Scale, the second volume in the Terra Foundation Essays series, showcases the new forms of historical and theoretical awareness that a focus on proportionality can bring to the study of American art history.

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Newest Terra Foundation Essays Release Focuses on Scale in Art Historical Thinking

December 1, 2016

Chicago, IL—The Terra Foundation for American Art announced today the release of Scale, the second volume of the Terra Foundation Essays series, which explores fundamental ideas and concepts shaping American art and visual culture over the last three centuries.

“This new volume opens up a dialogue by proposing the concept of scale as an understudied category of analysis in American art history,” explained Francesca Rose, Terra Foundation Publications Program Director.  “As the second release of the new Terra Foundation Essays, Scale exemplifies the open-ended approach of the series by emphasizing fresh terms and multiple perspectives in the study of American visual imagery.”

Undermined by the proliferation of photographic and digital reproduction and the unbridled expansions and contractions these technologies enable, the concept of scale has become largely invisible in art-historical thinking in the past half century. Scale, edited by Jennifer L. Roberts, Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, aims to showcase new forms of historical and theoretical awareness which can be elicited by a focus on proportionality.

With texts addressing subjects as varied as the viewer’s physical relationship to Barnett Newman’s abstract canvases, the arduous cross-disciplinary engineering behind the sculpting of Mount Rushmore, and the charged significance of liberty poles in the landscape of eighteenth-century New York, Scale argues for a reconsideration of the specificity of scalar relationships in American art and visual culture and the material and political insights such readings reveal.

Upcoming volumes of the Terra Foundation Essays series, distributed by the University of Chicago Press, include examinations of circulation—to be published in spring 2017—experience, and intermedia. Scale, Picturing (the first volume of the series), and all subsequent volumes will also be available in e-book and iBook formats.

Terra Foundation for American Art

Established in 1978, the Terra Foundation for American Art is dedicated to fostering the exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States. With financial resources of more than $350 million, an exceptional collection of American art from the colonial era to 1945, and an expansive grant program, it is one of the leading foundations focused on American art, supporting exhibitions, academic programs, publications, and research worldwide.