Modernizing a "Grey Race": American Art during the Era of Exclusion (1882-1943)


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


History, Theory & Criticism of Art & Architecture


The immigrant critics, artists, and curators at the core of this study, Sadakichi Hartmann, Marius De Zayas, and Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, were powerfully influential on emerging theories of modern art in the US during the early twentieth century. Through a frame uniting aesthetics and immigration, we can see a new periodization for art that forms a parallel to what historians call the Era of Exclusion (1882-1943). Focusing particularly on the artistically and politically pivotal period from 1900 through the 1920s, the study suggests that this is also a distinct period within American art, during which mass cultural media such as photography, caricature, and film contributed to modern art practice. Further, this dissertation analyzes the discourses through which US avant-gardes assimilated new immigrants and new media.