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eBook formatKindle Edition, (torrent)En
PublisherGuggenheim Museum
File size7.7 Mb
Release date 02.06.2012
Pages count46
Book rating5 (1 votes)
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Alexandra Munroe’s introduction to The Third Mind exhibition catalogue provides the groundwork for this sweeping survey of the dynamic and complex impact of Asian art, literary texts, and philosophical concepts on American artistic practices from the late nineteenth century through the present. Eschewing “orientalism” in favor of “Asia as method” and looking beyond just Asian aesthetics, Munroe emphasizes how Asian philosophy and the systems of Hindu, Taoist, Tantric Buddhist and Zen Buddhist thought that were collectively admired as the "East" were known, reconstructed, and transformed by American artists and intellectuals. This essay draws attention the more active role that Asia had in the West toward the mid-twentieth century and provides a thorough look at the legacy of Asian influence and the changes this influence underwent post- World War II, when previously isolated artists began to interact with their peers in the West. This rarely studied interaction is researched in detail and precision prevalent throughout the essay and the entire exhibition catalogue.

Standard accounts of American art typically limit the story of Asian influence to nineteenth-century japonisme, a well-documented practice of formal appropriation in painting and decorative arts inspired by the popularity of ukiyo-e woodblock prints as well as Japanese screen paintings and textiles among Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists. The Third Mind takes the story from visual forms to structural ideas, acknowledging the moment in American modernism when interest in the “exotic Orient” shifted from a fixation with flat colors, simple forms, and bold outlines associated with Japanese art to a concentrated if eclectic examination of the advanced systems of metaphysics, philosophy, and aesthetics spanning five millennia of Asian civilization. The modernist shift between the conception of art as an object of visual delight to an experiential activity that unfolds in time and space can be partly assessed through the intellectual history of Asian thought in American culture.

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