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Making it Modern

Essays on the Art of the Now

Linda Nochlin, Aruna D'Souza


A selection of key essays by one of the most influential voices in art history, including seven previously unpublished pieces

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This illustrated, edited collection of essays brings together for the first time some of the pioneering art historian Linda Nochlin’s most important writings on modernism and modernity from across her six-decade career. Before the publication of her seminal tract on feminism in art, ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’, Nochlin had already firmly established herself as a major practitioner of a politically sophisticated and class-conscious social art history, with her writings on modernism being transformative to the discipline.

Nochlin embraced Charles Baudelaire’s conviction that modernity meant to be of one’s time - and that the role of an art historian was to understand the art of the past not only in its own historical context, but according to the urgencies of the contemporary world. From academic debates about the nude in the 18th century to the work of Robert Gober in the 21st, whatever she turned her analytic eye to was very much conceived as the art of the now - the art we need to look at to navigate the complexities and contradictions of the present.

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'An essential collection in the toolkit of all revolutionary thinkers'
The Art Newspaper

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 23.5 x 17.0 cm

Extent: 448 pp

Illustrations: 126

Publication date: 3 March 2022

ISBN: 9780500293706

Contents List

How Linda Nochlin Made it Modern by Aruna D’Souza

Revolutions in Art/History
1848: The Revolution in Art History
Meyer Schapiro’s Modernism
Courbet, David, and the Imaginative Afterlife of the French Revolution

Bodies of Modernity
Pissarro, Cézanne, and the Eternal Feminine
Renoir’s Men: Constructing the Myth of the Natural
Body Politics: Seurat’s Poseuses
Camille Corot: The Nude without Qualities

Abstracting the Body
Bonnard’s Bathers
The World According to Gober
“Sex is so Abstract”: The Nudes of Andy Warhol

Othering Art History
Sex and the “Sepoy Mutiny”: The Intersections of Race and Gender in the Colonial Imaginary
Learning from Black Male
The Imaginary Orient

Abstraction and Realism
Kelly: Making Abstraction Anew The Realist Criminal and the Abstract Law
The New Realists
Picasso’s Color: Schemes and Gambits

Museums and Vision
Museums and Radicals: A History of Emergencies
The Museum as Bildungsroman: My Life in Art, Trash, and Fashion
Matisse and its Other
The Naked and the Dread: Reviewing the Modern Nude

Genre and Form
Impressionist Portraits and the Construction of Modern Identity
Francis Bacon and the Fear of Narrative
Academic Art and the Death of Narrative
Camille Pissarro: The Unassuming Eye
Death and Gender in Manet’s Still Lifes

Art as / and Work
The Paterson Strike Pageant of 1913
Van Gogh, Renouard, and the Weaver’s Crisis in Lyons
Seurat’s Grande Jatte: An Anti-Utopian Allegory
The Cribleuses de blé: Courbet, Millet, Breton, Kollwitz, and the Image of the Working Woman

About the Author

Linda Nochlin (1931–2017) was Lila Acheson Wallace Professor Emerita of Modern Art at New York University Institute of Fine Arts. Her numerous publications include Women, Art and Power, Representing Women and Courbet, as well as the pioneering essay from 1971: ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’. Aruna D’Souza is an editor, writer and curator. Her book Whitewalling: Art, Race, and Protest in 3 Acts was named one of the best art books of 2018 by the New York Times.