I would like to bring your attention to what looks like an extremely important book: Robert Genter’s Late Modernism: Art, Culture, and Politics in Cold War America. This is another in the excellent The Arts and Intellectual Life in Modern America from Penn Press, edited by Casey Nelson Blake. Here at UISH book reviews, we’ve already reviewed two books from this series. Tim Lacy reviewed Richard Cándida Smith’s The Modern Moves West: California Artists and Democratic Culture in the Twentieth Century. Tim also interviewed Professor Cándida Smith here. And I reviewed the Casey Nelson Blake edited The Arts of Democracy: Art, Public Culture, and the State.
Here are a few enticing blurbs in support of Genter’s new book:
“Late Modernism is a boldly original and undoubtedly controversial study of how modernism was transformed, assimilated, and sometimes institutionalized after 1945, before being challenged in the 1960s and 1970s. Exhaustively researched and lucidly argued, the book sheds light on a large, idiosyncratic cast of artists and thinkers, from David Riesman and C. Wright Mills to Jasper Johns and Kenneth Burke. It provides us with a fresh, illuminating synthesis as it tracks the eddies and crosscurrents of postwar American culture.”
—Morris Dickstein, author of Gates of Eden and Dancing in the Dark
“Late Modernism makes a profound contribution to the understanding of the history of modernism in American arts and letters in the mid-twentieth century. I do not know of anything currently available in intellectual and cultural history that offers such a striking reformulation of the course of modernist ideas and practices in the decades after World War II.”—Howard Brick, author of Age of Contradiction: American Thought and Culture in the 1960s