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American Expressions of Liberty: Art of the People, by the People, for the People - Hardcover

 
9780810963382: American Expressions of Liberty: Art of the People, by the People, for the People
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104 color photographs by Lynton Gardiner except as noted. Selected bibliography. Commentaries by Gerard C. Wertkin, Director of Museum of American Folk Art and Jack Lenor Larsen, President Emeritus, American Craft Council. Design and foreword by Martha Longenecker,

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Review:
Showcasing high-quality examples of folk art through contemporary craft, this picture-heavy volume illustrates the rich and varied heritage of American artisans. Items range from the elegantly practical (a walnut-and-hickory rocker) to the whimsical (a shell-encrusted sailor's valentine) to the extraordinary (a working violin whose body is constructed entirely of matchsticks, the only material available to its creator, a prison inmate). From the 19th century's colorful primitive paintings, inventive weather vanes, eye-catching trade signs, intricate coverlets, and unique patriotic items of Americana, to the striking furniture, vessels, and sculpture by modern practitioners, American Expressions of Liberty reminds us that "Freedom of expression is a hallmark of American folk art," and that "hand arts enrich our life experience, awaken senses and sensibilities, and reinforce our appreciation of the human urge to create." The text is unfortunately limited to a foreword and two brief commentaries; it would have been nice to read more about individual items than the simple identifying captions. Still, the clarity and variety of the reproductions make this quite worthwhile. --Amy Handy
From the Author:
Gerard C. Wertkin, Director
Museum of American Folk Art, New York

At first glance, the great figure of "Uncle Sam Riding a Bicycle" that adorns the cover of this catalogue appears to be fanciful, a product of its maker's whimsy and playfulness. There is an exuberant, celebratory spirit about this Uncle Sam on wheels that, if anything, is enhanced when the articulated figure is in motion. A second look, however, suggests the presence of something more: an engaging earnestness, a certainty of direction, even a seriousness of purpose, as America (joined, perhaps, by its northern neighbor, for the flag of Canada flies here too) pedals resolutely and without self-doubt into its future.

The identity of the maker of "Uncle Sam Riding a Bicycle" is unknown, but he brought to this hundred-year-old work of art a sure sense of Yankee rectitude, an anything-is-possible optimism and an uncritical belief in the promise of America. It is these qualities no less than the creative gifts and technical virtuosity of the artist that render "Uncle Sam Riding a Bicycle" such an apt symbol for an exhibition that celebrates the American spirit.

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  • PublisherHarry N Abrams Inc
  • Publication date1997
  • ISBN 10 0810963388
  • ISBN 13 9780810963382
  • BindingHardcover
  • Number of pages168

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9780614158434: American Expressions of Liberty: Art of the People, by the People, for the People

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ISBN 10:  0614158435 ISBN 13:  9780614158434
Publisher: Mingei Intl Museum, 1996
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