Modernism at the Barricades: Aesthetics, Politics, Utopia

Paperback | August 5, 2014

byStephen Eric Bronner

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Stephen Eric Bronner revisits the modernist project's groundbreaking innovations, itsexperimental imagination, and its utopian politics. Reading the artistic and intellectual achievements of the movement's leading figures against larger social, political, and cultural trends, he follows the rise of a flawed yet salient effort at liberation and its confrontation with modernity.

Modernism at the Barricades features chapters on expressionism, futurism, surrealism, and revolutionary art and includes fresh perspectives on the work of Arnold Schoenberg, Wassily Kandinsky, and Emil Nolde, among others. The volume illuminates an international avant garde intent on resisting bureaucracy, standardization, scientific rationality, and the increasing commodification of mass culture. Modernists sought new ways of feeling, new forms of expression, and new possibilities of experience while seeking to refashion society. Liberation was their aim, along with the invigoration of daily life-yet their process entangled political resistance with the cultural.

Exploring both the political responsibility of the artist and the manipulation of authorial intention, Bronner reconfigures the modernist movement for contemporary progressive purposes and offers insight into the problems still complicating cultural politics. He ultimately reasserts the political dimension of developments often understood in purely aesthetic terms and confronts the self-indulgence and political irresponsibility of certain so-called modernists today. The result is a long overdue reinterpretation and rehabilitation of the modernist legacy for a new age.

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Stephen Eric Bronner revisits the modernist project's groundbreaking innovations, itsexperimental imagination, and its utopian politics. Reading the artistic and intellectual achievements of the movement's leading figures against larger social, political, and cultural trends, he follows the rise of a flawed yet salient effort at liber...

Stephen Eric Bronner is Distinguished Professor (PII) of Political Science at Rutgers University. His books include Socialism Unbound: Principles, Practices, and Prospects; Of Critical Theory and Its Theorists; Camus: Portrait of a Moralist; and Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:216 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:August 5, 2014Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231158238

ISBN - 13:9780231158237

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Table of Contents

List of IllustrationsPrefaceAcknowledgments1. The Modernist Impulse: Subjectivity2. Modernism in Context: Notes for a Political Aesthetic3. Experiencing Modernism: A Short History of Expressionist Painting4. The Modernist Spirit: On the Correspondence Between Arnold Schoenberg and Wassily Kandinsky5. Modernism in Motion: F. T. Marinetti and Italian Futurism6. Ecstatic Modernism: The Paintings of Emil Nolde7. Modernism8. Modernism Changes the World: The Russian Avant-Garde and the Revolution9. Modernists in Power: The Literati and the Bavarian Revolution10. Exhibiting Modernism: Paris and Berlin11. The Modernist Adventure: Political Reflections on a Cultural LegacyNotesIndex

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Editorial Reviews

[A] thought-provoking book.