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The Little Art Colony and US ModernismCarmel, Provincetown, Taos$
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Geneva M. Gano

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474439756

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474439756.001.0001

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Race, Place and Cultural Production in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Race, Place and Cultural Production in Carmel-by-the-Sea

(p.31) Chapter 1 Race, Place and Cultural Production in Carmel-by-the-Sea
The Little Art Colony and US Modernism

Geneva M. Gano

Edinburgh University Press

Carmel-by-the-Sea, a newly developed artist’s village located on the central California coast, claimed for itself the title of the first year-round little art colony in the nation, one that boasted an elaborate infrastructure including an experimental community theatre, communist study groups, dada-inspired balls, ‘straight’ photography, music festivals, and literary work of all stripes. This chapter describes the strange blend of intellectuals, bohemians, socialists, and businessmen that made the Carmel colony exemplary and excavates the history of land development for the high-end tourism and real estate economy on the Monterey Peninsula at the end of the nineteenth century. As local newspaper articles, real estate brochures, and guidebooks reveal, this small village used emergent real estate development and cutting-edge marketing techniques to position itself as what Richard Florida might call a ‘creative city.’ These helped to promote the area to a predominantly white middle and upper class with the time and money to spend on tourism and leisure activities. This chapter fleshes out this economic history—one that importantly includes the racially targeted displacements of Chinese fishermen to make way for the artists and tourists—and connects it to a remarkable scene of modernist primitivism in Jack London’s 1913 novel, Valley of the Moon.

Keywords:   Monterey, Carmel, Jack London, Valley of the Moon, Tourism, Bohemianism, Leisure, Creative Class, Primitivism, Race

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