Modernism, Precisionism and the Borders of Abstraction
By Mark Rawlinson
Charles Sheeler was the stark poet of the machine age. Photographer of the Ford Motor Company and founder of the painting movement Precisionism, he is remembered as a promoter of - and apologist for - the industrialised capitalist ethic. This major new rethink of one of the key figures of American modernism argues that Sheeler's true relationship to progress was in fact highly negative, his 'precisionism' both skewed and imprecise. Covering the entire oeuvre from photography to painting and drawing attention to the inconsistencies, curiosities and 'puzzles' embedded in Sheeler's work, Rawlinson reveals a profound critique of the processes of rationalisation and the conditions of modernity. The book argues finally for a re-evaluation of Sheeler's often dismissed late work which, it suggests, may only be understood through a radical shift in our understanding of the work of this prominent figure.
Table of Contents
1 Musing on Primitiveness
2 A Photograph, a Drawing and a Painting: Sheeler’s New York Series
3 The Disappearing Subject: Self-Portrait
4 Is it Still Life? Sheeler, Adorno and Dwelling
5 Between Commission and Autonomy: Sheeler’s River Rouge
6 Late Work/Late Style
Lecturer in Art History at the University of Nottingham
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