After the Machine: Visual Arts and the Erasing of Cultural by Miles Orvell

By Miles Orvell

Booklet by way of Orvell, Miles

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Page 21 pragmatist, a type that was first importantly celebrated by Thorstein Veblen years before Ford was a household name: "those gifted, trained, and experienced technicians who now are in possession of the requisite technological information and experience are the first and instantly indispensable factor in the everyday work of carrying on the country's productive industry" ("Technicians" 440). Veblen was looking at technology as an essentially progressive force, abolishing custom and habit, indeed a democratizing force, knowing "neither manners nor breeding" (''Discipline" 338).

Thus, one year after Brooks's essay, the young John Dos Passos, taking stock of the future of American literature (and his own future), affirmed that the only usable model was Whitman, who might inspire an art worthy of a country that otherwise produced "nothing from amid our jumble of races but steel and oil and grain" ("Against American Literature" 38). Lithograph. Philadelphia Museum of Art:Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection. Page 9 continued, "there has been amongst us no native-born artist equal to this photographer" (Rosenfeld 214-215).

These works were first visible in the United States at Alfred Stieglitz's 291 gallery in the few years before the Armory Show (1913), but the major event was the Armory Show itself, which signalled a momentous cultural shift in perception, from the canons of realism dominating nineteenth century art to the canons of cubism that would dominate the first decades of twentieth century art (Homer 62; 170). The European artists at first were generally content to formulate the new cubist vision in terms of the traditional subject matter of still lifefruit, flowers, table-top arrangements.

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