The Great American Thing Summary

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Wanda M. Corn. The Great American Thing: Modern Art and National Identity, 1915-1935. 470 pp., illus., bibl. Berkeley: The University of California Press, 2000. Cloth $50 In history, some authors, including Samuel Isham, believed that American art was imported to America from Europe. Other writers differed and fought to construct a sense of homegrown tradition to visual arts. John McCoubrey’s American Tradition in Painting (1963), for example, brought arguments in scholarly circles. Wanda M. Corn’s The Great American Thing catches the readers’ attention when it addresses some methodological issues of the modern American art and the relationship emerging between the national identity and the American culture. The book review discusses the book’s content as well as a survey of its strengths and, or weaknesses.…show more content…
She bases her argument on the discourse of national identity and the broad examination of the American culture. According to her, the key issues affecting modernists in both Paris and New York during the time was the possibility of creating a modern art with roots in America. Artists from both sides came up with an art that satisfied their suspense. Right from the first chapter, Corn examines the topic from a scholar perspective. Every chapter is organized in such a way to bring the work of art. It connects the emerging artwork to the artists of the time with clear consideration of the cultural influences. Art is seen to have good relationships with literature, history, culture and music as many artists concentrated in them. There is a vibrant exchange of cultures during the first decade of modernization between European art and the New York

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