This book presents an audacious account of the ways in which the arts in the Americas were modernized during the first half of the 20th century. Rather than viewing modernization as a steady progression from one "ism" to another, Edward Sullivan adopts a comparative approach, drawing his examples from North America, the Caribbean, Central, and South America.
By considering the Americas in this hemispheric sense he is able to tease out many stories of art and focus on the ways in which artists from different regions not only adapted and experimented with visual expression, but also absorbed trans-national as well as international influences. He shows how this rich diversity is most evident in the various forms of abstract art that emerged throughout the Americas and which in turn had an impact on art throughout the world.
".among Sullivan's most significant achievements is his wholesale invention of new descriptive language. There is no doubt that this book will aid us all in the urgent project of dissolving the national borders-and patriotic chauvinism-that have shaped art histories. But its most enduring contribution is that it poses questions that we will be striving to answer for some time to come." -Harper Montgomery,Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas