“The work of an artist is, in its largest sense, inseparable from history thought of in its largest sense.” That is how eminent British art historian Christopher Green described his methodological approach. Art, he argued, needs to be understood as happening in history, not in a vacuum.
Of Modernism presents original research by ten contemporary scholars of modern art who studied with Green and follow his historical method. The essays on European art rethink some of the crucial artworks, problems, and practitioners of European high modernism, ranging from Les Demoiselles d’Avignon to Guernica, avant-gardism to internationalism, and Joan Miró to Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe. Questions about modernism drive the ten essays, explicitly or otherwise, and they come in as many different shapes. The canon presented in Of Modernism is open, situating Picasso—a recurrent focus of the collection—alongside artists far more obscure, and in the context of a visual culture that is strikingly eclectic and often ephemeral.