Master of the Two Left Feet

Morris Hirshfield Rediscovered

Master of the Two Left Feet
Richard Meyer
RRP:
NZ$ 140.00
Our Price:
NZ$ 112.00
Hardback
h292 x 216mm - 292pg
23 Aug 2022 US
International import eta 7-19 days
9780262047289
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An account of the life and work of a once-famous self-taught American artist of the 1940s, and a study of how artists go missing from public memory. A garment worker and slipper manufacturer with no training in art, Morris Hirshfield was never expected to make history. Against all odds, his wildly stylized paintings became internationally known in the 1940s. Admired by Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, and the French surrealists, his peak moment of visibility occurred in 1943, when the Museum of Modern Art mounted a one-man show of his work. The exhibition was widely reviewed-though mostly reviled-by the press, who jeeringly crowned Hirshfield "Master of the Two Left Feet" for his tendency to display the female body in that unorthodox fashion. After the artist' s death in 1946, his work was largely forgotten. In Master of the Two Left Feet, Richard Meyer rediscovers Hirshfield for twenty-first-century viewers, offering full-color reproductions that capture the eye-popping palette, vibrant patterns, and sheer visual pleasure of Hirshfield' s paintings, and a catalog of works compiled by curator Susan Davidson which provides the most comprehensive documentation of the artist' s paintings ever assembled. Ten years in the making, the book presents Hirshfield' s unlikely career as a painter not only as a missing episode in the history of twentieth-century art but also as a case study of the ways in which artists go missing from historical knowledge and public memory. By looking at the ways in which Hirshfield mattered in the 1940s, Meyer demonstrates how much we have yet to learn, and to see, of the visual past. Exhibition American Folk Art Museum September 22, 2022-January 27, 2023
Richard Meyer is Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor in Art History at Stanford University. He is author of Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art and What Was Contemporary Art? (MIT Press) as well as coeditor, with Catherine Lord, of Art and Queer Culture, and coauthor, with Peggy Phelan, of Contact Warhol: Photography without End.

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