Primitivist-Modernism : Black Culture and the Origins of Transatlantic Modernism

3.66 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
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This book offers a bold new account of modernism. By focusing on cubism, primitivist-modernism, jazz, and Josephine Baker's performance, Lemke demonstrates that black art exerted a crucial if masked presence in both Euro-American high art and popular culture. American and European modernism owe much of their symbolic capital to the black cultural other. Black American artists, for their part, also relied on Euro-American American models. By reappropriating European primitivist-modernism, they invented a sui generis black more

Product details

  • Hardback | 192 pages
  • 158 x 230 x 24mm | 439.98g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 019510403X
  • 9780195104035

Back cover copy

Insisting on modernism's two-way cultural flow, Lemke demonstrates not only that white modernism owes much of its symbolic capital to the black Other, but that black modernism built itself in part on white Euro-American models. Through readings of individual texts and images (fifteen examples of which are reproduced in this volume), Lemke reforms our understanding of modernism. She shows us that transatlantic modernism in both its high and popular modes was significantly more diverse than commonly supposed. Students and scholars of modernism, African American studies, and cultural studies, and those with interests in twentieth-century art, dance, music, or literature, will find this book more

Review quote

Lemke makes a valuable contribution to understanding the impact of black culture on European and American modernism....It is indeed welcome to find a study of this subject that embraces artists and theorists of both the Harlem Renaissance and the European avant-garde. Notable for its command of source materials and recent scholarship alike, Primitivist Modernism opens avenues for further research on interculturalism and modernity. * Choice *show more

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