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American Art of the 20th-21st Centuries

Erika Doss

Publication Date - 02 February 2017

ISBN: 9780199364787

424 pages
7 x 10 inches

In Stock

A social and critical introduction to American art


American Art of the 20th-21st Centuries charts the evolution of American art from the 1890s through today. Guided by three main themes--modernism, migration, and mobility--the text highlights the production, dissemination, and consumption of modern and contemporary American art in various settings. Erika Doss explores a wide range of media within cultural, economic, political, social, and theoretical contexts and considers the varied styles, cultures, identities, and geographies that constitute American art in order to add definition to the broader concept of "America."


  • Organized chronologically while centering on the principal themes in American art
  • Explores a wide variety of media including painting, sculpture, photography, graphic arts, commercial art, performance art, installation, street art, public art, video art, digital art, new media, and social practice
  • Features an entire chapter, "Millennial Aspirations: American Art 2000-Today," dedicated to the hybrid dimensions of contemporary art including discussions on new regionalism, new media, social practice, street art, ruin porn, and memorial mania
  • Contains over 200 illustrated artworks
  • Gives special attention to issues of class, race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender

About the Author(s)

Erika Doss is Professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of numerous books including Benton, Pollock, and the Politics of Modernism: From Regionalism to Abstract Expressionism (1991); Spirit Poles and Flying Pigs: Public Art and Cultural Democracy in American Communities (1995); Elvis Culture: Fans, Faith, and Image (1999); Looking at Life Magazine (editor, 2001); and Memorial Mania: Public Feeling in America (2010).


"American Art of the 20th-21st Centuries is concise, well-illustrated, and clearly written; and it's inexpensive and easy to carry. This book is wonderful to teach with because it moves chronologically and thematically." --Kristin Schwain, University of Missouri-Columbia

"Doss' book emphasizes major historical, cultural, and political shifts and how art relates to them. The attention to issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class and power is welcome. Professor Doss covers all the major topics I teach and provides well-chosen and intelligently analyzed examples of individual art works." --Theo Caterforis, University of Kansas

"American Art of the 20th-21st Centuries is an inexpensive and accessible text that addresses the important issues of race, gender, class, and globalization. It is polemical, and offers critical and open-ended commentary on modern American art." --Melissa Dabakis, Kenyon College

"What is most compelling about this text is the interweaving of social and cultural developments with the history of art and the discussion of museum exhibitions as a significant aspect of cultural production. " --Helen Langa, American University

"This book offers a particularly concise, salient, and thoughtful synopsis of the material that provides an excellent introduction for readers and particularly students on major issues of twentieth and twenty-first-century American art." --Julia Rosenbaum, Bard College

Table of Contents

    Preface to the New Edition


    Chapter 1 Chicago's 1893 World's Fair: Rehearsing the Modern
    Chapter 2 Early American Modernism: The Art of Everyday Life
    Chapter 3 Early American Modernism: Avant-Garde Art and Experimentation
    Chapter 4 Interwar Moderns and the Quest for National Cultural Identity
    Chapter 5 A New Deal for American Art
    Chapter 6 Abstract Expressionism
    Chapter 7 Neo-Dada and Pop
    Chapter 8 Minimalism, Psychedelia, and Conceptual Art: Countercultural Currents in the 1960s and 1970s
    Chapter 9 Gender, Race, Ethnicity: American Art and Identity
    Chapter 10 Culture Wars: The 1980s
    Chapter 11 Syncretic Aesthetics: American Art in the 1990s
    Chapter 12 Millennial Aspirations: American Art 2000-Today

    Additional Readings