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Cover for Slant Steps

Slant Steps

On the Art World's Semi-Periphery

Jacob Stewart-Halevy


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Slant Steps explores the vital role of the semi-periphery—artistic communities working between the provinces and the metropole. Premised on the collective fascination with the found object Slant Step, the book details a history of encounters among artists, filmmakers, critics, and others operating in and out of the Bay Area during the long 1960s. They revised the terms of the counterculture, the appeal of consumer goods, and the surfaces and materials of industrial design and contemporary sculpture. Whether extending to international exchanges or shrinking to local coteries, these circles helped develop process, funk, and conceptual art as they forged new directions for the art world and its members. Yet when these groups degraded their own works alongside those of their rivals, they made their political and aesthetic commitments difficult to decipher, reorganizing the ties between the visual arts and the New Left. Merging sociologies of art with the tradition of social art history, Jacob Stewart-Halevy uncovers the oblique perspectives and values of the semi-periphery, revealing its enduring impact upon contemporary art, above all in the field of pedagogy.

University of California Press, 9780520344068, 280pp.

Publication Date: September 15, 2020

About the Author

Jacob Stewart-Halevy is Assistant Professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Tufts University.