"Gone with the Wind" an inspiration for the American avant-garde? Mickey Mouse a crucial source for the development of cutting-edge intellectual and aesthetic ideas? As Greg Taylor shows in this witty and provocative book, the idea is not so far-fetched. One of the first-ever studies of American film criticism, "Artists in the Audience" shows that film critics, beginning in the 1940s, turned to the movies as raw material to be molded into a more radical modernism than that offered by any other contemporary artists or thinkers. In doing so, they offered readers a vanguard alternative that reshaped postwar American culture: nonaesthetic mass culture reconceived and refashioned into rich, personally relevant art by the attuned, creative spectator.
"The educated public has known for years that vanguard film theory is one part self-indulgence, two parts hoodwinking. Taylor's study shows precisely how and why the interpreters lost touch within the medium."--Jacob M. Appel, Boston Book Review "Taylor constructs a detailed history of some of the most salient trends in Post-World War II American cinema and film criticism... [His] points are well-taken and his analyses convincingly argued."--Robert L. Cagle, afterimage "Lively, provocative reading... This is a gripping saga as Taylor tells it, carefully constructed and lucidly written."--David Sterritt, Cineaste "Greg Taylor's intriguing study of film critics takes both a discriminating and aesthetic approach to the subject... An illuminating book."--Filmbill