Cover image for Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art By Leo G. Mazow

Storied Strings

The Guitar in American Art

Leo G. Mazow

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$40.00 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-1-934351-22-2

264 pages
9" × 12"
273 color illustrations
2022
Distributed by Penn State University Press for Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Storied Strings

The Guitar in American Art

Leo G. Mazow

Shortlisted for the 2024 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award

Explore the guitar as visual subject, enduring symbol, and storyteller’s companion.

 

  • Description
  • Bio
  • Table of Contents
  • Subjects
Explore the guitar as visual subject, enduring symbol, and storyteller’s companion.

Strummed everywhere from parlors and front porches to protest rallies and rock arenas, the guitar also appears far and wide in American art. Its depictions enable artists and their human subjects to address topics that otherwise go untold.

Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art is the catalogue of its namesake exhibition, which launched at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in October 2022. The book explores the instrument’s symbolism in American art from the early nineteenth century to the present day. Chapters address how the guitar has been depicted in American art through the lenses of race, gender, cultural storytelling, aesthetics, politics, and cold, hard cash.

Featuring 273 full-color illustrations selected from the exhibition, Storied Strings is an absorbing history of how guitars figure prominently into the visual stories Americans tell about themselves, their identities, and their aspirations.

Dr. Leo G. Mazow is the Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. He has authored and coauthored a number of books, including Edward Hopper and the American Hotel, Thomas Hart Benson and the American Sound, and Picturing the Banjo, the last two of which are available from PSU Press.

Alex Nyerges, Director’s Foreword

Acknowledgments

Lenders to the Exhibition

Guitar parts diagram

Chapter 1: Introducing the Guitar in American Art

Chapter 2: An American Guitar Primer (Dobney)

Chapter 3: Hispanicization

Chapter 4: The Guitar in Black Art and Culture

Chapter 5: Personification

Chapter 6: Guitar-Wielding Women

Chapter 7: Aestheticizing the Motif

Chapter 8: Cold Hard Cash

Chapter 9: Political Guitars (Nichols)

Chapter 10: Wood, Strings, and Stories (Deloria)

Endnotes

Checklist of Works in the Exhibition

Selected Bibliography

Index

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