Valentine de Saint-Point, whose radical dance paralleled the abstractions of cubo-futurist painting; Sophie Taeuber and her Dada dance; the Belgian “pure plastics” choreographer known as Akarova; and the dance-like cinema of Germaine Dulac—Andrew demonstrates that abstraction was deployed not only as modernist form but as an apparatus of creation, perception, and reception across artistic media. 

Great new scholarship in the field that expands our understanding on these vital subjects and continues to help the university attract young scholars to study with some of the best.

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