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The Cultural Politics of the Brushstroke

Martin Powers of the University of Michigan presents a talk on the shifting cultural politics of the brushstroke over four centuries.

February 20, 2009 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Martin Powers, Sally Michelson Davidson Professor of Chinese Arts and Cultures at the University of Michigan

Date:                 Friday, February 20, 2009
Time:                4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Place:               IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor

In both modern and premodern critical writing, both “East and West,” the brushstroke has been extolled as a vehicle of personal expression in defiance of the stifling rules of naturalistic representation. By the mid-twentieth century the brushstroke had become such an icon in American art that Roy Lichtenstein was able to lampoon the notion in both painting and sculpture. But it doesn’t follow that the seductive rhetoric of the brushstroke has been thus deconstructed, or understood. This paper is an attempt to survey the shifting cultural politics of the brushstroke in transcultural terms, in debates between and among European and Chinese intellectuals, over a period of four centuries.