The Living Line: Modern Art and the Economy of Energy by Robin VederThe Living Line: Modern Art and the Economy of Energy by Robin Veder

The Living Line: Modern Art and the Economy of Energy

byRobin Veder

Paperback | April 7, 2015

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Runner-up for the Charles C. Eldredge Prize

Robin Veder’s The Living Line is a radical reconceptualization of the development of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American modernism. The author illuminates connections among the histories of modern art, body cultures, and physiological aesthetics in early-twentieth-century American culture, fundamentally altering our perceptions about art and the physical, and the degree of cross-pollination in the arts.

The Living Line shows that American producers and consumers of modernist visual art repeatedly characterized their aesthetic experience in terms of kinesthesia, the sense of bodily movement. They explored abstraction with kinesthetic sensibilities and used abstraction to achieve kinesthetic goals. In fact, the formalist approach to art was galvanized by theories of bodily response derived from experimental physiological psychology and facilitated by contemporary body cultures such as modern dance, rhythmic gymnastics, physical education, and physical therapy. Situating these complementary ideas and exercises in relation to enduring fears of neurasthenia, Veder contends that aesthetic modernism shared industrial modernity’s objective of efficiently managing neuromuscular energy.

In a series of finely grained and interconnected case studies, Veder demonstrates that diverse modernists associated with the Armory Show, the Société Anonyme, the Stieglitz circle (especially O’Keeffe), and the Barnes Foundation participated in these discourses and practices and that “kin-aesthetic modernism” greatly influenced the formation of modern art in America and beyond.

This daring and completely original work will appeal to a broad audience of art historians, historians of the body, and American culture in general.

About The Author

ROBIN VEDER is an associate professor of humanities and art history/visual culture, Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg.

Details & Specs

Title:The Living Line: Modern Art and the Economy of EnergyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:424 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:April 7, 2015Publisher:Dartmouth College PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1611687241

ISBN - 13:9781611687248

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Body Cultures, Physiological Aesthetics, and Kin-aesthetic Modernism
Poise
Empathy
Motive
Habit
Shock
Signature
Caricature
Rhythm
Vibration
Discomfort
Organization
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

Runner-up for the Charles C. Eldredge PrizeRobin Veder’s The Living Line is a radical reconceptualization of the development of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American modernism. The author illuminates connections among the histories of modern art, body cultures, and physiological aesthetics in early-twentieth-century American culture, fundamentally altering our perceptions about art and the physical, and the degree of cross-pollination in the arts. The Living Line shows that American producers and consumers of modernist visual art repeatedly characterized their aesthetic experience in terms of kinesthesia, the sense of bodily movement. They explored abstraction with kinesthetic sensibilities and used abstraction to achieve kinesthetic goals. In fact, the formalist approach to art was galvanized by theories of bodily response derived from experimental physiological psychology and facilitated by contemporary body cultures such as modern dance, rhythmic gymnastics, physical education, and physical therapy. Situating these complementary ideas and exercises in relation to enduring fears of neurasthenia, Veder contends that aesthetic modernism shared industrial modernity’s objective of efficiently managing neuromuscular energy. In a series of finely grained and interconnected case studies, Veder demonstrates that diverse modernists associated with the Armory Show, the Société Anonyme, the Stieglitz circle (especially O’Keeffe), and the Barnes Foundation participated in these discourses and practices and that “kin-aesthetic modernism” greatly influenced the formation of modern art in America and beyond. This daring and completely original work will appeal to a broad audience of art historians, historians of the body, and American culture in general.“The Living Line is a stunningly original history of early American modernism. By analyzing art in relation to modern dance and other body cultures such as functional and rhythmic exercise systems, Robin Veder restores the long-neglected principle of physiological aesthetics to its rightful position as the engine of early twentieth-century modernist thought and creative action. This is a book that will radically refresh our ideas about the art and artists of that vital and exciting time.” - Sarah Burns, professor emeritus of art history, Indiana University