This essay explores Kruse’s use of humor in his art criticism and self-representation, considers how and why both aspects of his work relate to America’s enthusiasm for caricature during the interwar years, and examines how an artist adept with mass media and speaking to broad audiences engaged caricature and publicity to combat his fraught status in the art world.
By making his reflexive bodily movements the sole source as well as the transcriber of his ideas, Anastasi mobilized the concept of know-how, or techne. . . . His drawing practice helped him reconcile two emerging identities: one as a dedicated, ambitious artist and the other as an untrained amateur Conceptualist.
During the 1910s, amateur art was inflected with aesthetic and political radicalism and yet was also deeply American; at the same time, it challenged the genteel tradition of the nineteenth century and redefined a national spirit in the arts while remaining on the cutting edge of modern philosophy and an international avant-garde.
A focused examination of the artist’s portrayals of the shop girl, alongside an understanding of what that role represented in the early twentieth century, offers a more complicated picture of the working woman and the association of middle-class consumers with her.
In each of the examples studied in this essay, artists deployed an affected lack of virtuosity in their early video artworks to confront established hierarchies—in short, to establish video as a radical medium.
By recovering the motivation of love that set aloft the freedom in Morgan to determine her artistic path—that which she voiced in terms of the pleasures of intimacy with God—we witness how amateurism operates as a critical position committed to other allegiances and defined by other competencies, even as it interacts and interweaves with the formal codes, networks, and sociocultural norms of professionalism.
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