Image Nation: The Art of Jess, 1951-1991


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


History of Art


This dissertation examines the work of the San Francisco-based artist Jess (1923-2004). Though Jess is a figure located on the margins of art history, his multimedia, collaborative, and cross-disciplinary practice opens fresh lines of inquiry into the postwar moment and offers alternative interpretive paradigms for understanding modernism. This study of Jess’s life and work addresses the household as a site of artistic production and sociability, the appropriative nature of collage as a model of self-generated myth and history, and the process and ethos of salvage as a complex form of resistance to the moment of total reconfiguration ushered in by the atomic age.