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New edition of AU art collection book

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  • Amos J Wright
    Fyi.. ajwright@uab.edu ART IN THE SERVICE OF POLITICS AT THE DAWN OF THE COLD WAR New Edition of Book Tells Story of Art Bargain of the Century TUSCALOOSA,
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2005
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      Fyi.. ajwright@...


      ART IN THE SERVICE OF POLITICS AT THE DAWN OF THE COLD WAR
      New Edition of Book Tells Story of "Art Bargain of the Century"

      TUSCALOOSA, AL-Nearly sixty years ago the State Department came
      up with the idea of sending an exhibit of American art around the world.
      This exhibit, titled "Advancing American Art," was supposed to send a
      group of paintings, purchased at taxpayer expense, on a goodwill tour of
      Europe and Latin America.

      In 1946 the government spent almost fifty thousand dollars to
      purchase a number of modernist paintings by American artists. Almost
      immediately, critics began ridiculing the abstract paintings, and
      attacking the exhibit as "un-American" and "subversive." Conservative
      groups questioned the use of public money, and even President Truman
      bluntly offered his (negative) opinion.

      The tour was cancelled and the more than 100 paintings were
      returned to the U.S. in 1947. The art was declared "surplus property"
      and sold by the War Assets Administration. Works by Romare Bearden,
      Arthur Dove, John Marin, Ben Shahn, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Jacob Lawrence
      were sold off, sometimes for less than $100 each. The sale netted just
      over $5,000.
      Who were the beneficiaries of this "art bargain of the century"? Most of
      the paintings were acquired by a small number of public universities.
      Thirty-six of these masterpieces-nearly a third of the original
      exhibit-were purchased by Auburn University in 1948, and they quickly
      became the core of a stunning collection.

      In 1999 The University of Alabama Press published Advancing
      American Art: Painting, Politics, and Cultural Confrontation at
      Mid-Century by Taylor Littleton and Maltby Sykes. The book functioned
      both as an introduction to the Auburn Collection and a history of the
      almost forgotten exhibit. By examining the events in the context of
      post-war years the book captured a significant transitional moment in
      U.S. cultural history as we sought to redefine ourselves in the wake of
      tremendous international upheaval.
      A second edition of the book has just been released, which the New
      Yorker describes as an "appropriately amused and acerbic account."
      Published under the Press's Fire Ant Books imprint, it includes
      thirty-six color plates (the original edition only included
      black-and-white photographs).

      These "books with bite" feature compelling stories aimed at a
      broad audience. Concentrating on southern culture and history, and
      including both original volumes and reprint editions, they represent
      some of the finest work published by university presses today.

      Advancing American Art: Painting, Politics, and Cultural Confrontation
      at Mid-Century
      by Taylor D. Littleton and Maltby Sykes
      Second Edition * Publication date: July 17, 2005
      176 pages * 9 x 6 *ISBN 0-8173-5258-9 * $19.95 paperback

      To order, contact the Chicago Distribution Center * 773-702-7000 *
      fax: 773-702-7212

      For additional information, contact: Dennis Lloyd *
      dlloyd@... * direct line: 205-348-9534
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