New Book | Transporting Visions

Posted in books by Editor on March 25, 2014

From the University of California Press:

Jennifer L. Roberts, Transporting Visions: The Movement of Images in Early America (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2014), 240 pages, ISBN: 978-0520251847, $60 / £42.

Transporting Visions follows pictures as they traveled through and over the swamps, forests, towns, oceans, and rivers of British America and the United States between 1760 and 1860. Taking seriously the complications involved in moving pictures through the physical world—the sheer bulk and weight of canvases, the delays inherent in long-distance reception, the perpetual threat to the stability and mnemonic capacity of images, the uneasy mingling of artworks with other kinds of things in transit–Jennifer L. Roberts forges a model for a material history of visual communication in early America. Focusing on paintings and prints by John Singleton Copley, John James Audubon, and Asher B. Durand—which were designed with mobility in mind—Roberts shows how an analysis of such imagery opens new perspectives on the most fundamental problems of early American commodity circulation, geographic expansion, and social cohesion.

Jennifer L. Roberts is Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. She teaches American art from the colonial period to the present, with particular focus on issues of landscape, expedition, material culture theory, and the history of science. Her book Mirror-Travels: Robert Smithson and History was published in 2004 by Yale University Press.


Introduction: Long-Distance Pictures
1. Dilemmas of Delivery in Copley’s Atlantic
2. Audubon’s Burden: Materiality and Transmission in The Birds of America
3. Gathering Moss: Asher B. Durand and the Deceleration of Landscape
Epilogue: Material Visual Culture
Selected Bibliography
List of Illustrations


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