Modern Beauty?: The Aesthetics of Perceptual Simultaneity
In the 1910s, a small group of poets, artists, and architects defined modernity in terms of the simultaneous experience of sights, sounds, and narratives. They created works that were centered specifically on this perceptual simultaneity, producing densely layered pieces that heightened viewers’ receptivity by requiring them to construct meaning actively from the diverse impressions that they formed though sensory perception. Such a focus on perceptual simultaneity contributed significantly to the development of a modern sensibility, creating a jarring new beauty that fit with the violent circumstances of the early twentieth century, in particular industrialization, civil unrest, and war.
Modern Beauty? is organized by The Wolfsonian–Florida International University. We gratefully acknowledge the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its financial support of the project, and the Frost Art Museum for its generosity in making this gallery available for the exhibition. The exhibition is curated by Gray Read, Associate Professor of Architecture, and Renée Silverman, Assistant Professor of Modern Languages, in collaboration with Peter Clericuzio, Academic Programs Manager at The Wolfsonian–FIU. It is intended to complement Professors Read and Silverman’s course “Ways of Seeing: Modern Perception in Literature and Architecture,” offered at FIU in the spring of 2014.