Domesticating the Invisible: Form and Environmental Anxiety in Postwar America (Hardcover)

Domesticating the Invisible: Form and Environmental Anxiety in Postwar America By Melissa S. Ragain Cover Image
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Domesticating the Invisible examines how postwar notions of form developed in response to newly perceived environmental threats, in turn inspiring artists to model plastic composition on natural systems often invisible to the human eye. Melissa S. Ragain focuses on the history of art education in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to understand how an environmental approach to form inspired new art programs at Harvard and MIT. As they embraced scientistic theories of composition, these institutions also cultivated young artists as environmental agents who could influence urban design and contribute to an ecologically sensitive public sphere. Ragain combines institutional and intellectual histories to map how the emergency of environmental crisis altered foundational modernist assumptions about form, transforming questions about aesthetic judgment into questions about an ethical relationship to the environment.

About the Author

Melissa S. Ragain is Associate Professor of Art History at Montana State University. She is the editor of Jack Burnham’s collected writings, Dissolve into Comprehension: Writing and Interviews 1964–2004, and has written for journals including X-Tra, Art Journal, and American Art.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780520343825
ISBN-10: 0520343824
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: January 12th, 2021
Pages: 264
Language: English