This panel explores the sense of place as part of the indigenous language of American artistic production of Modernism in the context of the European avant-garde. Though U.S. poets and artists were influenced by the formal techniques of Cubism, Futurism, Expressionism, Dadaism and Surrealism, they were also determined to search for the essence of an expressive language that defined its authenticity as opposed to European foreignness. One of their avenues of research was the exploration of the distinctive features of the American soil as a means of contributing novel aspects to modern aesthetics. The genuine character of the environment is closely linked to the strong attachment to rural or urban spaces and the value they acquire for the observer. In this regard, the American Modernists engaged in the project of unearthing the specificity of their native land as a means of defining their national identity. This is noticeable in the group of the Precisionists led by Charles Demuth and Charles Sheeler, who helped poets to see the sense of place and transcribe it in their own words. For instance, William Carlos Williams and Hart Crane took the cityscape painting of Charles Sheeler and Joseph Stella to record urban architecture as part of U.S. culture. In this same vein, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens and Robert Frost promoted natural spaces in their poetry, just as Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley and Georgia O’Keeffe gave visibility to regional settings in their artistic production. Abstracts for papers that examine the sense of place underlying the American poetic and visual art are welcome to participate in this session. Topics might include, but are not limited to the following:
—The impact of European experimental language on the rise of an American artistic expression rooted in the autochthonous soil of the U.S.
—The role of twentieth-century print culture and the press to promote the “Americanness” of Modernism.
—The creation of coteries and galleries that raised awareness of the necessity of developing a consciousness for the native land.
—Representations of the natural and technical sublime in the U.S.
—Ethnicity and the sense of place in the Harlem Renaissance.
—The regional poetry of Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost and Wallace Stevens.
—Sherwood Anderson’s poetry and the place of an American Indian past.
—Urban architecture and industrial landscapes in Precisionist art and the poetry of Williams Carlos Williams.
—The local painting of Arthur Dove and Marsden Hartley.
—The import of women poets and artists such as Marianne Moore and Georgia O’Keeffe in marketing the American soil.
By May 1st, 2017, please submit a 300-word abstract along with a short biography to Leticia Pérez Alonso, Jackson State University, at email@example.com.
Leticia Perez Alonso