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Becoming American? The Art and Identity Crisis of Yasuo Kuniyoshi$
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ShiPu Wang

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834180

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834180.001.0001

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Wearing the Masks

Wearing the Masks

Chapter:
(p.117) Chapter Five Wearing the Masks
Source:
Becoming American? The Art and Identity Crisis of Yasuo Kuniyoshi
Author(s):

ShiPu Wang

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824834180.003.0005

This chapter focuses on Kuniyoshi's postwar work, which reflected overwhelming depression and pessimism that undercut and contradicted the critical success he enjoyed. Kuniyoshi's disillusionment was most underscored by the controversies he was unwittingly embroiled in that surrounded the State Department's Advancing American Art. The exhibition ignited one of the major partisan battles over what constituted American art and, more importantly, “Americanness” at the beginning of a decades-long Cold War. The fierce political battles that arose with the exhibition and the series of attacks targeting Kuniyoshi and his progressive compatriots created yet another identity crisis that challenged Kuniyoshi' definition and ideals of “Americanness” in the postwar years.

Keywords:   Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Americanness, identity crisis, Cold War, American art

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