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Cold War ModernistsArt, Literature, and American Cultural Diplomacy$
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Greg Barnhisel

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231162302

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231162302.001.0001

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Perspectives USA and the Economics of Cold War Modernism

Perspectives USA and the Economics of Cold War Modernism

(p.179) 5 Perspectives USA and the Economics of Cold War Modernism
Cold War Modernists

Greg Barnhisel

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on Perspectives USA, a magazine published from 1952 to 1956 by the Ford Foundation-funded nonprofit organization Intercultural Publications and edited by James Laughlin (founder of New Directions Books and the most important publisher of modernist literature in America). The magazine sought to present the spectrum of American modernism across the genres, from literature to painting to architecture to product design, through original features and reprinted pieces. Laughlin showcased the great achievements in American art of the previous decades to persuade skeptical European audiences that the United States indeed had an advanced artistic scene worthy of respect. Even more than Encounter, Perspectives formalized modernism, voiding it of content and presenting it as a style common to experimental poetry and kitchenware design, abstract expressionist painting, and residential architecture.

Keywords:   American modernism, magazines, Perspectives USA, James Laughlin, American art

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