Making Race: Modernism and Racial Art in America

Hardcover | July 20, 2015

byJacqueline Francis

not yet rated|write a review

Malvin Gray Johnson, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Max Weber were three New York City artists whose work was popularly assigned to the category of "racial art" in the interwar years of the twentieth century. The term was widely used by critics and the public at the time, and was an unexamined, unquestioned category for the work of non-whites (such as Johnson, an African American), non-Westerners (such as Kuniyoshi, a Japanese-born American), and ethnicized non-Christians (such as Weber, a Russian-born Jewish American). The discourse on racial art is a troubling chapter in the history of early American modernism that has not, until now, been sufficiently documented. Jacqueline Francis juxtaposes the work of these three artists in order to consider their understanding of the category and their stylistic responses to the expectations created by it, in the process revealing much about the nature of modernist art practices.

Most American audiences in the interwar period disapproved of figural abstraction and held modernist painting in contempt, yet the critics who first expressed appreciation for Johnson, Kuniyoshi, and Weber praised their bright palettes and energetic pictures--and expected to find the residue of the minority artist's heritage in the work itself. Francis explores the flowering of racial art rhetoric in criticism and history published in the 1920s and 1930s, and analyzes its underlying presence in contemporary discussions of artists of color. Making Race is a history of a past phenomenon which has ramifications for the present.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$110.19

In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Malvin Gray Johnson, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Max Weber were three New York City artists whose work was popularly assigned to the category of "racial art" in the interwar years of the twentieth century. The term was widely used by critics and the public at the time, and was an unexamined, unquestioned category for the work of non-whites (s...

Jacqueline Francis is a senior lecturer at the California College of the Arts.

other books by Jacqueline Francis

Eleven Voices
Eleven Voices

Kobo ebook|Feb 18 2010

$7.69 online$9.99list price(save 23%)
Not Just Good, but Beautiful: The Complementary Relationship between Man and Woman
Not Just Good, but Beautiful: The Complementary Relatio...

Kobo ebook|Sep 21 2015

$10.09 online$13.11list price(save 23%)
see all books by Jacqueline Francis
Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:July 20, 2015Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295996897

ISBN - 13:9780295996899

Customer Reviews of Making Race: Modernism and Racial Art in America

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsList of Illustrations

1. Introduction

2. The Meaning of Modernism

3. Making Race in American Religious Painting

4. Type/Face/Mask: Racial Portraiture

5. The Race of Landscape

6. Conclusion

Notes BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

There is a theoretical framework to this study, that grows out of the author’s interest in both multiculturalism and race theory, and she does a masterful job in exploring the work of the three artists through a variety of lenses.

- David M. Sokol - The Journal of American Culture - 2014