Front cover image for Norman Rockwell : the underside of innocence

Norman Rockwell : the underside of innocence

"Norman Rockwell's scenes of everyday small-town life are still among the most indelible images in all of twentieth-century art. While opinions of Rockwell vary from uncritical admiration to sneering contempt, those who love him and those who dismiss him do agree on one thing: his art embodies a distinctively American style of innocence." "In this book, Richard Halpern argues that this sense of innocence arises from our reluctance - and also Rockwell's - to acknowledge the often disturbing dimensions of his works. Rockwell's paintings frequently teem with perverse acts of voyeurism and desire but contrive to keep these acts invisible - or rather, hidden in plain sight, available for unacknowledged pleasure but easily denied by the viewer." "Rockwell emerges in this book, then, as a deviously brilliant artist, a remorseless diagnostician of the innocence in which we bathe ourselves, and a continuing, unexpected influence on contemporary artists. Far from a banal painter of the ordinary, Halpern argues, Rockwell is someone we have not yet dared to see for the complex creature he is: a wholesome pervert, a knowing innocent, and a kitschy genius."--Jacket
Print Book, English, 2006
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2006