Inside Culture:Art and Class in the American Home

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Inside Culture:Art and Class in the American Home
David Halle's idea was simple but radical: to connect culture to everyday life by showing how people actually use the artifacts of culture - paintings, photographs, sculpture - in the most intimate of all settings: the home. In the first book of its kind, Halle gives a fascinating account of the uses and meaning of art for those who buy it and live with it. His study ranges from the affluent town houses on Manhattan's Upper East Side and row houses in blue-collar Brooklyn to middle- and upper-middle class suburbs on Long Island, resulting in an unprecedented portrait of the meanings of art for its primary audience. Are there differences in artistic preferences between social classes or races or between urban and suburban homes? Similarities? How do choices in art works - and the way we display them - speak to our dreams, desires, pleasures, and fears? And what do they say about the real cultural boundaries between elite and popular, high and low? Halle examines landscapes, both priceless heirlooms and mass-produced sunsets; abstract paintings and prints; "primitive" sculpture; and the vibrantly colored portraits of religious art. He also discusses the gatherings of family photographs that fill every home. Inside Culture also explores the architecture and design of the houses, from the eclipse of the formal dining room to the landscape of urban backyards. Refusing easy generalizations about culture and class, Halle shows that art has a different set of meanings outside the rarefied air of museums and galleries. He challenges received opinion about the role of the audience in the history and reception of twentieth-century art to show that the experience of art isn't always what artistsand critics say it is. With floor plans, drawings, and dozens of photographs, this lively book can be enjoyed on many levels. It describes for the first time the way a broad cross section of people live with art. It records for the first time the astonishing variety of artistic exp
Publication Date: 
December 19, 1996