Thursday, November 5, 2009, 5:30 – 7:00
University Press Books, 2430 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
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Tracing the development of abstract painting, assemblage art, and efforts to build new arts institutions, Cándida Smith lays bare the tensions between the democratic and professional sides of modern and contemporary art as California developed a distinct regional cultural life. Men and women from groups long alienated—if not forcibly excluded—from the worlds of “high culture” made their way in, staking out their participation with images and objects that responded to particular circumstances as well as dilemmas of contemporary life, in the process changing the public for whom art was made. Beginning with the emergence of modern art in nineteenth-century France and its influence on young Westerners and continuing through to today’s burgeoning border art movement along the U.S.-Mexican frontier, The Modern Moves West dramatically illustrates the paths that California artists took toward a more diverse and inclusive culture.
Richard Cándida Smith is Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, and author or editor of several books, including Utopia and Dissent: Art, Poetry, and Politics in California.