Engendering an avant-garde

The unsettled landscapes of Vancouver photo-conceptualism

by Leah Modigliani, Amelia Jones

Description
Engendering an avant-garde is the first book to comprehensively examine the origins of Vancouver photo-conceptualism in its regional context between 1968 and 1990. Employing discourse analysis of texts written by and about artists, feminist critique and settler-colonial theory, the book discusses the historical transition from artists' creation of 'defeatured landscapes' between 1968-71 to their cinematographic photographs of the late 1970s and the backlash against such work by other artists in the late 1980s. It is the first study to provide a structural account for why the group remains all-male. It accomplishes this by demonstrating that the importation of a European discourse of avant-garde activity, which assumed masculine social privilege and public activity, effectively excluded women artists from membership.
Rights Information

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Endorsements

Engendering an avant-garde is the first book to comprehensively examine the origins of Vancouver photo-conceptualism in its regional context between 1968 and 1990. Employing discourse analysis of texts written by and about artists, feminist critique, and settler-colonial theory, the book discusses the historical transition from artists' creation of 'defeatured landscapes' between 1968-71 to their cinematographic photographs of the late 1970s and the backlash against such work by other artists in the late 1980s. The book analyses Jeff Wall and Ian Wallace's strategic framing of their photography as avant-garde, and considers their rejection of the history of regional landscape painting, the counter-cultural experiments of their peers, and the integration of feminist challenges to figurative representation into their work. It is the first study to provide a structural accounting for why the group remains all-male. It accomplishes this by demonstrating that the importation of a European discourse of avant-garde activity, which assumed masculine social privilege and public activity, effectively excluded women artists from membership. In doing so, it intervenes in formalist art critics' validation of the technical innovation of the Vancouver School as a universal phenomenon of global importance by revealing the social exclusions that empowered it in the past and continue to invest it with authority. Engendering an avant-garde will appeal to a broad range of scholars and students interested in Canadian art history, contemporary photography, the history of the avant-garde, and the role visual culture plays in establishing and maintaining control over discursive and physical territories.

Reviews

Engendering an avant-garde is the first book to comprehensively examine the origins of Vancouver photo-conceptualism in its regional context between 1968 and 1990. Employing discourse analysis of texts written by and about artists, feminist critique, and settler-colonial theory, the book discusses the historical transition from artists' creation of 'defeatured landscapes' between 1968-71 to their cinematographic photographs of the late 1970s and the backlash against such work by other artists in the late 1980s. The book analyses Jeff Wall and Ian Wallace's strategic framing of their photography as avant-garde, and considers their rejection of the history of regional landscape painting, the counter-cultural experiments of their peers, and the integration of feminist challenges to figurative representation into their work. It is the first study to provide a structural accounting for why the group remains all-male. It accomplishes this by demonstrating that the importation of a European discourse of avant-garde activity, which assumed masculine social privilege and public activity, effectively excluded women artists from membership. In doing so, it intervenes in formalist art critics' validation of the technical innovation of the Vancouver School as a universal phenomenon of global importance by revealing the social exclusions that empowered it in the past and continue to invest it with authority. Engendering an avant-garde will appeal to a broad range of scholars and students interested in Canadian art history, contemporary photography, the history of the avant-garde, and the role visual culture plays in establishing and maintaining control over discursive and physical territories.

Author Biography

Amelia Jones is Robert A. Day Professor of Art and Design and Vice Dean of Critical Studies at the Roski School of Art and Design, University of Southern California

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Bibliographic Information
  • Pub date: April 2018
  • 9781526126733 / 1526126737
  • United Kingdom
  • PDF
  • Primary Price: 114 GBP
  • Manchester University Press
  • Readership: General/trade
  • Publish State: Published
  • Reference Code: 7452