Michael J. Pearce releases his new book, Kitsch, Propaganda, and the American Avant Garde. This book details the dramatic history of the weaponization of avant-garde art as propaganda, from its violent origins selling the idealistic communism of revolutionary France to its use as an American weapon wielded against the Nazi and Soviet threat as World War II began. It shows how art became ammunition in the war of ideas as the protagonists of the Second World War attempted to control the minds of their people. The text highlights how the avant-garde was the battlefield for the epic struggle between collectivism and American individualism, and will appeal to the reader with an interest in dramatic stories of art, history, and politics.
The book is available for purchase here.
About the Author
In addition to his scholarly work, Michael J. Pearce is actively involved in contemporary art as a curator and critic. He specializes in skill-based figurative paintings and sculpture, and has organized several successful exhibitions of imaginative realism that became must-sees for art lovers in California. After leading a series of important international conferences about representational art, he started contributing articles to prominent magazines, and soon gained a reputation for his insightful reviews and profiles of talented artists.
Increasingly frustrated with the trend towards abstract and conceptual art that he felt was disconnected from traditional skills such as figurative drawing, and composition, and from popular taste, Pearce championed artists who shared his passion for visionary representational art, and began writing for publications such as Mutual Art, American Art Collector, American Fine Art, and Fine Art Connoisseur. He sought out artists who were pushing the boundaries of traditional techniques while maintaining a strong focus on storytelling and beauty.
Today, Pearce's writing has helped to raise the profile of representational art in a world that often seems obsessed with shock value and novelty. He continues to promote artists who he believes are making a meaningful contribution to the art world through their dedication to skill and craftsmanship. Pearce's work challenges conventional assumptions about the role of the American avant-garde and highlights the importance of artistic individualism. His scholarship and activism have inspired a new generation of artists and thinkers to question established norms and push the boundaries of artistic experimentation.
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.
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.
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.
Every fall, in cooperation with the New School's Vera List Center for Art and Politics, AICA-USA presents a Distinguished Critic Lecture.
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 Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and AICA-USA that gives art writers the opportunity to strengthen their work through one-on-one consultations with leading art critics.