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The Freak-garde – Extraordinary Bodies and Revolutionary Art in America - Minnesota Scholarship Online
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The Freak-garde: Extraordinary Bodies and Revolutionary Art in America

Robin Blyn


Since the 1890s, American artists have employed the arts of the freak show to envision radically different ways of being. The result is a rich avant-garde tradition that critiques and challenges capitalism from within. This book traces the arts of the freak show from P. T. Barnum to Matthew Barney and demonstrates how a form of mass culture entertainment became the basis for a distinctly American avant-garde tradition. Exploring a wide range of writers, filmmakers, photographers, and artists who have appropriated the arts of the freak show, the text exposes the disturbing power of human curios ... More

Keywords: American artists, freak show, avant-garde, P. T. Barnum, Matthew Barney, mass culture, capitalism, liberal capitalism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780816678167
Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015 DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816678167.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Robin Blyn, author
Associate Professor, University of West Florida