Faces in the Crowd: The Modern Figure and Avant-Garde Realism

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Michele Abate, Melissa Larner
Rizzoli, 2004 - Art - 384 pages
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“The apparition of these faces in the crowd; petals on a wet, black bough.” ― Ezra Pound
Pound’s celebrated haiku powerfully evokes the situation of the individual in the metropolis: personalities suspended in a moment within the life of the city. The Whitechapel Gallery, London and Castello di Rivoli in Turin, Italy organized Faces in the Crowd as an exploration of this condition of modernity seen in realist art, especially art of the human face and form. The exhibition and its catalog trace a history of avant-garde figuration from a new perspective.
Taking Manet’s The Masked Ball at the Opera as its starting point, the book focuses on his contemporaries such as Degas and then moves through the twentieth century to artists of today. Some artworks represent a dramatic rupture with the past proposing radical and innovative modern forms and structures. Others picture modern life or its impact on our inner selves. Others consider art as an agent for further social change. All the works include critical and bibliographical entries, plus a selection of extracts from historical documents and artists writings from the 19th-century to today. Taken together this art fully illuminates its theme in which representations of the human figure are seen as expressions of modernity.
Exhibition schedule:

The Whitechapel Art Gallery, London
December 3, 2004 — February 28, 2005
Castello di Rivoli, Turin
April 4, 2005 — July 10, 2005

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About the author (2004)

Iwona Blazwick is director of the Whitechapel Gallery. Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev is chief curator at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Turin.

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