New Monumentality, Integration of the Arts, and the Shaping of Modern Life
Bassi Cendra, Giovanna María
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The American art history canon poses modern art as an individualistic and detached enterprise. However, an examination of the New Monumentality discourse reveals that modern art was as socially and politically engaged as the Federal Art Project murals. Inspired by the success of the Spanish Pavilion at the 1937 Paris World’s Fair, this discourse linked the concept of modern monumentality to the integration of the arts. The New Monumentality had a great impact on the development of modern art because it assigned visual artists a vital role in the construction of monuments. Several avant-garde artists, among them Alexander Calder and Isamu Noguchi, seized the opportunity that the new approach to monumentality afforded them and created art specifically for civic spaces. The New Monumentality enabled them to fight the chronic isolation of their work from society and to fulfill their desire to reach the masses and help shape human life.