Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Make It New: The Rise of Modernism
Forms and Technologies

Certainly the creation of new material technologies (such as steel-framed buildings, the typewriter, motion pictures, the airplane) affected the kinds of artistic representation that were possible. Artists were not content to do what had always been done in the past.

One way of breaking away was to deface, derange or disfigure. Words were set free of syntax, grammar, and meter. Notes were set free of octaves and traditional harmonies. Color and line were set free of perspective and realistic representation. Dramatic works became musical. Music became visual. Writings became sculptural. Gertrude Stein tried to "paint" Picasso and Matisse using words as the artist used line and color.

There was an enormous influx and absorption of energy between the arts. The most hybrid art of them all, jazz, gave its name to the central decades of the modern period, the "jazz age." Many artists worked in multiple media. In becoming modern, technology and technique, material innovation and artistic form, had become inextricably wedded. It was a culture of media transgressions.

Section 2 features objects pertaining to:

Gertrude Stein
Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot
D. H. Lawrence, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway
William Faulkner



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