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An American Lens: Scenes from Alfred Stieglitz's New York Secession

ISBN: 9780262524889, Title: An American Lens: Scenes from Alfred Stieglitz's New York Secession
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In An American Lens, Jay Bochner looks at a series of milestones in thedevelopment of the American avant-garde that capture a pivotal period in artisticconsciousness. He focuses on the multiple roles of Alfred Stieglitz -- asinfluential gallery owner, photographer, and impresario of the emerging art scene --at a series of significant moments in his career. These close-ups offer a moreintense and expanded understanding of the subject than the familiar longview.Bochner uses these scenes to recreate for today's readers the birth ofmodernism in America--what it was like to be an audience for the art of the earlyavant-garde. Moving from frame to frame, he shows us, for example, a singlephotograph by Stieglitz of a snowy night in 1893 and a short description by StephenCrane of just such a snowfall; the preparation, the reception, and the aftermath ofthe famous Armory Show of modern art in 1913; Gertrude Stein's portraits in prose;New York at the dawn of Dada, with Paul Strand, Francis Picabia, and others; and theintersecting paths of Mina Loy, William Carlos Williams, and Marcel Duchamp in 1917.Bochner also examines Stieglitz's three great photographic series: his photographsof Georgia O'Keeffe, of clouds, and of skyscrapers. These sections of the bookinclude many Stieglitz photos, including some rarely seen portraits ofO'Keeffe.Stieglitz as impresario and artist achieved an almost mythical status, which some recent critics have worked to deflate -- casting him, for example, asSvengali to Georgia O'Keeffe's spellbound Trilby. Engaging in neither idolatry nordemolition, Bochner looks instead for the truth about the man and the myth. Thescenes from American art in An American Lens create a new version of Stieglitz'sbiography, allowing us to reread his life and the life of his times by focusingintently on what is visible and not so visible in the art he left behind.

  • Author:
  • Publisher:MIT Press (MA)
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008
  • ISBN-13:9780262524889
  • ISBN-10: 0262524880