By George Van Cleve Speer
Within the Thirties, the crises led to by means of the melancholy, climatic devastation, and the rearmament of Europe led american citizens from all walks of existence to think that capitalism and expertise had synthesized right into a great strength that threatened the human race. And but, this chaotic decade additionally witnessed an extraordinary point of aid, either rhetorical and institutional, for the significance of paintings within the lives of daily american citizens. This publication investigates that paradox, asking why, whilst basic survival offered its personal hindrances, our traditionally pragmatic tradition started to outline artwork as a need instead of a luxurious. to respond to this query, the publication lines the symbolism of the embattled and recuperative physique throughout a wide spectrum of yankee tradition within the computing device Age. The booklet situates this symbolism in the statement of artists, novelists, critics, and educators who depended on within the strength of inventive expression and the event of paintings to revive the overall healthiness of the physique politic.
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Additional resources for Things of the Spirit: Art and Healing in the American Body Politic, 1929-1941
Such meanings were unstable, constructed and received as they were by individuals and institutions operating across a wide spectrum of experience. An analysis of images and texts from this period reveals profound fissures in the programmatic optimism of America’s business and ! We Have Good News and Bad News ! 21 governing elites, particularly when such texts are situated in broader circumstances and commentary. In the Machine Age, slogans invoking the efficiency and organization of industry defined the United States as an enormous mechanism of production and consumption.
The gigantic creature dwarfed the darkened skyline towards which it strode, humming with radio waves and crackling static—communicating, perhaps, with others of its kind. Fortune’s artist, John Cook, modeled his monster on a state–of–the–art Zeiss projector installed at the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan and publicized in its sister publication, Life Magazine, shortly thereafter. Although it took its form from a new and dazzling engineering marvel, the repellent figure incarnated the menace of fascist armies, of barbarians at the gates threatening a democratic America.
Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Idea in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964). 4 ! My discussion of Coxe, Carey and the Lowell workers comes from Kasson, Civilizing the Machine, 9–97. 5 ! s 6 ! David McCullough, The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001), 67, 60, 54. 7 ! Cecilia Tichi, preface to Shifting Gears: Technology, Literature, Culture in Modernist America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987), xii.