Cover image for Beyond the mainstream : essays on modern and contemporary art
Beyond the mainstream : essays on modern and contemporary art
Selz, Peter, 1919-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, [Eng.] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Physical Description:
x, 334 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6494.M64 S43 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This selection of essays by a prominent art historian, critic and curator of modern art examines the art and artists of the twentieth century who have operated outside the established art world. In a lucid and accessible style, Peter Selz explores modern art as it is reflected, and has had an impact on, the tremendous transformations of politics and culture, both in the United States and in Europe. An authoritative overview of a neglected phenomenon, his essays explore the complex relationship between art at the periphery and art at the putative center, and how marginal art has affected that of the mainstream.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This collection of essays by Selz aims to broaden our understanding of the sources and varieties of modern art whenever it becomes too narrowly assimilated to "significant form," the School of Paris, or the New York art world. Symbolism and German Expressionism dominate part 1, "Europe," which includes commentaries on Hodler, Max Beckmann's self-portraits, German Realism of the '20s, and the reconstruction of the Nazi "Degenerate Art" Exhibition of 1937. In part 2, "Atlantic Crossings," expatriate American artists are surveyed, the introduction of European modernism to California is described, and the historical development of the Chicago Institute of Design, Moholy-Nagy's New Bauhaus, is documented. Curator of exhibitions at MOMA in the late '50s and early '60s, Selz sees himself as "the outsider on the inside." He attributes the controversy that his "New Images of Man" of 1959 aroused to the xenophobia of the New York art establishment. Although his insights into art world events and personalities have documentary value, Selz's biographical orientation enables him to sidestep larger issues. Part 3, "The United States," has more on Max Beckmann and Sam Francis, his unenthusiastic reception of pop and his new interests in California Funk, as well as notes on younger artists showing in the '80s and '90s. General readers; undergraduates through professionals. W. B. Holmes; University of Rhode Island

Table of Contents

Part I Europe
1 Ferdinand Hodler (1972)
2 Art in a turbulent era: German and Austrian Expressionism (1978)
3 Emergence of the Avant-Garde: first German autumn Salon of 1913 (1991)
4 Schoenberg and the visual arts (1974)
5 The persistence of Expressionism: the second generation (1989)
6 German realism of the twenties: the artist as social critic (1980)
7 Max Beckmann: the self-portraits (1992)
8 Degenerate Art reconstructed (1991)
9 Revival and survival of Expressionist trends in the art of the GDR (1989)
10 Eduardo Chillida: art in the public domain (1986, 1988)
Part II Atlantic Crossing
11 Americans abroad (1993)
12 The impact from abroad: foreign guests and visitors in California (1996)
13 Modernism comes to Chicago: the Institute of Design (1996)
14 New images of man (1959)
15 Directions in Kinetic sculpture (1966)
Part III United States
16 Max Beckmann in America (1984)
17 Sam Francis: Blue Balls (1991)
18 Agnes Denes: the artist as universalist (1992)
19 The flaccid art (1963)
20 Notes on Funk (1967)
21 Llyn Foulkes' work of the 1960s: images of disruption and illusion (1987)
22 Harold Persico Paris (1992)
23 Rupert Garcia: the artist as advocate (1991)
24 Oh Say Can You See? Flags: Johns to Burkhardt (1992)
25 Bedri Baykam: American xenophobia and Expressionist dreams (1986).