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For the first time together, the multiple faces of American sculpture, assembled and presented by an expert team. Norman Feder remarks on the ""general decline in aboriginal sculptural production"" with the influx of Europeans except for some of the Pueblo tribes and, notably, the Indians of the Pacific Northwest, whose art bloomed. (""The introduction of metal knives for carving certainly helped, but the major impetus came from the increased opportunity to acquire wealth."") Wayne Craven, discoursing on ""Images of a Nation in Wood, Marble and Bronze,"" invests the public statuary of 1776-1900--much of it ghastly--with a host of curious and interesting implications. Tom Armstrong argues the case for folk sculpture (need he argue--now?) and, to press its claims vis-à-vis ""fine art,"" juxtaposes examples of the two. The transition from ""Statues to Sculpture""--from identification with American ideals to autonomous expression--is traced by Daniel Robbins, who concludes that the sculptor's freedom, as of 1900-1930, was won ""at the cost of confinement to private collections and museums."" Rosalind Krauss takes up the three great interpreters of the Unconscious, David Smith, Alexander Calder, and Joseph Cornell, while the sculpture of the last two decades--the work of Oldenburg, Andre et al. that finally broke free--is treated in contrasting essays by Barbara Haskell and Marcia Tucker. Biographies of the 140 sculptors follow, with portraits and bibliographies. Integral with the text are over 450 black and white illustrations and 64 color plates. The astute selection of materials and the meticulous Godine design and production--added to the interpretive essays--make the book a more rewarding experience than the Bicentennial exhibition on which it is based.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1976
Publisher: David R. Godine