trans-American modernism

Pablo Helguera during road trip for School of Panamerican Unrest, 2003–, Tok, Alaska, May 19, 2006.

BY NOW, WE’VE COME TO UNDERSTAND MODERNISM as a far more hybrid affair than the likes of Clement Greenberg would have it; one defined, even, by a kind of border crossing that broke down traditional categories and subsequently reinvented art’s situation. Less often told is the story of modernist exchange across actual geographic boundaries, as explored in two recent publications: Making Art Panamerican: Cultural Policy and the Cold War by Claire F. Fox, and Mexico and American Modernism by Ellen G. Landau.

Positioning art as the site and the arbiter of a complex twentieth-century narrative of international ideology, Fox explores the institutional and social forces at the core of the inter-American cultural exchanges during the Cold War. At the center of this study is the Pan American Union Building in Washington, DC, initially a trade hub between the Americas in the late nineteenth

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