viii, 433 pages ; 25 cm
text txt rdacontent
unmediated n rdamedia
volume nc rdacarrier
"In 1952, John Cage shocked audiences with 4'33", his compositional ode to the ironic power of silence. From Cage's minimalism to Chris Burden's radical performance art two decades later (in one piece he had himself shot), the post-war American avant-garde shattered the divide between low and high art, between artist and audience. They changed the cultural landscape. Feast of Excess is an engaging and accessible portrait of 'The New Sensibility,' as it was named by Susan Sontag in 1965. The New Sensibility sought to push culture in extreme directions: either towards stark minimalism or gaudy maximalism. Through vignette profiles of prominent figures--John Cage, Patricia Highsmith, Allen Ginsberg, Andy Warhol, Anne Sexton, John Coltrane, Bob Dylan, Erica Jong, and Thomas Pynchon, to name a few--George Cotkin presents their bold, headline-grabbing performances and places them within the historical moment. This inventive and jaunty narrative captures the excitement of liberation in American culture. The roots of this release, as Cotkin demonstrates, began in the 1950s, boomed in the 1960s, and became the cultural norm by the 1970s. More than a detailed immersion in the history of cultural extremism, Feast of Excess raises provocative questions for our present-day culture"-- Provided by publisher.
Introduction: The New Sensibility -- Prelude: A New Year : Judith Malina -- [I] Emergence, 1952-1960 -- 1952: Sounds of Silence : John Cage -- 1953: Erasure and Addition : Robert Rauschenberg -- 1954: The Wild One : Marlon Brando -- 1955: Ever Mysterious : Patricia Highsmith -- 1956: Howling in the Wilderness : Allen Ginsberg -- 1957: "Great Balls of Fire" : Jerry Lee Lewis -- 1958: To "Nullify Explanation" : Robert Frank -- 1959: Making a Connection : Judith Malina and Jack Gelber -- 1960: All About Me : Norman Mailer -- [II] Explosion, 1961-1969 -- 1961: Say What? : Lenny Bruce -- 1962: Pop Goes the Paradigm -- 1963: Picking His Nose at Tradition : Andy Warhol -- 1964: Naming the New : Susan Sontag -- 1965: "How Does It Feel?" : John Coltrane and Bob Dylan -- 1966: Living and Dying : Anne Sexton -- 1967: "Utmost Freedom of Imagination" : William Styron -- 1968: An "Extreme Gesture" : Gore Vidal -- [III] Cultural Commonplace, 1970-1974 -- 1969: "Terribleness" : Amiri Baraka -- 1970: "I Just Love Freaks" : Diane Arbus -- 1971: Vegas, Baby! : Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Hunter Thompson -- 1972: Erectile Destruction : Samuel R. Delany and Thomas Pynchon -- 1973: Zipless Abandon : Erica Jong -- 1974: Crucified and Shot : Chris Burden -- Conclusion: The Shock of the Old...and New.
Includes bibliographical references and index.