Moving Modernism: The Urge to Abstraction in Painting, Dance, Cinema

ISBN : 9780190057282

Nell Andrew
264 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
May 2020
Send mail

The emergence of modern dance and the early history of cinema ran concurrent with the European avant-garde's development of pictorial abstraction in the first decades of the 20th century. However, many assume that modernist abstraction resulted from a century of natural, autonomous evolution to painting styles and tastes. In Moving Modernism, author Nell Andrew challenges this assumption. By examining dance and film created during this period, she argues that performative modes of art created the link between bodily movement and movement depicted in modernist paintings. In a seeming paradox, dance and film - durational arts, involving real bodies in space-participated in the development of abstract art.

With archival material collected in North America and Europe, Moving Modernism resurfaces lost performances, identifies working methods, and establishes the circles of aesthetic influence and reception for avant-garde dance pioneers and experimental film makers from the turn of the century to the interwar period. Reexamining the motivation that fueled the emergence of abstraction, Andrew claims that painters sought meaning not only in the material and formal picture but also in temporal and sensorial experience. Andrew looks at major figures and intellectual movements including Loie Fuller and Symbolism; Valentine de Saint-Point and the Cubo-Futurist and neo-Symbolist movements; and early cinematic abstraction from Edison and the Lumieres to Hans Richter and Marcel Duchamp. Close examinations of each figure show that theatrical display, embodied self-projection, and kinesthetic desire are not necessarily in opposition to pictorial abstraction; in fact, they expand our understanding of the urges that created modern art.


Introduction: The Medium is a Muscle
Chapter one: The Idea in Motion: Loie Fuller at the Banquet
Chapter two: Futurist Moment/um: Valentine de Saint-Point's Metachorie
Chapter three: Dada Dance: Sophie Taeuber's Visceral Abstraction
Chapter four: Living Art: Akarova's Music-Architecture
Chapter five: The Dance of Abstract Cinema
List of Illustrations
Selected Bibliography

About the author: 

Nell Andrew is Associate Professor of Art History and Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Modernisms Workshop at the University of Georgia, Athens. She teaches and researches in the fields of modern art and the historical avant-garde, dance history, and early film.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.