The Art of the United States in European Writing ca. 1945-1990 aims to make key European sources on US art available in English translation.
It is concerned with the presentation of US art to European audiences through the writings of non-anglophone art historians, artists and critics in Europe between ca. 1945-1990. This time span, extending from the end of World War II to Perestroika and the fall of the Berlin Wall, opens up opportunities to re-think and explore the ideological, social, economic, aesthetic, and didactic positions on which European responses to American art were grounded.
Postwar US art triggered both positive and negative responses in Europe. There was no single European discourse as responses to US art were politically and socially mediated in the various national and cultural contexts. Most importantly, US art meant something different in the European contexts than it did at home in the US. This project is predicated on this diversity.
Geographical and Linguistic Frame
To give the project a clear focus and to keep its scale and ambitions within manageable bounds, it will concentrate on European responses to US art. It will go beyond the well-known sites of reception of American art, such as Germany, France, and Italy, and consider less familiar histories of the reception of US-art, for example in Spain, the Soviet Union, the Netherlands, Central and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Baltic States, former Yugoslavia etc.
The final outcome of this project will be a major illustrated anthology of texts, translated from 19 European languages into English and augmented by research essays. It will be an indispensable resource for scholars and students concerned with understanding the historiography of the art of the United States and broader questions of identity and representation of American culture outside the US.
2015-2016: Phase I of the project consisted in researching, sourcing and selecting significant non English language texts on US visual art that deserve to be made known to a wider English-reading audience. The research and selection of texts has been a collaborative process involving an extensive network of researchers, which will include the board and advisory committee of Art in Translation, research institutes affiliated to RIHA (the International Association of Research Institutions in the History of Art), and an advisory panel composed of leading scholars in the field.
2017-2018: Phase II focuses on the selection and translation of texts
2019: Publication – The Routledge Anthology of European Writing on US Art 1945-1990