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Related: African art is popular in Paris (art nègre) - black music (jazz) is popular in Paris - Art Deco - cabarets - precursors of discotheques - flapper girl feminist movement - Louise Brooks - Lost Generation - modern - Modernism - jazz
Era: 1920s - 1930s
Avant-garde loci: Harlem Renaissance - Paris - Weimar Berlin
Paris and black music: Beginning in the 1920s African-American artists, such as Josephine Baker, enjoyed successes in France. Paris was quite welcoming to jazz music and black artists — since France, contrary to a significant part of the U.S. at the time, had no racial discrimination laws. [May 2006]
Relation to Modernism: By 1930, Modernism had entered popular culture with "The Jazz Age," and there was a public embrace of the advancements of mechanization: cars, air travel and the telephone. The assertion of Modernists was that these advances required people to change, not merely their habits, but their fundamental aesthetic sense. [May 2006]
The Jazz Age of the 1920s was the first period in which the boundaries between popular music and high culture were seriously challenged, crossing the divide between high and low. The avant-gardes of Paris and Berlin were enthusiastically consuming jazz and attempting to assimilate its aesthetic into their own practices. [May 2006]
The Great Gatsby (1925) - F. Scott Fitzgerald
DefinitionAnother nineteenth-century invention, radio, came into its own in the 1920s, after the first public radio station in the U.S. began broadcasting in Pittsburgh in 1922. Radio stations proliferated at a remarkable rate, and with them, the popularity of jazz Jazz became associated with things modern, sophisticated, and decadent. The second decade of the new century, a time of technological marvels, flappers, flashy automobiles, organized crime, bootleg whiskey, and bathtub gin, would come to be known as the Jazz Age. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz_Age [Oct 2004]
Louise Brooks [...]In her own way, the silent film star Louise Brooks was very much part of the Jazz Age. Her rise as a personality and as a film star was in keeping with the central phenomenom of the flapper era - the worship of youth. Brooks' exuberant social life echoed the flamboyant tenor of the times, while her social circle included the notable figures who helped define the era - such as the composer George Gershwin and the writers F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Benchley, H.L. Mencken and Anita Loos. Prior to her career in Hollywood, Brooks briefly appeared in such New York stage productions as the George White Scandals and Zeigfield Follies. Her tenure on stage (and later in the movies) brought her into contact with the wealthy, the artistic and the socially glamourous figures of the 1920's.--http://www.geocities.com/flapper_culture/
By 1930, modernism had entered popular culture with "The Jazz Age" and the increasing urbanization of populations, it had begun making systematic challenges to previous art and ideas, and was beginning to be looked to as the source for ideas to deal with the host of challenges faced in that particular historical moment.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernism [Jun 2004]
"The Jazz Age" — Jazz and jazz-influenced dance music widely popular --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1920s [Jul 2004]
Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris Jazz Story Between the Great Wars (2001) - William A. Shack
Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris Jazz Story Between the Great Wars (2001) - William A. Shack [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
From Library Journal
The late Shack (anthropology, Berkeley) here chose to write about a particularly fruitful time in jazz development. Between the Great Wars, a unique community of jazz musicians and fanciers arose in France, particularly in the Montmartre section of Paris. While never coming close to the vibrancy of Harlem, this community still allowed for the cross-fertilization of jazz with overt European influences. Black American musicians found the level of support inviting enough to move to Paris and often used the city as a base of operations while performing throughout Europe. Shack captures this cultural interaction in a short but powerful book that makes a valuable contribution to the publisher's "Music of the African Diaspora" series. Recommended for music and academic libraries and public libraries with strong music collections. William G. Kenz, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhead Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Paris was one of the first, and perhaps most important, foreign capitals swept by jazz in the early twentieth century. Shack, a late professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, compactly illuminates the expatriate African American community of jazz musicians that thrived in the Montmartre district of Paris in the '20s and '30s and helped turn the "city of lights" into the major jazz capital it remains today. The catalyst for this transformation was James Reese Europe, leader of the "Harlem Hellfighters" troop regiment in the American Expeditionary Force in World War I. These musicians and soldiers, despite indignities inflicted by the U.S. military, impressed Europeans with their jazz concerts, and later the Hellfighters became the most decorated military unit in the American forces. After the war, many of them stayed in France, which lacked the segregationist laws and customs that plagued them at home. Shack profiles the leading figures in this community, including Josephine Baker, Ada "Bricktop" Smith, and Sidney Bechet. A brilliant account of an unsung chapter in American history. Ted Leventhal
See also: jazz - Paris - cross-fertilization - black music - 1920s - 1930s
Making Jazz French: Music and Modern Life in Interwar Paris (2003) - Jeffrey H Jackson
Making Jazz French: Music and Modern Life in Interwar Paris (2003) - Jeffrey H Jackson [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Between the world wars, Paris welcomed not only a number of glamorous American expatriates, including Josephine Baker and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but also a dynamic musical style emerging in the United States: jazz. Roaring through cabarets, music halls, and dance clubs, the upbeat, syncopated rhythms of jazz soon added to the allure of Paris as a center of international nightlife and cutting-edge modern culture. In Making Jazz French, Jeffrey H. Jackson examines not only how and why jazz became so widely performed in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s but also why it was so controversial.
Drawing on memoirs, press accounts, and cultural criticism, Jackson uses the history of jazz in Paris to illuminate the challenges confounding French national identity during the interwar years. As he explains, many French people initially regarded jazz as alien because of its associations with America and Africa. Some reveled in its explosive energy and the exoticism of its racial connotations, while others saw it as a dangerous reversal of France’s most cherished notions of "civilization." At the same time, many French musicians, though not threatened by jazz as a musical style, feared their jobs would vanish with the arrival of American performers. By the 1930s, however, a core group of French fans, critics, and musicians had incorporated jazz into the French entertainment tradition. Today it is an integral part of Parisian musical performance. In showing how jazz became French, Jackson reveals some of the ways a musical form created in the United States became an international phenomenon and acquired new meanings unique to the places where it was heard and performed.
See also: French music - jazz - jazz age
Le Tumulte Noir: Modernist Art and Popular Entertainment in Jazz-Age Paris, 1900-1930 (2003) - Jody Blake
In search of African influences on modern art.
Le Tumulte Noir: Modernist Art and Popular Entertainment in Jazz-Age Paris, 1900-1930 (2003) - Jody Blake [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
In early twentieth-century France, the term art négre was as likely to call to mind the music and dance of black America as it was to evoke the sculpture of black Africa. Indeed, music and dance, which racial theorists and exotic novelists portrayed as the "primitive" arts par excellence, were thought to exemplify the "genius" of blacks in all creative fields. In Le Tumulte noir, Jody Blake focuses on the impacts of African sculpture and African-American music and dance on Parisian popular entertainment and modernist art, literature, and performance.
Blake discusses the reception of ragtime-era and jazz-age entertainment, as well as other African visual and performing art forms, to provide new ways of understanding the development of modernist primitivism, from Matisse and Picasso to Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, and Purism. But the influence of art négre went well beyond the avant-garde art world. Starting with the cakewalk of the 1900s and culminating with the Charleston of the 1920s, the book studies the African-American idioms that were involved in larger cultural, social, and political developments. As an illustration, Blake argues that performers such as Josephine Baker and Sidney Bechet of Revue négre fame were thought to affect the political balance between Africa and Europe during the colonial period.
Le Tumulte noir is divided into six chronological chapters, each a well-researched, well-conceived, and well-written synthesis of the histories of art, literature, music, and dance. Because of its cross-disciplinary character, this book is not reserved for specialists, but is open to a larger audience. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Jody Blake is Associate Professor of Art History, Bucknell University. She is co-author with Jeannette Lasansky of Rural Delivery: Real Photo Postcards from Central Pennsylvania, 1905-1935 (Penn State, 1996). --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
See also: African art - black music - Jazz Age - Paris - modern art - Africa
Negrophilia: Avant-Garde Paris and Black Culture in the 1920s (2000) - Petrine Archer-Straw
Negrophilia: Avant-Garde Paris and Black Culture in the 1920s (2000) - Petrine Archer-Straw [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
From Library Journal
Black culture was very much in vogue in avant-garde Paris in the 1920s as white artists celebrated it as a means of escaping bourgeois values. At the same time, an emphasis on the "primitive" often reduced blacks to racist stereotypes. In this lively, highly accessible study, Archer-Shaw utilizes her background as an art historian and curator to discuss black life and its complex, often disturbing interaction with white European society. The focus on art (including painting, photography, fashion, and sculpture) distinguishes this book from other important works such as Michel Fabre's From Harlem to Paris (LJ 11/15/91), which concentrates on the literary scene, and Tyler Stovall's more general Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light (LJ 12/96). Archer-Straw's book also differs from these works by devoting considerable attention to whites as well as blacks, including shipping heiress Nancy Cunard, art collector Paul Guillaume, and photographer Man Ray. Recommended for all collections with an interest in black culture and/or art. (Notes and bibliography not seen.)DLouis J. Parascandola, Long Island Univ., Brooklyn, NY Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
H. Scott Jolley, Travel & Leisure, March 2001
A scholarly, zesty look at the racial thrills and tensions in a trend that affected dance, theater, music, sculpture, fashion.
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