New Book by AICA-USA member Susan Platt

AICA-USA member Susan Platt's new book Breaking Ground: Art Modernisms 1920-1950 reveals exciting new perspectives on the history of modernist art criticism in the United States.

According to Platt, "The first essays examine critics who embraced formalism in the 1920s under the impact of the English theorists Roger Fry and Clive Bell. Next is the brilliant Jane Heap’s eccentric wedding of mysticism and modernism. At the same time Elizabeth McCausland articulated the principles of the widely accepted concept of socially engaged art during the Depression years. Ben and Bernarda Shahn demonstrate the flexibility of the principle of social engagement, as do the expansive perspectives of Homer Saint-Gaudens during thirty years as curator of the Carnegie International.

In these same years under the pressure of Fascism, Alfred Barr at the Museum of Modern Art stripped away this inclusive and radical vision. His invention of a myth of modern art evolving toward abstraction became the dominant critical concept in the mid twentieth century through the opportunistic rise of Clement Greenberg during World War II. Breaking Ground: Art Modernisms 1920 – 1950 overturns the long codified history of modernist criticism by demonstrating its roots, expansion and transformations as well as its final ossification.”

Pamela Allara, AICA-USA member and Associate Professor Emerita in contemporary art and visual culture at Brandeis University adds, "Breaking Ground is a fitting title for Susan Platt’s anthology of her ground-breaking scholarship on 20th century modern art and criticism. Her analysis of the intense cultural and political contexts in which artists, curators and critics created the roots of modernist art and theory in the 1920s and 1930s exposes their ongoing relevance today. In clear, incisive prose, Platt provides a vivid account of the invention of modernist myths and paradigms. This invaluable contribution provides an in depth examination of topics covered only briefly in other texts.”

AICA supports art writers around the world through public programs and membership that includes free access to museums across the globe. Since its formation in 1950, AICA has been committed to elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline, and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of works of art.
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About AICA

AICA supports arts writers around the world through public programs and membership that offers free access to museums across the globe. AICA-USA represents the largest national section of AICA International with over 450 distinguished critics, curators, scholars, and art historians working throughout the United States. As part of the international organization, we benefit from a global reach in presence. AICA-USA is intent on international communication, elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline, and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of works of art.

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Membership Benefits

AICA's membership card is recognized for entrance to museums around the world. Members are invited to attend the annual AICA International Congress, hosted each year by a different member nation, and the AICA-USA annual meeting, which is held every year in May.

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Featured Programs

Organized in collaboration with CUE Art Foundation, this program matches emerging critics with experienced AICA-USA members who guide them through the process of writing a catalogue essay.

A partnership between the Arts Writers Grant Program and AICA-USA that gives art writers the opportunity to strengthen their work through one-on-one consultations with leading art critics.

Every fall, in cooperation with the New School's Vera List Center for Art and Politics, AICA-USA presents a Distinguished Critic Lecture.

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