Late modernism : art, culture, and politics in Cold War by Robert Genter

By Robert Genter

In the thirty years after global warfare II, American highbrow and creative existence replaced as dramatically as did the remainder of society. long gone have been the rebellious lions of modernism—Joyce, Picasso, Stravinsky—and nearing exhaustion have been those that took up their mantle as summary expressionism gave method to pop artwork, and the barren formalism linked to the so-called excessive modernists wilted prior to the hothouse cultural brew of the Nineteen Sixties. based on traditional pondering, it used to be round this time that postmodernism with its attribute skepticism and relativism used to be born.

In Late Modernism, historian Robert Genter remaps the panorama of yank modernism within the early many years of the chilly struggle, tracing the combative debate between artists, writers, and intellectuals over the character of the cultured shape in an age of mass politics and mass tradition. shelling out with conventional narratives that current this second as marking the exhaustion of modernism, Genter argues as an alternative that the Fifties have been the apogee of the stream, as American practitioners—abstract expressionists, Beat poets, formalist critics, color-field painters, and important theorists, between others—debated the connection among shape and content material, culture and innovation, aesthetics and politics. during this compelling paintings of highbrow and cultural heritage Genter provides an invigorated culture of past due modernism, founded at the paintings of Kenneth Burke, Ralph Ellison, C. Wright turbines, David Riesman, Jasper Johns, Norman Brown, and James Baldwin, a practice that overcame the conservative and reactionary politics of competing modernist practitioners and cleared the path for the postmodern flip of the 1960s.

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Indeed, because they represented “the leaders of mankind’s greatest inquiry into the mysteries of matter, of the earth, the universe, and of life itself,” Time magazine named “fifteen scientists” including I. I. 13 At the moment when science was “at the apogee of its power for good or evil,” everyone in the United States including “statesmen and savants, builders and even priests” had become, according to the editors at Time, the “servants” of the modern scientist. ”15 By the time scientist and writer C.

Members of the transplanted Institute for Social Research acknowledged both. ”19 Packed with topical references to the military-industrial complex of the early Cold War, One-Dimensional Man was a vociferous critique of the intermingling of science, technology, and capitalist production, an indictment not only of the sacrifices demanded by American politicians but also of the historical trend of mechanization that characterized modern life. The footnotes in his book pointed to an earlier German text by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno that had first outlined the Frankfurt school critique of modern industrial society.

11 As the sales of amateur microscopes, science kits, and telescopes escalated, American scientists achieved a corresponding elevation in their social standing. Mass-circulation magazines and television programs introduced the “wizards of the coming wonders,” and several scientists, including J. 12 Many scientists were also swept into politics. When the Atomic Energy Commission was established in 1946, a civilian advisory committee was formed to serve as a scientific liaison to commission members.

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