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Revising the Visual Mythology of the United States

Author(s): Filip Lipiński
Subject(s): Fine Arts / Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Film / Cinema / Cinematography
Published by: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Adama Mickiewicza
Keywords: America; the United States; visual mythology; art; art history; visual culture; critical mythology
Summary/Abstract: The book Ameryka. Rewizje wizualnej mitologii Stanów Zjednoczonych [America. Revisions of the Visual Mythology of the United States] is a critical analysis of the formation and the subsequent revisions of what the author describes as American visual myths. These myths are embedded in the vast field of visuality, models of vision, images, art and other objects of visual culture, such as film. Ameryka was written, first of all, from the perspective of an art historian, but also an Americanist, hence it offers an interdisciplinary scholarly proposition combining reflections in the fields of art history, visual culture studies and American studies. Following an extensive theoretical introduction, all the chapters are separate but correlated with the book as a whole: there are case studies of the creation of myth-images, particularly in the 19th century, in their diverse forms and media and, more importantly, of how they were revised in art and visual culture in the 20th and 21st centuries. Throughout the book, the author draws an important distinction between the United States and America, which is understood as a symbolic-imaginary field or screen within which American mythology is formed, primarily to neutralize difference and unify the heterogenous American nation. The extensive analyses of artworks, popular images and films demonstrate the way American mythology was gradually deconstructed, especially from the mid-20th century, as a result of the awakening of political consciousness of the marginalized groups, the surge of civil rights struggle and changes within the broader social-cultural landscape of the United States. At the same time, despite these internal interventions and the subsiding economic and cultural hegemony of the USA on the global scene during recent decades, by referring to specific cases and issues of American visuality, the author claims that the basic coordinates of the myth continue to serve as a lasting frame of reference.

  • E-ISBN-13: 978-83-232-3981-9
  • Print-ISBN-13: 978-83-232-3980-2
  • Page Count: 624
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Language: Polish