By Lois Palken Rudnick
Mabel steer clear of Luhan, hostess and visionary, made Taos, New Mexico, a middle for artists and utopians while she moved there in 1917 and started inviting neighbors to go to her. Now to be had in paperback, Utopian Vistas is a chronicle of the home Luhan in-built Taos and the poets, painters, photographers, film-makers, writers, educators, and visionaries whose lives and works have been plagued by the home and its environs. Lois Rudnick weaves a posh tapestry depicting American countercultures in New Mexico from the Twenties to the 1990s.“Should be required examining for paintings historians,film historians, ex-Beats and hippies, their kids and grandchildren, and an individual drawn to the opportunity of making a less than excellent the US excellent at last.”—Karal Ann Marling
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Extra resources for Utopian Vistas: The Mabel Dodge Luhan House and the American Counterculture
D. H. Lawrence spoke of New Mexico as the possible site of his utopian colony "Rananim," where men and women would learn to live simply and in harmony with one another and with the land. 16 Page 28 Edward Curtis, Red Willow [Tony Lujan], 1905. Photo courtesy of the Gallery of the North American Indian, Santa Fe. Page 29 Disgusted by the mass culture purveyed to an increasingly consumption-oriented mainstream, artists Marsden Hartley and Maynard Dixon hoped to replace the homogenized "melting pot" advocated by assimilationists with a national culture that was rooted in regional and ethnic cultures.
It soon took on a life of its own, which has possessed me for the past ten years and never would have been completed without the help of numerous individuals. ," which involved documenting the artists Mabel Dodge Luhan brought to New Mexico. MaLin loaned me her notes, her slides, and her chronologies. Her generous spirit has supported me throughout, including reading parts of my manuscript. Other New Mexico colleagues whose critical eyes have improved my text are William deBuys, Marta Weigle, and Sharyn Udall.
While I won't assert that its history reflects the cosmos, I will claim it as a fascinating microcosm for examining the lives and works of American and European visionaries who sought to heal the spiritual and social wounds created by modernity and postmodernity. The story of the three generations who have possessed the house and land, and been possessed by them, is of more than local interest because it reflects recurrent patterns in the history of American countercultures. I use the term counterculture here in a much broader sense than is typical, to define an oppositional stance taken by American reformers, radicals, writers, and artists who have contested the mainstream development of American society and culture-its rationalist bent, its class, gender, and ethnic differentiations and subordinations, and its corporate, imperialist, and materialist ethos.
Utopian Vistas: The Mabel Dodge Luhan House and the American Counterculture by Lois Palken Rudnick