The Nude in America
Written by Bram Dijkstra
New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications Inc., 2010
Synopsis: A resplendent presentation of the nude in American art, photography, and popular culture, from the eighteenth century to the present. With more than four hundred color illustrations, this is the most thorough and wide-reaching survey of the representation of the male and female nude in American visual culture yet published. Bram Dijkstra explores the history of the subject from its earliest manifestations in the paintings of John Singleton Copley and Benjamin West to the taboo-shredding imagery of late-twentieth-century artists such as Alice Neel, Robert Mapplethorpe, Eric Fischl, and John Currin. Dijkstra is a cultural historian who refuses to separate "high" and "low" art, charting instead such momentous historical events as the discovery of pubic hair, the invasion of the pin-up queens, "the inexorable rise of the breast," and the puzzling fluctuations of American prudery. Naked also examines the effects of the early twentieth century's infatuation with Freudian psychoanalysis and the more recent fascination of comic book art with the legacy of Bettie Page and her seemingly ever more muscular daughters. In chronological and thematic order, the book demonstrates the links between the work of some of the most famous names in the history of American painting (Chase, Cassatt, Hopper), sculpture (French, Powers), and photography (Cunningham, Weston), and that of the outlaw hordes of cartoonists, book-cover illustrators, and visual extremists who, particularly during the last half-century, were able to turn the United States into the world's principal purveyor of erotic fantasies.
Bram Dijkstra is professor emeritus of comparative literature and cultural history at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of numerous books, including American Expressionism, Art and Social Change, 1920-1950 and Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture.
Pages: 208 pp., 225 color images
Dimensions: 27.9 x 24.8 cm
Price: $75.00 Contact: Amazon