New York and American Modernism: Space, Time, and The Vision example

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New York and American Modernism: Space, Time, and The Vision

The correlation between the spatial and temporal characteristics of the process of artistic creation and the artwork itself remains an acknowledged, yet understudied area of research.In spite of the modernistic quest in pursuit of “art for art’s sake” with tendency to distance from the objectivity of surrounding reality, the underlying historical, social and cultural factors that influence every artist and each artwork are undeniable. It is the scope of the latter that art historians find it hard to reach consensus about, as there are still a limited number of theoretical frameworks and a small variety of methodological approaches, available for such an analysis. The problem in establishing the degree of spatial and temporal characteristics’ impact on the results of artistic work lies predominantly in its interdisciplinary features. Combining a traditional historiographic approach with formalistic and conceptual analysis of the art pieces appears to be an adequate initial stage for exploring the possibilities of theoretical frameworks in order to establish the best potential methodology applicable. As various locations demonstrate different scope and character of impact, the analysis is limited to the space of acknowledged great artistic potential and to the time period of drastic and challenging social and cultural shifts. They have a solid scholarly reputation of fueling innovative artistic movements, such as modernism, thus the city of New York in the interwar period and its reminiscences in American modernism present an efficient area for research. New York as a space, through transforming and modifying the European artistic experiments in the interwar period, inspired and formed the unique characteristics of American modernism, illustrating the correlation between context and art in artistic vision of the city.

New York and American Modernism: Space, Time and the Vision

Art historians predominantly agree that “New York made modernism, and modernism made New York,” as the modern critic with expertise in American modernism Robert Hughes summarizes. New York in its essence presents a work of art and a modernist creation, and the specifics of the interaction between the city as a social and cultural entity and its artistic representation is a crucial matter to explore. Whichever came first, the emergence of the cultural/architectural/ethnic uniqueness of the city as a multidimensional phenomenon that influenced the art, or the innovative and powerful atmosphere of artistic and spiritual quest that formed the reputation of the “cultural capital”? That question has a lot in common with the eternal naturalistic common knowledge causality dilemma of the hen and the egg. The two processes, although marked by a series of events, are interconnected to such a high degree, that all the boundaries between the areas of interaction are blurred. That is believed to be one of the major characteristics of the modern and post-modern societies, thus, the processes that mark the correlation between space, time and artwork should be analyzed on the crossroads of locus and art, with acknowledgement of the existing fusion and destabilization of the boundaries.

Spatial and Temporal Dimensions …

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