- Release: 2015-12-11
- Publisher: Oxford University Press
- Price: FREE
- File: PDF, 448 page
- ISBN: 9780190218478
In 1952, John Cage shocked audiences with 4'33," his composition showcasing the power of silence. From Cage's minimalism to Chris Burden's radical performance art two decades later, the post-war avant-garde sought to liberate the art world by shattering the divide between high and low art. Feast of Excess presents an engaging and accessible portrait of the cultural extremism that emerged in the United States after World War II. This "New Sensibility," as termed by Susan Sontag, was predicated upon excess, pushing and often crossing boundaries whether in the direction of minimalism ormaximalism. Through brief vignette profiles of prominent figures in literature, music, visual art, poetry, theater and journalism, George Cotkin leads readers on a focused journey through the interconnected stories of prominent figures such as Andy Warhol, Anne Sexton, John Cage, John Coltrane, BobDylan, Erica Jong, and Chris Burden, among many others, who broke barriers between artist and audience with their bold, shocking, and headline-grabbing performances. This inventive narrative captures the sentiment of liberation from high and low culture in artistic endeavors spanning from the 1950s to the 1970s and reveals the establishment of excess in American culture as the norm. A detailed emersion in the history of cultural extremism, Feast of Excess leavesreaders to consider the provocative revelation that the essence of excess remains in our culture today, for good and ill.