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Collecting as Modernist Practice


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Braddock pieces together a fascinating and important new cultural history of modernism. It is a marvelous achievement, one that will be amply praised for the way it places African American culture at the center of modernism. -- Jesse Matz, Kenyon College With his kaleidoscopic analysis of the efflorescence of collecting in the first decades of the twentieth century, Braddock transforms the cartography of transatlantic modernism. His remarkably erudite reading of a wide range of practices demonstrates not only the prevalence of collecting but also its significance as one of the key modes of modernist aesthetics. -- Brent Hayes Edwards, Columbia University This is a terrific book that will add substantially to general accounts of early U.S. modernism by providing a finely drawn map of the emergence of some key collections. Just as importantly, it will bring into the open what has been hiding in plain sight: the multidimensional, generative role of the collection in modernism. -- Janet Lyon, The Pennsylvania State University Meticulously researched and lucidly written, Collecting as Modernist Practice enriches the conversation about the spread of modernism into mainstream society and its pervasive presence in the West. -- John Xiros Cooper, The University of British Columbia

Table of Contents

Introduction: Collections Mediation Modernist
1. After Imagisme
The Lyric Year and the Crisis in Cultural Valuation
The Anthology as Weapon
The Others Formation
Reprisal Anthologies
2. The Domestication of Modernism: The Phillips
Memorial Gallery in the 1920s
Pictorial Publicity
Subconscious Stimulation, a Professional Public Sphere
Problems in Collecting Pictures
Akhenaten, Patron of Modernism
3. The Barnes Foundation, Institution of the New Psychologies
Against Dilettantism
A System for the New Spirit
Collection and Institution
The Art of Memory in the Age of the Unconscious
4. The New Negro in the Field of Collections
Sage Homme Noir
Precursor Anthologies
Coterie, Movement, Race
The Heritage of The New Negro
Downstairs from the Harlem Museum
5. Modernism's Archives: Afterlives of the Modernist Collection
Two Termini
Two Consecrations
Two Archives

About the Author

Jeremy Braddock is an associate professor of English at Cornell University.


A book that's going to rewrite what we think about art objects, poems, property, museums, anthologies-and race and modernity and on and on... So comprehensive is it that it will be impossible to ignore. -- Tim Morton Ecology Without Nature The final chapter on the institutionalization of modernism in archival collections and rare book libraries is particularly illuminating for the history of librarianship... The breadth of his scholarship, evidenced by the seventy pages dedicated to the index and bibliography, makes this title a critical addition to libraries supporting modern art collections and modern art history programs. Art Libraries Society of North America Acute and important... a wide-ranging study based on the unexpected but revealing parallels between the selection of work for poetry anthologies and the acquisition of art for collections during the modernist era. -- Barry Schwabsky The Nation Braddock's book stands as a towering achievement... Essential. Choice Collecting as a Modernist Practice not only explains how art is consumed, but it also analyzes how art circulates, not freely, but according to choices made by people who enjoy either power, influence, or fortune. The author not only tells how things happened, but he also links decisions with consequences... Historians of ideas, sociologists of art and culture, and advanced students in cultural studies will surely benefit from this elegant, well-written book. -- Yves Laberge Journal of American Culture Braddock... neatly outline[s] the path of the modernist collection from provisional institution to mainstream culture to large institution in a cogent manner that may cause present-day museum professionals and collectors to consider the potential life cycle of their collecting and display practices. -- Kara York Journal of Curatorial Studies Collecting as Modernist Practice, Jeremy Braddock's closely reasoned and well written examination of modernist collecting practices, demonstrates how attempts to define and regulate culture often reveal underlying structures of political and economic power... -- John Scheckter Ecloga Jeremy Braddock's Collecting as Modernist Practice makes a very productive expansion of the archival turn in modernist studies... Braddock's work on Albert Barnes and the Barnes Foundation is sure to elicit attention and further development in modernist studies. The Year's Work in English Studies

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