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Art across Frontiers: Cross-cultural Encounters in America. Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 April 2013


This short introduction provides a brief overview of the special issue, by addressing the main historiographical and theoretical concerns that unite the individual contributions and by placing the essays in comparative, inter-American and interdisciplinary perspective. What do comparative analyses tell us about patterns of cross-cultural exchange in the visual arts? More specifically, what do these analyses tell us about the role of ethnic agency and audience, and the complex relationship between artistic practice and the “mainstream,” the local and the global?

Art Across Frontiers Forum
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013

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1 Spitta, Silvia, Misplaced Objects: Migrating Collections and Recollections in Europe and the Americas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009), 5Google Scholar; Brandauer, Aline, “Practicing modernism: ‘… for the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house …’,” in Mirzoeff, Nicholas, ed., Diaspora and Visual Culture: Representing Africans and Jews (London: Routledge, 2000), 254–61, 260Google Scholar; Harris, Jonathan, ed., Dead History? Live Art: Spectacle, Subjectivity and Subversion in Visual Culture since the 1960s (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010), 17Google Scholar.

2 For example, see Fletcher, Valerie, ed., Cross-currents of Modernism: Four Latin American Pioneers: Diego Rivera, Joaquín Torres-García, Wifredo Lam, and Roberto Matta (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992)Google Scholar; Lemke, Sieglinde, Primitivist Modernism: Black Culture and the Origins of Transatlantic Modernism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Phillips, Ruth B. and Steiner, Christopher B., eds., Unpacking Culture: Art and Commodity in Colonial and Postcolonial Worlds (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999)Google Scholar; Mercer, Kobena, ed., Cosmopolitan Modernisms (Cambridge, MA, Institute of International Visual Arts and MIT Press, 2005)Google Scholar; Mercer, Kobena, ed., Exiles, Diasporas and Strangers (Cambridge, MA: Institute of International Visual Arts and MIT Press, 2008)Google Scholar; Anthes, Bill, Native Moderns: American Indian Painting, 1940–1960 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006)Google Scholar.

3 See Cancel, Luis, ed., The Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States, 1920–1970 (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1988)Google Scholar; Goldman, Shifra, Dimensions of the Americas: Art and Social Change in Latin America and the United States (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994)Google Scholar; Herzog, Melanie, Elizabeth Catlett: An American Artist in Mexico (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000)Google Scholar; Sims, Lowery Stokes, Wifredo Lam and the International Avant-Garde, 1923–1982 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002)Google Scholar; Lopez, Anna Indych, Muralism without Walls: Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros in the United States, 1927–1940 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009)Google Scholar; Cullen, Deborah, ed., Nexus New York: Latin/American Artists in the Modern Metropole (New York: El Museo del Barrio and Yale University Press, 2009)Google Scholar; Hutchinson, Elizabeth, Indian Craze: Primitivism, Modernism, and Transculturation in American Art, 1890–1915 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Francis, Jacqueline, Making Race: Modernism and “Racial Art” in America (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012)Google Scholar.

4 Lippard, Lucy, Mixed Blessings: New Art in a Multicultural America (New York: New Press, 1990)Google Scholar.

5 Miller, Angela, Berlo, Janet, Wolf, Bryan and Roberts, Jennifer, eds., American Encounters: Art, History, and Cultural Identity (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008)Google Scholar.

6 Ibid., xvi.

7 See Ybarra-Frausto, Tomás, “Rasquachismo: A Chicano Sensibility,” in Mercer, Kobena, ed., Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures (Cambridge, MA: Institute of International Visual Arts and MIT Press, 2007), 5867Google Scholar.

8 Mercer, Exiles, 16; Lippard, 9.

9 Valerie Fletcher, “Introduction,” in Fletcher, Cross-Currents, 14–39, 15, 37; Sims.

10 See especially Mercer, Cosmopolitan Modernisms.

11 Lemke, 6–7; Anthes, 89–116.

12 Deborah Cullen, “The Allure of Harlem: Correlations between Mexicanidad and the New Negro Movements,” in Cullen, ed., Nexus New York, 126–49.

13 Gibson, Ann Eden, Abstract Expressionism: Other Politics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997)Google Scholar; Mercer, Kobena, ed., Discrepant Abstraction (Cambridge, MA: Institute of International Visual Arts and MIT Press, 2006)Google Scholar.

14 Lock's contribution is available in this journal's online version only.

15 O'Reilly, Andrea Herrera, Cuban Artists across the Diaspora: Setting the Tent against the House (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011), 11Google Scholar.

16 Goldman, Dimensions of the Americas, 36–37.

17 Mosquera, Gerardo and Fisher, Jean, “Introduction,” in Mosquera, and Fisher, , eds., Over Here: International Perspectives on Art and Culture (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004), 28, 6Google Scholar.

18 Miller et al., American Encounters, xii.

19 Ybarra-Frausto, Tomás, “Imagining a More Expansive Narrative of Art,” American Art, 19, 3 (2005), 915, 11CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

20 Lippard, Mixed Blessings, 9, 14.

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