In 1978, Zofia Rydet (1911–97) began work on a monumental project that would come to be known as her “Sociological Record”: photographing the people of Poland at their homes, she produced an extraordinary archive of around twenty thousand negatives. The images include faces, interiors, furnishings, and more. The undertaking consumed Rydet so completely that she was never able to give it final shape through a book or an art show.
Object Lessons, a new volume of essays inspired by an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, helps to dispel the myths that have formed around the project in recent years and introduces the photographer to a new global audience. The essays here contextualize and interpret “Sociological Record” from different perspectives, opening up the work to further inquiry as both an object of interpretation and a subject of theoretical interest. Rydet herself remained unresolved over the question of how to define her work, leaving the viewer to ponder whether her magnum opus is a piece of art or science. What does remain undisputed is that “Sociological Record” is a striking testimony of its time.
A fascinating celebration of Rydet’s work that is sure to spur on fresh debate about art as a social practice and a tool of knowledge, Object Lessons reminds us of photography’s incredible power to provide a visual way of thinking and a provocative method for archiving the world.
Sayre defines for the first time the apparently diffuse avant-garde art of the past two decades in terms of its distinctly postmodern concerns. The range of arts discussed here encompasses contemporary dance, photography, oral poetics, performance art, and earthworks.
"Sayre has written one of the most intelligent, sensible, and readable accounts of the tenents of Postmodern artmaking published to date."—Jeff Abell, New Art Examiner
"No one can read The Object of Performance without gaining a far better idea than before of what has happened to art, and, in some measure, why. . . . I find this book consistently illuminating."—Arthur C. Danto
A volume considering questions of conservation that arise with new artistic mediums and practices.
Much of the artwork that rose to prominence in the second half of the twentieth century took on novel forms—such as installation, performance, event, video, film, earthwork, and intermedia works with interactive and networked components—that pose a new set of questions about what art actually is, both physically and conceptually. For conservators, this raises an existential challenge when considering what elements of these artworks can and should be preserved.
This provocative volume revisits the traditional notions of conservation and museum collecting that developed over the centuries to suit a conception of art as static, fixed, and permanent objects. Conservators and museums increasingly struggle with issues of conservation for works created from the mid-twentieth to the twenty-first century that are unstable over time. The contributors ask what it means to conserve artworks that fundamentally address and embody the notion of change and, through this questioning, guide us to reevaluate the meaning of art, of objects, and of materiality itself. Object—Event—Performance considers a selection of post-1960s artworks that have all been chosen for their instability, changeability, performance elements, and processes that pose questions about their relationship to conservation practices. This volume will be a welcome resource on contemporary conservation for art historians, scholars of dance and theater studies, curators, and conservators.
“The longer you work, the more the mystery deepens of what appearance is, or how what is called appearance can be made in another medium."—Francis Bacon, painter
This, in a nutshell, is the central problem in the theory of art. It has fascinated philosophers from Plato to Wittgenstein. And it fascinates artists and art historians, who have always drawn extensively on philosophical ideas about language and representation, and on ideas about vision and the visible world that have deep philosophical roots.
John Hyman’s The Objective Eye is a radical treatment of this problem, deeply informed by the history of philosophy and science, but entirely fresh. The questions tackled here are fundamental ones: Is our experience of color an illusion? How does the metaphysical status of colors differ from that of shapes? What is the difference between a picture and a written text? Why are some pictures said to be more realistic than others? Is it because they are especially truthful or, on the contrary, because they deceive the eye?
The Objective Eye explores the fundamental concepts we use constantly in our most innocent thoughts and conversations about art, as well as in the most sophisticated art theory. The book progresses from pure philosophy to applied philosophy and ranges from the metaphysics of color to Renaissance perspective, from anatomy in ancient Greece to impressionism in nineteenth-century France. Philosophers, art historians, and students of the arts will find The Objective Eye challenging and absorbing.
Margareta Ingrid Christian unpacks the ways in which, around 1900, art scholars, critics, and choreographers wrote about the artwork as an actual object in real time and space, surrounded and fluently connected to the viewer through the very air we breathe. Theorists such as Aby Warburg, Alois Riegl, Rainer Maria Rilke, and the choreographer Rudolf Laban drew on the science of their time to examine air as the material space surrounding an artwork, establishing its “milieu,” “atmosphere,” or “environment.” Christian explores how the artwork’s external space was seen to work as an aesthetic category in its own right, beginning with Rainer Maria Rilke’s observation that Rodin’s sculpture “exhales an atmosphere” and that Cezanne’s colors create “a calm, silken air” that pervades the empty rooms where the paintings are exhibited.
Writers created an early theory of unbounded form that described what Christian calls an artwork’s ecstasis or its ability to stray outside its limits and engender its own space. Objects viewed in this perspective complicate the now-fashionable discourse of empathy aesthetics, the attention to self-projecting subjects, and the idea of the modernist self-contained artwork. For example, Christian invites us to historicize the immersive spatial installations and “environments” that have arisen since the 1960s and to consider their origins in turn-of-the-twentieth-century aesthetics. Throughout this beautifully written work, Christian offers ways for us to rethink entrenched narratives of aesthetics and modernism and to revisit alternatives.
National parks are the places that present ideas of nature to Americans: Zion, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone bring to mind quintessential and awe-inspiring wilderness. By examining how rhetoric—particularly visual rhetoric—has worked to shape our views of nature and the “natural” place of humans, Observation Points offers insights into questions of representation, including the formation of national identity.
As Thomas Patin reveals, the term “nature” is artificial and unstable, in need of constant maintenance and reconstruction. The process of stabilizing its representation, he notes, is unavoidably political. America’s national parks and monuments show how visual rhetoric operates to naturalize and stabilize representations of the environment. As contributors demonstrate, visual rhetoric is often transparent, structuring experience while remaining hidden in plain sight. Scenic overlooks and turnouts frame views for tourists. Visitor centers, with their display cases and photographs and orientation films, provide their own points of view—literally and figuratively. Guidebooks, brochures, and other publications present still other ways of seeing. At the same time, images of America’s “natural” world have long been employed for nationalist and capitalist ends, linking expansionism with American greatness and the “natural” triumph of European Americans over Native Americans.
The essays collected here cover a wide array of subjects, including park architecture, landscape painting, public ceremonies, and techniques of display. Contributors are from an equally broad range of disciplines—art history, geography, museum studies, political science, American studies, and many other fields. Together they advance a provocative new visual genealogy of representation.
Contributors: Robert M. Bednar, Southwestern U, Georgetown, Texas; Teresa Bergman, U of the Pacific; Albert Boime, UCLA; William Chaloupka, Colorado State U; Gregory Clark, Brigham Young U; Stephen Germic, Rocky Mountain College; Gareth John, St. Cloud State U, Minnesota; Mark Neumann, Northern Arizona U; Peter Peters, Maastricht U; Cindy Spurlock, Appalachian State U; David A. Tschida, U of Wisconsin, Eau Claire; Sabine Wilke, U of Washington.
Mic check! Mic check! Lacking amplification in Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street protestors addressed one another by repeating and echoing speeches throughout the crowd. In Occupy, W. J. T. Mitchell, Bernard E. Harcourt, and Michael Taussig take the protestors’ lead and perform their own resonant call-and-response, playing off of each other in three essays that engage the extraordinary Occupy movement that has swept across the world, examining everything from self-immolations in the Middle East to the G8 crackdown in Chicago to the many protest signs still visible worldwide.
“You break through the screen like Alice in Wonderland,” Taussig writes in the opening essay, “and now you can’t leave or do without it.” Following Taussig’s artful blend of participatory ethnography and poetic meditation on Zuccotti Park, political and legal scholar Harcourt examines the crucial difference between civil and political disobedience. He shows how by effecting the latter—by rejecting the very discourse and strategy of politics—Occupy Wall Street protestors enacted a radical new form of protest. Finally, media critic and theorist Mitchell surveys the global circulation of Occupy images across mass and social media and looks at contemporary works by artists such as Antony Gormley and how they engage the body politic, ultimately examining the use of empty space itself as a revolutionary monument.
Occupy stands not as a primer on or an authoritative account of 2011’s revolutions, but as a snapshot, a second draft of history, beyond journalism and the polemics of the moment—an occupation itself.
In Odd Man Out, Carol Armstrong offers an important study of Edgar Degas's work and reputation. Armstrong grapples with contradictory portrayals of Degas as odd man out within the modernist canon: he was a realist whom realists rejected; he was a storyteller in pictures who did not satisfy novelist-critics; he painted modern life yet was no modernist; he belonged to the impressionist group yet was no impressionist. She confronts these and other contradictions by analyzing the critical vocabularies used to describe Degas's work.
By reading several groups of the artist's images through the lens of a sequence of critical texts, Armstrong shows how our critical and popular expectations of Degas are overturned and subverted. Each of these groups of images is matched to different interpretive moves, each highlighting distinct themes: economics and vocation; narrative and semiotics; gender and corporeality; and the author and self. Armstrong's provocative analysis celebrates the tantalizing qualities of the artist's elusive career: the pluralism of his work, its conflation of positivistic and negational tactics, the modern and the traditional, the abstract and the representational.
"A lucid and searching study. . . . Armstrong has produced one of the most elegant and persuasive examples of the historian's use of 19th-century art criticism. In the process, she has achieved a reading of the artist which makes a difference to the way we understand the difference of Degas himself."—Neil McWilliam, Times Higher Education Supplement
"This is a brilliant, original, and beautifully articulated study. Carol Armstrong's scholarship is impressive in its richness, ambition, and sophistication: Degas's works have rarely been given such detailed, penetrating, and suggestive readings as those offered in this book."—Linda Nochlin, Yale University
"With brilliant insight and incisive analytical intelligence, Carol Armstrong introduces new ways to conceptualize the structural ambiguities of Degas's work. Her subtle and probing readings clarify the fundamental contrariness of Degas's images—their disturbing negativity, their anti-modern modernism. Odd Man Out catapults the criticism of Degas from the hinterlands of traditional art history to the foreground of contemporary critical theory in both literature and the visual arts."—Charles Bernheimer, University of Pennsylvania
The life and times of Alabama folk potter Jerry Brown, as told in his own words
Born in 1942, Jerry Brown helped out in his father’s pottery shop as a young boy. There he learned the methods and techniques for making pottery in a family tradition dating back to the 1830s. His responsibilities included tending the mule that drove the mill that was used to mix clay (called “mud” by traditional potters). Business suffered as demand for stoneware churns, jugs, and chamber pots waned in the postwar years, and manufacture ceased following the deaths of Brown’s father and brother in the mid-1960s. Brown turned to logging for his livelihood, his skill with mules proving useful in working difficult and otherwise inaccessible terrain. In the early 1980s, he returned to the family trade and opened a new shop that relied on the same methods of production with which he had grown up, including a mule-powered mill for mixing clay and the use of a wood-fired rather than gas-fueled kiln.
Folklorist Joey Brackner met Brown in 1983, and the two quickly became close friends who collaborated together on a variety of documentary and educational projects in succeeding years—efforts that led to greater exposure, commercial success, and Brown’s recognition as a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts. For years, Brown spoke of the urge to write his life story, but he never set pen to paper. In 2015, Brackner took the initiative and interviewed Brown, recording his life story over the course of a weekend at Brown’s home. Of Mules and Mud is the result of that marathon interview session, conducted one year before Brown passed away.
Brackner has captured Jerry Brown’s life in his own words as recounted that weekend, lightly edited and elaborated. Of Mules and Mud is illustrated with photos from all phases of Brown’s life, including a color gallery of 28 photos of vessel forms made by Brown throughout his career that collectors of folk pottery will find invaluable.
Doris Salcedo, a Colombian-born artist, addresses the politics of memory and forgetting in work that embraces fraught situations in dangerous places. Noted critic and theorist Mieke Bal narrates between the disciplines of contemporary culture in order to boldly reimagine the role of the visual arts. Both women are pathbreaking figures, globally renowned and widely respected. Doris Salcedo, meet Mieke Bal.
In Of What One Cannot Speak, Bal leads us into intimate encounters with Salcedo’s art, encouraging us to consider each work as a “theoretical object” that invites—and demands—certain kinds of considerations about history, death, erasure, and grief. Bal ranges widely through Salcedo’s work, from Salcedo’s Atrabiliarios series—in which the artist uses worn shoes to retrace los desaparecidos (“the disappeared”) from nations like Argentina, Chile, and Colombia—to Shibboleth, Salcedo’s once-in-a-lifetime commission by the Tate Modern, for which she created a rupture, as if by earthquake, that stretched the length of the museum hall’s concrete floor. In each instance, Salcedo’s installations speak for themselves, utilizing household items, human bones, and common domestic architecture to explore the silent spaces between violence, trauma, and identity. Yet Bal draws out even deeper responses to the work, questioning the nature of political art altogether and introducing concepts of metaphor, time, and space in order to contend with Salcedo’s powerful sculptures and installations.
An unforgettable fusion of art and essay, Of What One Cannot Speak takes us to the very core of events we are capable of remembering—yet still uncomfortably cannot speak aloud.
Off Limits is the first examination of the Rutgers group, artists who came together on the Rutgers University, New Brunswick campus during the 1950s and revolutionized art practices and pedagogy. Based on interviews with artists, critics, and dealers from the period, the book connects the initiation of major trends such as Happenings, Pop Art, and Fluxus to the faculty, students, art curriculum, and events at the university. It is the first book to look not only at the work of individual artists, but to consider how interactions between these artists influenced their groundbreaking work.
Rutgers was clearly the place to be for experimental artists during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Allan Kaprow’s first Happening was presented at Rutgers. Roy Lichtenstein’s first Pop paintings, George Segal’s earliest figurative tableaux, Lucas Samaras’s radical exploration of media, and proto-Fluxus events by Robert Watts and George Brecht all took place on and around the campus. The innovative group rejected Abstract Expressionism for art based on the immediate experience of urban and industrial life, creating startling new artforms which remain startling and provocative.
Led by the theoretical writings and art practice of Kaprow, the group created a New Art—art beyond the limits of the conventional and predictable, even beyond accepted notions of progressive trends. Lichtenstein recalls in an interview, “Kaprow showed us that art didn’t have to look like art.” Along with Lichtenstein, Kaprow, Segal, and Watts taught at Rutgers and challenged one another to take art “Off Limits” — beyond the limits of the conventional, the predictable — even beyond the progressive, as defined by Abstract Expressionist gesturalism. Their art incorporated the gritty environs, the technological, the everyday, making art radical, outrageous, disturbing, and humorous.
When life (in a global pandemic) imitates art . . .
Van Gogh’s Starry Night made out of spaghetti? Cat with a Pearl Earring? Frida Kahlo self-portraits with pets and toilet paper? While the world reeled from the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), thousands of people around the globe, inspired by challenges from Getty and other museums, raided toy chests, repurposed pantry items, and enlisted family, roommates, and animals to re-create famous works of art at home. Astonishing in their creativity, wit, and ingenuity, these creations remind us of the power of art to unite us and bring joy during troubled times. Off the Walls: Inspired Re-Creations of Iconic Artworks celebrates these imaginative re-creations, bringing highlights from this challenge together in one whimsical, irresistible volume. Getty Publications will donate all profits from the sale of this book to a charity supporting art and artists.
One of the most important avant-garde movements of postwar Paris was Lettrism, which crucially built an interest in the relationship between writing and image into projects in poetry, painting, and especially cinema. Highly influential, the Lettrists served as a bridge of sorts between the earlier works of the Dadaists and Surrealists and the later Conceptual artists.
Off-Screen Cinema is the first monograph in English of the Lettrists. Offering a full portrait of the avant-garde scene of 1950s Paris, it focuses on the film works of key Lettrist figures like Gil J Wolman, Maurice Lemaître, François Dufrêne, and especially the movement's founder, Isidore Isou, a Romanian immigrant whose “discrepant editing” deliberately uncoupled image and sound. Through Cabañas's history, we see not only the full scope of the Lettrist project, but also its clear influence on Situationism, the French New Wave, the New Realists, as well as American filmmakers such as Stan Brakhage.
"The Old Guard and the Avant-Garde: Modernism in Chicago, 1910-1940 brings together the history and the critical reaction to the new developments in art and design, places them in the context of conservative yet innovative Chicago at the turn of the century, and explores the tensions between tradition and innovation. The individual essays present the best in specialized current research, yet one can clearly understand the impact of modernism on the broader intellectual and cultural life of the city. I eagerly await as cohesive and thorough an analysis of the subject for New York."—David Sokol, University of Chicago
"This is fresh and fascinating research about the ups and downs of modernism in Chicago, a city where art students reportedly once hung Matisse in effigy. Regional studies like this one broaden our understanding of how the art world has worked outside of New York and gives depth to a story we know too narrowly. Applause all the way around."—Wanda M. Corn, Stanford University
The Omega Workshops
Judith Collins University of Chicago Press, 1984 Library of Congress NK942.O45C6 1984 | Dewey Decimal 745.0942142
Ilya Kabakov University of Chicago Press, 2018 Library of Congress N6999.K23A35 2018 | Dewey Decimal 709.47
During the 1960s and 1970s, the Russian conceptual artist Ilya Kabakov was a galvanizing figure in Moscow's underground art community, ultimately gaining international prominence as the “leader” of a band of artists known as the Moscow Conceptual Circle. Throughout this time, he created texts that he would distribute among his friends, and by the late 1990s his written production amounted to hundreds of pages.
Devoted to themes that range from the “cosmism” of pre-Revolutionary Russian modernism to the philosophical implications of Moscow’s garbage, Kabakov’s handmade booklets were typed out on paper, then stapled or sewn together using rough butcher paper for their covers. Among these writings are faux Socialist Realist verses, theoretical explorations, art historical analyses, accompaniments to installation projects, and transcripts of dialogues between the artist and literary theorists, critics, journalists, and other artists.
This volume offers for the first time in English the most significant texts written by Kabakov. The writings have been expressly selected for this English-language volume and there exists no equivalent work in any language.
Artist, educator, curator, and critic Luis Camnitzer has been writing about contemporary art ever since he left his native Uruguay in 1964 for a fellowship in New York City. As a transplant from the "periphery" to the "center," Camnitzer has had to confront fundamental questions about making art in the Americas, asking himself and others: What is "Latin American art"? How does it relate (if it does) to art created in the centers of New York and Europe? What is the role of the artist in exile? Writing about issues of such personal, cultural, and indeed political import has long been an integral part of Camnitzer's artistic project, a way of developing an idiosyncratic art history in which to work out his own place in the picture.
This volume gathers Camnitzer's most thought-provoking essays—"texts written to make something happen," in the words of volume editor Rachel Weiss. They elaborate themes that appear persistently throughout Camnitzer's work: art world systems versus an art of commitment; artistic genealogies and how they are consecrated; and, most insistently, the possibilities for artistic agency. The theme of "translation" informs the texts in the first part of the book, with Camnitzer asking such questions as "What is Latin America, and who asks the question? Who is the artist, there and here?" The texts in the second section are more historically than geographically oriented, exploring little-known moments, works, and events that compose the legacy that Camnitzer draws on and offers to his readers.
An idiosyncratic volume featuring artwork and essays on the history of boredom.
What do we mean when we say that we are bored? Contributors to this volume, which include artists, art historians, psychoanalysts, and a novelist, examine boredom in its manifold and uncertain reality. Each part of the book takes up a crucial moment in the history of boredom and presents it in a new light, taking the reader from the trials of the consulting room to the experience of hysteria in the nineteenth century. The book pays particular attention to boredom’s relationship with the sudden and rapid advances in technology that have occurred in recent decades, specifically technologies of communication, surveillance, and automation. On Boredom is idiosyncratic for its combination of image and text, and the artworks included in its pages—featuring Mathew Hale, Martin Creed, and Susan Morris—help turn this volume into a material expression of boredom itself. It will appeal to readers in the fields of art history, literature, cultural studies, and visual culture.
Life is short. This indisputable fact of existence has driven human ingenuity since antiquity, whether through efforts to lengthen our lives with medicine or shorten the amount of time we spend on work using technology. Alongside this struggle to manage the pressure of life’s ultimate deadline, human perception of the passage and effects of time has also changed. In On Borrowed Time, Harald Weinrich examines an extraordinary range of materials—from Hippocrates to Run Lola Run—to put forth a new conception of time and its limits that, unlike older models, is firmly grounded in human experience.
Weinrich’s analysis of the roots of the word time connects it to the temples of the skull, demonstrating that humans first experienced time in the beating of their pulses. Tracing this corporeal perception of time across literary, religious, and philosophical works, Weinrich concludes that time functions as a kind of sixth sense—the crucial sense that enables the other five.
Written with Weinrich’s customary narrative elegance, On Borrowed Time is an absorbing—and, fittingly, succinct—meditation on life’s inexorable brevity.
At a critical, transitional moment in the history of Broadway—and, by extension, of American theatre itself—former Broadway stage manager Steven Adlerenlists insider perspectives from sixty-six practitioners and artists to chronicle the recent past and glimpse the near future of the Great White Way. From marquee names to behind-the-scenes power brokers, Adler has assembled a distinctly knowledgeable cast of theatre’s elite, including Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, Des McAnuff, Frank Rich, Robin Wagner, Rocco Landesman, Robert Longbottom, Todd Haimes, Bernard Gersten, and Alan Eisenberg.
On Broadway: Art and Commerce on the Great White Way spotlights the differing vantage points of performers, artists, writers, managers, producers, critics, lawyers, theatre owners, union leaders, city planners, and other influential players. Each details his or her firsthand account of the creative and economic forces that have wrought extraordinary changes in the way Broadway theatre is conceived, produced, marketed, and executed. Once the paramount site of American theatre, Broadway today is becoming a tourist-driven, family-friendly, middle-class entertainment oasis in Midtown, an enterprise inextricably bound to the larger mosaic of national and international professional theatre.
Accounting for this transformation and presaging Broadway’s identity for the twenty-first century, Adler and his interviewees assess the impact of the advent of corporate producers, the ascendance of not-for-profit theatres on Broadway, and the growing interdependence between regional and Broadway productions. Also critiqued are the important roles of the radical urban redevelopment staged in Times Square and the changing demographics and appetites of contemporary theatre audiences in New York and around the globe.
Actors and administrators, performers and producers, theatre students and theatregoers will all benefit from the perceptive insights in this authoritative account of theatre making for the new millennium.
The milestone 100th issue of Camera Obscura recognizes the work and legacy of Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman (1950–2015). Arguably the most important figure in feminist film culture, Akerman is central to Camera Obscura's own legacy, and her film Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles was covered in one of the first issues of the journal. The contributors to this special issue return to Akerman's work, illuminating her films, writings, and installations through new criticism and discussion. The issue includes a rich collection of newly published photographs, scholarly essays by leading Akerman scholars, a filmography and installation list, and rare interviews with Akerman's close collaborators.
Contributors. Claire Atherton, Janet Bergstrom, Kelley Conway, Sandy Flitterman-Lewis, Ute Holl, Heike Klippel, Eva Kuhn, Matias Lavin, Alisa Lebow, Brenda Longfellow, Babette Mangolte, Ivone Margulies, Michael Mazière, Eva Meyer, Sandra Percival, Jane Stein, Cécile Tourneur, Maureen Turim, Sonia Wieder-Atherton, Patricia White
A collection of insightful essays by the French philosopher on contemporary art.
Iconic French novelist, playwright, and essayist Jean-Paul Sartre is widely recognized as one of the most important philosophers of the twentieth century, and his work has remained relevant and thought-provoking through the decades. The Seagull Sartre Library now presents some of his most incisive philosophical, cultural, and literary critical essays in twelve newly designed and affordable editions.
Sartre was a prodigious commentator on contemporary art, as is evident from the short but incisive essays that make up this important volume. Sartre examines here the work of a wide range of artists, including recognized masters such as Alberto Giacometti, Alexander Calder, and André Masson, alongside unacknowledged greats like French painter Robert Lapoujade and German painter-photographer Wols.
A thought-provoking examination of beauty using three works of art by Manet, Gauguin, and Cézanne. As the discipline of art history has moved away from connoisseurship, the notion of beauty has become increasingly problematic. Both culturally and personally subjective, the term is difficult to define and nearly universally avoided. In this insightful book, Richard R. Brettell, one of the leading authorities on Impressionism and French art of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, dares to confront the concept of modern beauty head-on. This is not a study of aesthetic philosophy, but rather a richly contextualized look at the ambitions of specific artists and artworks at a particular time and place.
Brettell shapes his manifesto around three masterworks from the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Édouard Manet’s Jeanne (Spring), Paul Gauguin’s Arii Matamoe (The Royal End), and Paul Cézanne’s Young Italian Woman at a Table. The provocative discussion reveals how each of these exceptional paintings, though depicting very different subjects—a fashionable actress, a preserved head, and a weary working woman—enacts a revolutionary, yet enduring, icon of beauty.
Emmanuel Levinas’s interview with Françoise Armengaud in 1988 is one of the only statements we have from the philosopher, who became influential in various disciplines through his ethics that focuses on the fine arts specifically. Presented in English for the first time here, this interview brings us Levinas’s understanding of “obliteration” as an uncanny, disruptive, and even “unavailable” concept. Discussing the work of the French sculptor Sacha Sosno, Levinas parses the complex relationship between ethics and aesthetics, examining how they play out in artistic operations and practices. In doing so, he turns away from the “ease and lighthearted casualness of the beautiful” to shed light instead on the processes of material wear and tear and the traces of repair that go into the creation and maintenance of works of art, and which ultimately give them a profound uniqueness of presence. This evocative interview uncovers a hidden thread of aesthetic thinking in Levinas’s work and introduces a new way of looking at artistic practices in general.
What meaning does the American public attach to images of key black political, social, and cultural figures? Considering photography’s role as a means of documenting historical progress, what is the representational currency of these images? How do racial icons “signify”?
Nicole R. Fleetwood’s answers to these questions will change the way you think about the next photograph that you see depicting a racial event, black celebrity, or public figure. In On Racial Icons, Fleetwood focuses a sustained look on photography in documenting black public life, exploring the ways in which iconic images function as celebrations of national and racial progress at times or as a gauge of collective racial wounds in moments of crisis.
Offering an overview of photography’s ability to capture shifting race relations, Fleetwood spotlights in each chapter a different set of iconic images in key sectors of public life. She considers flash points of racialized violence in photographs of Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till; the political, aesthetic, and cultural shifts marked by the rise of pop stars such as Diana Ross; and the power and precarity of such black sports icons as Serena Williams and LeBron James; and she does not miss Barack Obama and his family along the way. On Racial Icons is an eye-opener in every sense of the phrase.
On Repetition aims to unpack the different uses and functions of repetition within contemporary performance, dance practices, craft, and writing. The collection, edited by Eirini Kartsaki, explores repetition in relation to intimacy, laughter, technology, familiarity, and fear—proposing a new vocabulary for understanding what is at stake in works that repeat. Drawing on psychoanalysis, philosophy, linguistics, sociology, and performance studies—and employing case studies from a range of practices—the essays presented here combine to form a unique interdisciplinary exploration of the functions of repetition in contemporary culture.
In On Stage, Mathilde Roman explores the resonances that fields of theater—stage, décor, space, gaze, and more—have in the practice of video arts. Using these notions of theater both as points of reference and as a prism through which video installation can be approached, Roman is able to concentrate on a number of questions often overlooked by art historians, theorists, and critics, but offering different points of view. These include questions of exhibition architecture, display, viewer experience, temporality, and the importance of the gaze. Each chapter is articulated around analyses of video installations created by artists of different generations, from Michael Snow to Maïder Fortuné, and Dan Graham to Laurent Grasso. With a preface by Mieke Bal, On Stage is an important contribution to the fields of art, history, and film studies.
Throughout human history, people have imagined inanimate objects to have intelligence, language, and even souls. In our secular societies today, we still willingly believe that nonliving objects have lives of their own as we find ourselves interacting with computers and other equipment. In On the Animation of the Inorganic, Spyros Papapetros examines ideas about simulated movement and inorganic life during and after the turn of the twentieth century—a period of great technical innovation whose effects continue to reverberate today.
Exploring key works of art historians such as Aby Warburg, Wilhelm Worringer, and Alois Riegl, as well as architects and artists like Fernand Léger, Mies van der Rohe, and Salvador Dalí, Papapetros tracks the evolution of the problem of animation from the fin de siècle through the twentieth century. He argues that empathy—the ability to identify with objects of the external world—was repressed by twentieth-century modernist culture, but it returned, projected onto inorganic objects such as machines, automobiles, and crystalline skyscrapers. These modern artifacts, he demonstrates, vibrated with energy, life, and desire of their own and had profound effects on people. Subtle and insightful, this book will change how we view modernist art, architecture, and their histories.
Moteuczoma, the last king who ruled the Aztec Empire, was rarely seen or heard by his subjects, yet his presence was felt throughout the capital city of Tenochtitlan, where his deeds were recorded in hieroglyphic inscriptions on monuments and his command was expressed in highly refined ritual performances. What did Moteuczoma’s “fame” mean in the Aztec world? How was it created and maintained? In this innovative study, Patrick Hajovsky investigates the king’s inscribed and spoken name, showing how it distinguished his aura from those of his constituencies, especially other Aztec nobles, warriors, and merchants, who also vied for their own grandeur and fame. While Tenochtitlan reached its greatest size and complexity under Moteuczoma, the “Great Speaker” innovated upon fame by tying his very name to the Aztec royal office.
As Moteuczoma’s fame transcends Aztec visual and oral culture, Hajovsky brings together a vast body of evidence, including Nahuatl language and poetry, indigenous pictorial manuscripts and written narratives, and archaeological and sculptural artifacts. The kaleidoscopic assortment of sources casts Moteuczoma as a divine king who, while inheriting the fame of past rulers, saw his own reputation become entwined with imperial politics, ideological narratives, and eternal gods. Hajovsky also reflects on posthumous narratives about Moteuczoma, which created a very different sense of his fame as a conquered subject. These contrasting aspects of fame offer important new insights into the politics of personhood and portraiture across Aztec and colonial-period sources.
A posthumous collection of essays by one of our greatest contemporary thinkers that provides a towering vision of Western culture.
In Umberto Eco’s first novel, The Name of the Rose, Nicholas of Morimondo laments, “We no longer have the learning of the ancients, the age of giants is past!” To which the protagonist, William of Baskerville, replies: “We are dwarfs, but dwarfs who stand on the shoulders of those giants, and small though we are, we sometimes manage to see farther on the horizon than they.”
On the Shoulders of Giants is a collection of essays based on lectures Eco famously delivered at the Milanesiana Festival in Milan over the last fifteen years of his life. Previously unpublished, the essays explore themes he returned to again and again in his writing: the roots of Western culture and the origin of language, the nature of beauty and ugliness, the potency of conspiracies, the lure of mysteries, and the imperfections of art. Eco examines the dynamics of creativity and considers how every act of innovation occurs in conversation with a superior ancestor.
In these playful, witty, and breathtakingly erudite essays, we encounter an intellectual who reads comic strips, reflects on Heraclitus, Dante, and Rimbaud, listens to Carla Bruni, and watches Casablanca while thinking about Proust. On the Shoulders of Giants reveals both the humor and the colossal knowledge of a contemporary giant.
On the True Sense of Art collects essays by philosophers responding to John Sallis’s Transfigurements: On the True Sense of Art as well as his other works on the philosophy of art, including Force of Imagination and Logic of Imagination.
Each of the chapters, by some of the leading thinkers in Continental philosophy, engages Sallis’s work on both ancient and new senses of aesthetics—a transfiguration of aesthetics—as a beginning that is always beginning again. With a responsive essay by Sallis himself, On the True Sense of Art forms a critical introduction to the thought of this generation’s most important aesthetician.
In One and Five Ideas eminent critic, historian, and former member of the Art & Language collective Terry Smith explores the artistic, philosophical, political, and geographical dimensions of Conceptual Art and conceptualism. These four essays and a conversation with Mary Kelly—published between 1974 and 2012—contain Smith's most essential work on Conceptual Art and his argument that conceptualism was key to the historical transition from modern to contemporary art. Nothing less than a distinctive theory of Conceptual and contemporary art, One and Five Ideas showcases the critical voice of one of the major art theorists of our time.
Collaborative and collective art practices have proliferated around the world over the past fifteen years. In The One and the Many, Grant H. Kester provides an overview of the broader continuum of collaborative art, ranging from the work of artists and groups widely celebrated in the mainstream art world, such as Thomas Hirschhorn, Superflex, Francis Alÿs, and Santiago Sierra, to the less-publicized projects of groups, such as Park Fiction in Hamburg, Networking and Initiatives for Culture and the Arts in Myanmar, Ala Plastica in Argentina, Huit Facettes in Senegal, and Dialogue in central India. The work of these groups often overlaps with the activities of NGOs, activists, and urban planners. Kester argues that these parallels are symptomatic of an important transition in contemporary art practice, as conventional notions of aesthetic autonomy are being redefined and renegotiated. He describes a shift from a concept of art as something envisioned beforehand by the artist and placed before the viewer, to the concept of art as a process of reciprocal creative labor. The One and the Many presents a critical framework that addresses the new forms of agency and identity mobilized by the process of collaborative production.
More than one hundred years after Futurism exploded onto the European stage with its unique brand of art and literature, there is a need to reassess the whole movement, from its Italian roots to its international ramifications. In wide-ranging essays based on fresh research, the contributors to this collection examine both the original context and the cultural legacy of Futurism. Chapters touch on topics such as Futurism and fascism, the geopolitics of Futurism, the Futurist woman, and translating Futurist texts. A large portion of the book is devoted to the practical aspects of performing Futurist theatrical ideas in the twenty-first century.
More than one hundred years after Futurism exploded onto the European stage with its unique brand of art and literature, there is a need to reassess the whole movement, from its Italian roots to its international ramifications. In wide-ranging essays based on fresh research, the contributors to this collection examine both the original context and the cultural legacy of Futurism. Chapters touch on topics such as Futurism and fascism, the geopolitics of Futurism, the Futurist woman, and translating Futurist texts. A large portion of the book is devoted to the practical aspects of performing Futurist theatrical ideas in the twenty-first century.
In these studies Roman Ingarden investigates the nature and mode of being of four kinds of art works: the musical work, the picture, the architectural work, and the film. He establishes that the work of art is a purely intentional object but considers also its connections to the real world. By analyzing a work of art in its “constitutive heterogeneous strata,” Ingarden demonstrates that a work of art will reveal, when examined in the appropriate way, its own inherent structure. Further, he shows that in consequence of the art work’s structure, we must distinguish between the work itself and the concretizations of it by the listener or viewer.
Ingarden elaborates upon the conception of concretization which he present in The Literary Work of Art and applies it to music and visual art. He also employs the concept of aspect to clarify the ontic structure of these art works and the distinction between the concretization of the work and the work itself. The distinction between the work’s concretization — effectuated in the mental experiences of the listener or viewer — and the work itself serves to help Ingarden confirm and account for the work’s intersubjective identity.
The problem of aesthetic value, Ingarden maintains, can be fruitfully treated only after the ontic structure of art work has been clarified. His primary concern in Ontology of the Work of Art is to ascertain and describe that structure and the mode of existence of works of art. In addition, he offers several discussions of aesthetic value, showing in the m the connections between questions of aesthetic value and the structure of the work of art.
Based on five years of classroom experimentation, The Open Hand presents a highly practical yet transformational philosophy of teaching argumentative writing. In his course Arguing as an Art of Peace, Barry Kroll uses the open hand to represent an alternative approach to argument, asking students to argue in a way that promotes harmony rather than divisiveness and avoiding conventional conflict-based approaches.
Kroll cultivates a bodily investigation of noncombative argument, offering direct pedagogical strategies anchored in three modalities of learning—conceptual-procedural, kinesthetic, and contemplative—and projects, activities, assignments, informal responses, and final papers for students. Kinesthetic exercises derived from martial arts and contemplative meditation and mindfulness practices are key to the approach, with Kroll specifically using movement as a physical analogy for tactics of arguing.
Collaboration, mediation, and empathy are important yet overlooked values in communicative exchange. This practical, engaging, and accessible guide for teachers contains clear examples and compelling discussions of pedagogical strategies that teach students not only how to write persuasively but also how to deal with personal conflict in their daily lives.
Poets often have responded vitally to the art of their time, and ever since Susan Stewart began writing about art in the early 1980s, her work has resonated with practicing artists, curators, art historians, and art critics. Rooted in a broad and learned range of references, Stewart's fresh and independent essays bridge the fields of literature, aesthetics, and contemporary art.
Gathering most of Stewart's writing on contemporary art—long and short pieces first published in small magazines, museum and gallery publications, and edited collections—The Open Studio illuminates work ranging from the installation art of Ann Hamilton to the sculptures and watercolors of Thomas Schütte, the prints and animations of William Kentridge to the films of Tacita Dean. Stewart's essays are often the record of studio conversations with living artists and curators, and of the afterlife of those experiences in the solitude of her own study. Considering a wide variety of art forms, Stewart finds pathbreaking ways to explore them. Whether she is following central traditions of painting, drawing, sculpture, film, photography, and printmaking or exploring the less well-known realms of portrait miniatures, collecting practices, doll-making, music boxes, and gardening, Stewart speaks to the creative process in general and to the relation between art and ethics.
The Open Studio will be read eagerly by scholars of art, poetry, and visual theory; by historians interested in the links between contemporary and classic literature and art; and by teachers, students, and practitioners of the visual arts.
An in-depth look into the transformation of visual culture and digital aesthetics
First introduced by the German filmmaker Harun Farocki, the term operational images defines the expanding field of machine vision. In this study, media theorist Jussi Parikka develops Farocki’s initial concept by considering the extent to which operational images have pervaded today’s visual culture, outlining how data technologies continue to develop and disrupt our understanding of images beyond representation.
Charting the ways that operational images have been employed throughout a variety of fields and historical epochs, Parikka details their many roles as technologies of analysis, capture, measurement, diagramming, laboring, (machine) learning, identification, tracking, and destruction. He demonstrates how, though inextricable from issues of power and control, operational images extend their reach far beyond militaristic and colonial violence and into the realms of artificial intelligence, data, and numerous aspects of art, media, and everyday visual culture.
Serving as an extensive guide to a key concept in contemporary art, design, and media theory, Operational Images explores the implications of machine vision and the limits of human agency. Through a wealth of case studies highlighting the areas where imagery and data intersect, this book gives us unprecedented insight into the ever-evolving world of posthuman visuality.
Cover alt text: Satellite photo on which white title words appear in yellow boxes. Yellow lines connect the boxes.
Longlist finalist, 2015 Historia Nova Prize for Best Book on Russian Intellectual and Cultural History
Julia Bekman Chadaga’s ambitious study posits that glass—in its uses as a material and as captured in culture—is a key to understanding the evolution of Russian identity from the eighteenth century onward. From the contemporary perspective, it is easy to overlook how glass has profoundly transformed vision. Chadaga shows the far-reaching effects of this phenomenon.
Her book examines the similarities between glass and language, the ideological uses of glass, and the material’s associations with modernity, while illuminating the work of Lomonosov, Dostoevsky, Zamyatin, and Eisenstein, among others. In particular, Chadaga explores the prominent role of glass in the discourse around Russia’s contentious relationship with the West—by turns admiring and antagonistic—as the nation crafted a vision for its own future. Chadaga returns throughout to the spectacular aspect of glass and shows how both the tendentious capacity and the playfulness of this material have shaped Russian culture.
Stanley K. Abe University of Chicago Press, 2002 Library of Congress N8193.C6A24 2002 | Dewey Decimal 704.9489430951
This richly illustrated book explores the large body of sculpture, paintings, and other religious imagery produced for China's common classes from the third to the sixth centuries C.E. In contrast to the works made for imperial patrons, illustrious monastics, or other luminaries, these ordinary images-modest in scale, mass produced, and at times incomplete-were created for those of lesser standing. Because they cannot be related to well-known historical figures or social groups, these images have been considered a largely nebulous, undistinguished mass of works.
Situating his study in the gaps between conventional categories such as Buddhism, Daoism, and Chinese popular art, Abe examines works—including some of the earliest known examples of Buddha-like images in China—that were commissioned by patrons of modest standing and produced by nameless artists and artisans. Sophisticated and lucidly written, Ordinary Images offers an unprecedented exploration of the lively and diverse nature of image making and popular practices.
Until now, Orientalist art—exemplified by paintings of harems, slave markets, or bazaars—has predominantly been understood to reflect Western interpretations and to perpetuate reductive, often demeaning stereotypes of the exotic East. Orientalism's Interlocutors contests the idea that Orientalist art simply expresses the politics of Western domination and argues instead that it was often produced through cross-cultural interactions. Focusing on paintings and other representations of North African and Ottoman cultures, by both local artists and westerners, the contributors contend that the stylistic similarities between indigenous and Western Orientalist art mask profound interpretive differences, which, on examination, can reveal a visual language of resistance to colonization. The essays also demonstrate how marginalized voices and viewpoints—especially women's—within Western Orientalism decentered and destabilized colonial authority.
Looking at the political significance of cross-cultural encounters refracted through the visual languages of Orientalism, the contributors engage with pressing recent debates about indigenous agency, postcolonial identity, and gendered subjectivities. The very range of artists, styles, and forms discussed in this collection broadens contemporary understandings of Orientalist art. Among the artists considered are the Algerian painters Azouaou Mammeri and Mohammed Racim; Turkish painter Osman Hamdi; British landscape painter Barbara Bodichon; and the French painter Henri Regnault. From the liminal "Third Space" created by mosques in postcolonial Britain to the ways nineteenth-century harem women negotiated their portraits by British artists, the essays in this collection force a rethinking of the Orientalist canon.
This innovative volume will appeal to those interested in art history, theories of gender, and postcolonial studies.
Contributors. Jill Beaulieu, Roger Benjamin, Zeynep Çelik, Deborah Cherry, Hollis Clayson, Mark Crinson, Mary Roberts
Since Columbus first called the natives of the Americas “Indians,” the sources of their art and culture have been a puzzle. The strange mixture of objects of Asian appearance with those decidedly un-Asian has provided fuel for controversy between those who see the American cultures as products of diffusion and those who see them as independent inventions. Origins of Pre-Columbian Art cuts through this old dispute to provide a fresh look at ancient cultural history in the Americas and the Pacific basin. Using evidence from archaeology, ethnology, and psychology, Terence Grieder suggests that contact between individuals across cultural borders is the root of both invention and diffusion. By tracing the spread of early symbolic techniques, materials, and designs from Europe and Asia to the lands of the Pacific and to the Americas, he displays the threads woven through humanity’s common cultural heritage. While archaeology provides examples of ancient symbols, ethnology reveals widely separated modern peoples still using these symbols and giving them similar meanings. Mapping these patterns of use and meaning, the author describes three waves of migration from Asia to the Americas, each carrying its own cluster of ideas and the symbols that expressed them. First Wave cultures focused on their environment and on the human body, inventing symbols that compared people and nature. Second Wave symbolism emphasized the center and the periphery: the village and the horizon; the tree or pole as world axis; and the world’s rim, where spirits exist. These cultures created masks to give form to those beings beyond the horizon. The heavens were finally incorporated into the system of symbols by Third Wave peoples, who named the celestial bodies as gods, treasured heaven-colored stones, and represented the world in pyramids. Emphasizing the interpretation of art in its many forms, Grieder has found that such seemingly minor decorations as bark cloth clothing and tattoos have deep meaning. Ancient art, he argues, was the vehicle for ancient science, serving to express insights into biology, astronomy, and the natural world.
The Ormesby Psalter is one of the most well-known yet mysterious manuscripts to survive the Middle Ages. It was made in a series of campaigns over many decades, starting in the late-thirteenth century, and the main decorated pages were executed in the 1310s for a marriage that never took place. Likely meant for private devotion by its wealthy patrons, this exquisite book of psalms was left unfinished.
Housed in Oxford’s Bodleian Library for over 150 years, this enigmatic masterpiece is perhaps the most magnificent yet enigmatic of the great Gothic psalters produced in East Anglia in the first half of the fourteenth century. Manuscript expert Frederica C. E. Law-Turner places the psalter within a wider historical context and then deciphers its lush illuminations—scenes that vary wildly in tone from the comic to the bawdy to the mythic. Full-color photographs illustrate the text’s many characters: falcons and hunting dogs at bay, kings and courtesans, and other animals dressed in human garb. Created over a period of decades by previously unrecognized scribes and artists, the Ormesby Psalter is an exceptional amalgam of medieval art and history. For scholars of medieval life, as well as art historians, this new study will be an invaluable resource.
Early modern art features a remarkable fascination with ornament, both as decorative device and compositional strategy, across artistic media and genres.Interestingly, the inventive, elegant manifestations of ornament in the art of the period often include layers of disquieting paradoxes, creating tensions - monstrosities even - that manifest themselves in a variety of ways. In some cases, dichotomies (between order and chaos, artificiality and nature, rational logic and imaginative creativity, etc.) may emerge. Elsewhere, a sense of agitation undermines structures of statuesque control or erupts into wild, unruly displays of constant genesis.The monstrosity of ornament is brought into play through strategies of hybridity and metamorphosis, or by the handling of scale, proportion, and space in ambiguous and discomforting ways that break with the laws of physical reality. An interest in strange exaggeration and curious artifice allows for such colossal ornamental attitude to thrive within early modern art.
Ornamentalism is the first book to focus on Renaissance accessories, their histories and meanings. The collection's eminent contributors bring accessories to the center of a discussion about material culture, dress, and adornment, exploring their use, significance, and multiple lives. Defining an “accessory” in the broadest sense—including scents, veils, handkerchiefs, lingerie, codpieces, dildos, jewels, ruffs, wax seals, busks, shoes, scissors, and even boys—the book provides a rich cultural history that’s eclectic and bold, including discussions of bodily functions, personal hygiene, and sexuality.
Lively, well-written, and richly illustrated with color plates, Ornamentalism will appeal to scholars of the material past and social practice, and those interested in fashion studies, manners and morals, gender and sexuality, theater and performance.
Between 1932 and 1934, José Clemente Orozco painted the twenty-four-panel mural cycle entitled The Epic of American Civilization in Dartmouth College's Baker-Berry Library. An artifact of Orozco's migration from Mexico to the United States, the Epic represents a turning point in his career, standing as the only fresco in which he explores both US-American and Mexican narratives of national history, progress, and identity. While his title invokes the heroic epic form, the mural indicts history as complicit in colonial violence. It questions the claims of Manifest Destiny in the United States and the Mexican desire to mend the wounds of conquest in pursuit of a postcolonial national project. In Orozco's American Epic Mary K. Coffey places Orozco in the context of his contemporaries, such as Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, and demonstrates the Epic's power as a melancholic critique of official indigenism, industrial progress, and Marxist messianism. In the process, Coffey finds within Orozco's work a call for justice that resonates with contemporary debates about race, immigration, borders, and nationality.
This book presents a groundbreaking exploration of the hit television series Orphan Black and the questions it raises for performance and technology, gender and reproduction, and biopolitics and community.
Contributors come from a range of backgrounds and explore the digital innovations and technical interactions between human and machine that allow the show to challenge conventional notions of performance and identity, address family themes, and Orphan Black’s own textual genealogy within the contexts of science, reproductive technology, and the politics of gender, and extend their inquiry to the broader question of community in a "posthuman" world of biopolitical power. Mobilizing philosophy, history of science, and literary theory, scholars analyze the ways in which Orphan Black depicts resistance to the many forms of power that attempt to capture, monitor, and shape life today.
Orwell: Life and Art
Jeffrey Meyers University of Illinois Press, 2010 Library of Congress PR6029.R8Z73555 2010 | Dewey Decimal 828.91209
This remarkable volume collects, for the first time, essays representing more than four decades of scholarship by one of the world's leading authorities on George Orwell. In clear, energetic prose that exemplifies his indefatigable attention to Orwell's life work, Jeffrey Meyers analyzes the works and reception of one of the most widely read and admired twentieth-century authors.
Orwell: Life and Art covers the novelist's painful childhood and presents accounts of his autobiographical writings from the beginning of his career through the Spanish Civil War. Meyers continues with analyses of Orwell's major works, including Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, as well as his style, distinctive satiric humor, and approach to the art of writing. Meyers ends with a scrupulous examination of six biographies of Orwell, including his own, that embodies a consummate grasp and mastery of both the art of biography and Orwell's life and legacy.
Writing with an authority born of decades of focused scholarship, visits to Orwell's homes and workplaces, and interviews with his survivors, Meyers sculpts a dynamic view of Orwell's enduring influence on literature, art, culture, and politics.
Oscar Wilde's Decorated Books addresses Wilde's obsession with the visual appearance or "look" of his published writings. It examines the role played by graphic designers in the production of Wilde's writings and demonstrates how marginal and decorative elements of the printed book affect interpretation.
Nicholas Frankel approaches Wilde's writings as graphical or "printed" phenomena that reveal their significance through the beautiful and elaborate decorations with which they were published in Wilde's own lifetime. With extensive reference to and exposition on Wilde's theoretical writings and letters, the author shows that, far from being marginal elements of the literary text, these decorative devices were central to Wilde's understanding of his own writings as well as to his "aesthetic" theory of language. Extensive illustrations support Frankel's arguments.
While its principal appeal will be to students of Oscar Wilde and the Victorian fin-de-siècle, this book will also appeal to textual and literary scholars, art historians, and linguistic philosophers interested in the graphical nature of the linguistic sign.
Nicholas Frankel is Assistant Professor of English, Virginia Commonwealth University.
Following an international conference organized at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw in 2013, Oskar Hansen—Opening Modernism analyzes diverse aspects of the architectural, theoretical, and didactical oeuvre of Oskar Hansen, who was the Polish member of Team 10, a group of architects that challenged standard views of urbanism more than fifty years ago. In chronicling the impact of Hansen’s theory of “Open Form” on architecture, urban planning, experimental film, and visual arts in postwar Poland, this volume traces the flow of architectural ideas in a Europe divided by the Cold War. Through discussions of the ideas of openness and participation in state-socialist economies, Oskar Hansen—Opening Modernism offers new insights into exhibition design and the interrelations of architecture, visual arts, and the state.
Grounded in perspectives of affect theory, Other Americans examines the writings of Roberto Bolaño and Daniel Alarcón; films by Alfonso Cuarón, Claudia Llosa, Matt Piedmont, and Joel and Ethan Coen; as well as the Netflix serials Narcos and El marginal. These widely consumed works about Latin America—equally balanced between narratives produced in the United States and in the region itself—are laden with fear, anxiety, and shame, which has an impact that exceeds the experience of reception. The negative feelings encoded in visions of Latin America become common coinage for US audiences, shaping their ideological relationship with the region and performing an affective interpellation. By analyzing the underlying melodramatic structures of these works that would portray Latin America as an implicit other, Bush examines a process of affective comprehension that foments an us/them, or north/south binary in the reception of Latin America’s globalized art.
Leo Steinberg’s classic Other Criteria comprises eighteen essays on topics ranging from “Contemporary Art and the Plight of Its Public” and the “flatbed picture plane” to reflections on Picasso, Rauschenberg, Rodin, de Kooning, Pollock, Guston, and Jasper Johns. The latter, which Francine du Plessix Gray called “a tour de force of critical method,” is widely regarded as the most eye-opening analysis of the Johns’s work ever written. This edition includes a new preface and a handful of additional illustrations.
“The art book of the year, if not of the decade and possibly of the century. . . .The significance of this volume lies not so much in the quality of its insights—although the quality is very high and the insights are important—as in the richness, precision, and elegance of its style. . . . A meeting with the mind of Leo Steinberg is one of the most enlightening experiences that contemporary criticism affords.”
—Alfred Frankenstein, Art News
“Not only one of the most lucid and independent minds among art critics, but a profound one.”—Robert Motherwell
The Other End of the Needle demonstrates that tattooing is more complex than simply the tattoos that people wear. Using qualitative data and an accessible writing style, sociologist Dave Lane explains the complexity of tattoo work as a type of social activity. His central argument is that tattooing is a social world, where people must be socialized, manage a system of stratification, create spaces conducive for labor, develop sets of beliefs and values, struggle to retain control over their tools, and contend with changes that in turn affect their labor. Earlier research has examined tattoos and their meanings.
Yet, Lane notes, prior research has focused almost exclusively on the tattoos—the outcome of an intricate social process—and have ignored the significance of tattoo workers themselves. "Tattooists," as Lane dubs them, make decisions, but they work within a social world that constrains and shapes the outcome of their labor—the tattoo. The goal of this book is to help readers understand the world of tattoo work as an intricate and nuanced form of work. Lane ultimately asks new questions about the social processes occurring prior to the tattoo’s existence.
For more than two decades, the artist Renée Green has created an impressive body of work in which language is an essential element. Green is also a prolific writer and a major voice in the international art world. Other Planes of There gathers for the first time a substantial collection of the work she wrote between 1981 and 2010. The selected essays initially appeared in publications in different countries and languages, making their availability in this volume a boon to those wanting to follow Green's artistic and intellectual trajectory.
Charting this cosmopolitan artist’s thinking through the decades, Other Planes of There brings essays, film scripts, reviews, and polemics together with reflections on Green's own artistic practice and seminal artworks. It immerses the reader in three decades of contemporary art showcasing the art and thought, the incisive critiques and prescient observations of one of our foremost artists and intellectuals. Sound, cinema, literature, time-based media, and the relationship between art forms and other forms of knowledge are just a few of the matters that Green takes up and thinks through. Sixty-four pages of color plates were selected by the artist for this lavishly illustrated volume.
Bill Brown University of Chicago Press, 2015 Library of Congress BD220.B76 2015 | Dewey Decimal 814.6
From the pencil to the puppet to the drone—the humanities and the social sciences continue to ride a wave of interest in material culture and the world of things. How should we understand the force and figure of that wave as it shapes different disciplines? Other Things explores this question by considering a wide assortment of objects—from beach glass to cell phones, sneakers to skyscrapers—that have fascinated a range of writers and artists, including Virginia Woolf, Man Ray, Spike Lee, and Don DeLillo.
The book ranges across the literary, visual, and plastic arts to depict the curious lives of things. Beginning with Achilles’s Shield, then tracking the object/thing distinction as it appears in the work of Martin Heidegger and Jacques Lacan, Bill Brown ultimately focuses on the thingness disclosed by specific literary and artistic works. Combining history and literature, criticism and theory, Other Things provides a new way of understanding the inanimate object world and the place of the human within it, encouraging us to think anew about what we mean by materiality itself.
The Other Transatlantic is attuned to the brief but historically significant moment in the postwar period between 1950 and 1970 when the trajectories of the Eastern European art scenes on the one hand, and their Latin American counterparts on the other, converged in a shared enthusiasm for kinetic and op art.
As the axis connecting the established power centers of Paris, London, and New York became increasingly dominated by monolithic trends including pop, minimalism, and conceptualism—another web of ideas was being spun linking the hubs of Warsaw, Budapest, Zagreb, Buenos Aires, Caracas, and Sao Paulo. These artistic practices were dedicated to what appeared to be an entirely different set of aesthetic concerns: philosophies of art and culture dominated by notions of progress and science, the machine and engineering, construction and perception. This book presents a highly illustrated introduction to this significant transnational phenomenon in the visual arts.
Jiang Jiehong seeks to understand the Covid-19 pandemic through interviews with leading figures of the Chinese art world during the summer of 2020.
In late 2019, as a deadly pandemic began to take hold, China’s Wuhan province was the first to feel the effects. As the virus spread, the streets and squares of the world emptied, and the structures of our social world were redefined.
In response to the pandemic, Jiang Jiehong convened in-conversation talks with twelve figures—such as Chen Danqing, Pi Li, Xiang Biao, and Zhang Peili, among others—from different disciplines in the Chinese-speaking world, including anthropology, architecture, art, curation, fashion, film, literature, media, museum, music, and photography. Presented here, the conversations foster new understandings of the ongoing crisis. The discussions explore the threat of the invisible; notions of distance and spatialization, separation and isolation, communication and mobility, discipline and surveillance, and community and collectiveness; and China’s changing relationship with the rest of the world. These illuminating reflections on the global crisis allow us to re-examine past norms and begin to form visions of a post-Covid world.
The zany, the cute, and the interesting saturate postmodern culture. They dominate the look of its art and commodities as well as our discourse about the ambivalent feelings these objects often inspire. In this radiant study, Sianne Ngai offers a theory of the aesthetic categories that most people use to process the hypercommodified, mass-mediated, performance-driven world of late capitalism, treating them with the same seriousness philosophers have reserved for analysis of the beautiful and the sublime.
Ngai explores how each of these aesthetic categories expresses conflicting feelings that connect to the ways in which postmodern subjects work, exchange, and consume. As a style of performing that takes the form of affective labor, the zany is bound up with production and engages our playfulness and our sense of desperation. The interesting is tied to the circulation of discourse and inspires interest but also boredom. The cute's involvement with consumption brings out feelings of tenderness and aggression simultaneously. At the deepest level, Ngai argues, these equivocal categories are about our complex relationship to performing, information, and commodities.
Through readings of Adorno, Schlegel, and Nietzsche alongside cultural artifacts ranging from Bob Perelman's poetry to Ed Ruscha's photography books to the situation comedy of Lucille Ball, Ngai shows how these everyday aesthetic categories also provide traction to classic problems in aesthetic theory. The zany, cute, and interesting are not postmodernity's only meaningful aesthetic categories, Ngai argues, but the ones best suited for grasping the radical transformation of aesthetic experience and discourse under its conditions.
Months before Alma López's digital collage Our Lady was shown at the Museum of International Folk Art in 2001, the museum began receiving angry phone calls from community activists and Catholic leaders who demanded that the image not be displayed. Protest rallies, prayer vigils, and death threats ensued, but the provocative image of la Virgen de Guadalupe (hands on hips, clad only in roses, and exalted by a bare-breasted butterfly angel) remained on exhibition.
Highlighting many of the pivotal questions that have haunted the art world since the NEA debacle of 1988, the contributors to Our Lady of Controversy present diverse perspectives, ranging from definitions of art to the artist's intention, feminism, queer theory, colonialism, and Chicano nationalism. Contributors include the exhibition curator, Tey Marianna Nunn; award-winning novelist and Chicana historian Emma Pérez; and Deena González (recognized as one of the fifty most important living women historians in America).
Accompanied by a bonus DVD of Alma López's I Love Lupe video that looks at the Chicana artistic tradition of reimagining la Virgen de Guadalupe, featuring a historic conversation between Yolanda López, Ester Hernández, and Alma López, Our Lady of Controversy promises to ignite important new dialogues.
Our Lady of Victorian Feminism is about three nineteenth-century women, Protestants by background and feminists by conviction, who are curiously and crucially linked by their extensive use of the Madonna in arguments designed to empower women.
In the field of Victorian studies, few scholars have looked beyond the customary identification of the Christian Madonna with the Victorian feminine ideal—the domestic Madonna or the Angel in the House. Kimberly VanEsveld Adams shows, however, that these three Victorian writers made extensive use of the Madonna in feminist arguments. They were able to see this figure in new ways, freely appropriating the images of independent, powerful, and wise Virgin Mothers.
In addition to contributions in the fields of literary criticism, art history, and religious studies, Our Lady of Victorian Feminism places a needed emphasis on the connections between the intellectuals and the activists of the nineteenth-century women's movement. It also draws attention to an often neglected strain of feminist thought, essentialist feminism, which proclaimed sexual equality as well as difference, enabling the three writers to make one of their most radical arguments, that women and men are made in the image of the Virgin Mother and the Son, the two faces of the divine.
Explores the intrinsic relation of life to air, and breathing, through contemporary art
In Out of Breath, Caterina Albano examines the cultural significance of breath and air to a wide array of forces in our midst, including economy, politics, infection, and ecological violence. Through a consideration of recent art practices and projects, including the dance project Breath Catalogue, which makes visible the breathing patterns of dancers, and Forensic Architecture’s Cloud Studies video, which investigates eight different kinds of clouds from airstrikes to herbicides to tear gas, Albano focuses on breath as both an intuitive process and a conveyer of meanings.
Conceived in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and systemic inequalities that it has laid bare, Out of Breath shows the potential of artistic practices to mobilize affect as a form of cultural and political critique.
Forerunners is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital works. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.
Out of the Woods: A Bird Watcher’s Year is a journey through the seasons and a joyous celebration of growing old. In fifty-nine essays and poems, Ora E. Anderson, birder, bird carver, naturalist, and nature writer, reveals the insights and recollections of a keen-eyed observer of nature, both human and avian. The essays follow the rivers and creeks, the highways and little-known byways of Appalachia, and along the way we become nearly as familiar with its numerous bird, plant, and animal species as with the author himself.
These are not the memories of a single year, however, but of a long lifetime spent immersed in the natural world. Out of the Woods, presented with humor and passion, is an account of a well-lived, productive, and satisfying life. The essays offer an intimate portrait of a half century of Anderson's life on his beloved old farm (more nearly a nature preserve), where he lived in harmony with birds and nature and followed the rhythm of the seasons. We are invited to share the joys—and the disappointments and sorrows—inherent in such a life.
Generously illustrated with Julie Zickefoose’s detailed and evocative drawings, this book will delight bird watchers, artists, naturalists, backyard gardeners, and anyone who is ever tempted to take a rutted, overgrown path just to see where it leads.
In Out of Time, Todd McGowan takes as his starting point the emergence of a temporal aesthetic in cinema that arose in response to the digital era. Linking developments in cinema to current debates within philosophy, McGowan claims that films that change the viewer’s relation to time constitute a new cinematic mode: atemporal cinema.
In atemporal cinema, formal distortions of time introduce spectators to an alternative way of experiencing existence in time—or, more exactly, a way of experiencing existence out of time. McGowan draws on contemporary psychoanalysis, particularly Jacques Lacan, to argue that atemporal cinema unfolds according to the logic of the psychoanalytic notion of the drive rather than that of desire, which has conventionally been the guiding concept of psychoanalytic film studies.
Despite their thematic diversity, these films distort chronological time with a shared motivation: to reveal the logic of repetition. Like psychoanalysis, McGowan contends, the atemporal mode locates enjoyment in the embrace of repetition rather than in the search for the new and different.
Since the last century, the relationship between vanguard and self-taught artists has been defined by contradiction. The established art world has been quick to make clear distinctions between trained and untrained artists, yet at the same time it has been fascinated by outliers whom it draws selectively and intermittently into its orbits. For a new exhibition launching at the National Gallery of Art, curator Lynne Cooke explores shifting conceptualizations of the American outlier across the twentieth century, drawing on the inherent sociality of the exhibition in her installation of these works. This companion catalog, Outliers and American Vanguard Art, offers a fantastic opportunity to consider works by schooled and self-taught creators in relation to each other and defined by historical circumstance.
The art works in Outliers and American Vanguard Art come from three distinct periods when the intersections between mainstream and outlier artists were most dynamic and productive, ushering in exhibitions of art based on various degrees of co-existence, inclusion, and assimilation. Works by such diverse artists as Charles Sheeler, Christina Ramberg, and Matt Mullican are set in conversation with a range of works by such self-taught artists as Horace Pippin, Janet Sobel, and Henry Darger. Cooke also examines a recent increase of radically expressive work that challenges what it means to be an outlier today. She reveals how these distinctions have been freighted with a particularly American point of view as she investigates our assumptions about creativity, artistic practice, and the role of the artist in contemporary culture.
Outliers and American Vanguard Art is the most comprehensive show ever to examine outliers in dialogue with their established peers. It is sure to inspire vigorous conversation about how artists and the work they make are represented.
We are living in a golden age of cartoon art. Never before has graphic storytelling been so prominent or garnered such respect: critics and readers alike agree that contemporary cartoonists are creating some of the most innovative and exciting work in all the arts.
For nearly a decade Hillary L. Chute has been sitting down for extensive interviews with the leading figures in comics, and with Outside the Box she offers fans a chance to share her ringside seat. Chute’s in-depth discussions with twelve of the most prominent and accomplished artists and writers in comics today reveal a creative community that is richly interconnected yet fiercely independent, its members sharing many interests and approaches while working with wildly different styles and themes. Chute’s subjects run the gamut of contemporary comics practice, from underground pioneers like Art Spiegelman and Lynda Barry, to the analytic work of Scott McCloud, the journalism of Joe Sacco, and the extended narratives of Alison Bechdel, Charles Burns, and more. They reflect on their experience and innovations, the influence of peers and mentors, the reception of their art and the growth of critical attention, and the crucial place of print amid the encroachment of the digital age.
Beautifully illustrated in full-color, and featuring three never-before-published interviews—including the first published conversation between Art Spiegelman and Chris Ware—Outside the Box will be a landmark volume, a close-up account of the rise of graphic storytelling and a testament to its vibrant creativity.
The term outsider art has been used to describe work produced exterior to the mainstream of modern art by certain self-taught visionaries, spiritualists, eccentrics, recluses, psychiatric patients, criminals, and others beyond the perceived margins of society. Yet the idea of such a raw, untaught creativity remains a contentious and much-debated issue in the art world. Is this creative instinct a natural, innate phenomenon, requiring only the right circumstances—such as isolation or alienation—in order for it to be cultivated? Or is it an idealistic notion projected onto the art and artists by critics and buyers?
David Maclagan argues that behind the critical and commercial hype lies a cluster of assumptions about creative drives, the expression of inner worlds, originality, and artistic eccentricity. Although outsider art is often presented as a recent discovery, these ideas, Maclagan reveals, belong to a tradition that goes back to the Renaissance, when the modern image of the artist began to take shape. In Outsider Art, Maclagan challenges many of the current opinions about this increasingly popular field of art and explores what happens to outsider artists and their work when they are brought within the very world from which they have excluded themselves.
Though underexplored in contemporary scholarship, the Victorian attempts to turn aesthetics into a science remain one of the most fascinating aspects of that era. In The Outward Mind, Benjamin Morgan approaches this period of innovation as an important origin point for current attempts to understand art or beauty using the tools of the sciences. Moving chronologically from natural theology in the early nineteenth century to laboratory psychology in the early twentieth, Morgan draws on little-known archives of Victorian intellectuals such as William Morris, Walter Pater, John Ruskin, and others to argue that scientific studies of mind and emotion transformed the way writers and artists understood the experience of beauty and effectively redescribed aesthetic judgment as a biological adaptation. Looking beyond the Victorian period to humanistic critical theory today, he also shows how the historical relationship between science and aesthetics could be a vital resource for rethinking key concepts in contemporary literary and cultural criticism, such as materialism, empathy, practice, and form. At a moment when the tumultuous relationship between the sciences and the humanities is the subject of ongoing debate, Morgan argues for the importance of understanding the arts and sciences as incontrovertibly intertwined.
Overcoming All Obstacles: The Women of the Académie Julian is the first book to examine late nineteenth-century Paris's most famous training ground for the leading women artists of the period. The Académie Julian was founded in Paris in 1868, initially to prepare students for entry to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the nineteenth-century's preeminent art school. Because women could not study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts until 1897, Julian itself became an international equivalent for many of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century's most important women artists.
Not only does Overcoming All Obstacles introduce the reader to many works by women artists-both famous and lesser known-but the essays offer a cultural and historical context in which to appreciate their art. Gabriel Weisberg's essay concentrates on the rigorous training methods enforced by Rodolphe Julian and the teachers at the Academy. Jane Becker explores the competitive environment of the Julian Academy as it affected the Ukrainian painter Marie Bashkirtseff and the Swiss painter Louise-Catherine Breslau. Essays by Catherine Fehrer, the leading scholar of the Académie Julian, and Tamar Garb, an art historian who focuses on the training of women artists, give us a richer understanding of the Académie Julian's place in the sphere of art education in late nineteenth-century Paris.
Generously illustrated with both color and black-and-white images, this volume includes documentary photographs and caricatures that have never before been reproduced. The core of the book draws on the large collection of the Académie Julian Del Debbio, the Académie Julian's successor institution in Paris. This publication accompanied an exhibition organized by the Dahesh Museum in New York that opened after its exhibition at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. The exhibition subsequently continued to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis.
The epic Metamorphoses, Ovid’s most renowned work, has regained its stature among the masterpieces of great poets such as Vergil, Horace, and Tibullus. Yet its irreverent tone and bold defiance of generic boundaries set the Metamorphoses apart from its contemporaries. Ovid before Exile provides a compelling new reading of the epic, examining the text in light of circumstances surrounding the final years of Augustus’ reign, a time when a culture of poets and patrons was in sharp decline, discouraging and even endangering artistic freedom of expression.
Patricia J. Johnson demonstrates how the production of art—specifically poetry—changed dramatically during the reign of Augustus. By Ovid’s final decade in Rome, the atmosphere for artistic work had transformed, leading to a drop in poetic production of quality. Johnson shows how Ovid, in the episodes of artistic creation that anchor his Metamorphoses, responded to his audience and commented on artistic circumstances in Rome.
The Owls Are Not What They Seem is a selective history of modern and contemporary engagements with animals in the visual arts and how these explorations relate to the evolution of scientific knowledge regarding animals. Arnaud Gerspacher argues that artistic knowledge, with its experimental nature, ability to contain contradictions, and more capacious understanding of truth-claims, presents a valuable supplement to scientific knowledge when it comes to encountering and existing alongside nonhuman animals and life worlds.
Though critical of art works involving animals that are unreflective and exploitative, Gerspacher’s exploration of aesthetic practices by Allora & Calzadilla, Pierre Huyghe, Agnieszka Kurant, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Martin Roth, David Weber-Krebs, and others suggests that, alongside scientific practices, art has much to offer in revealing the otherworldly qualities of animals and forging ecopolitical solidarities with fellow earthlings.
For more than three centuries, Oxford has served as a source of inspiration for fine illustrated books and engraved prints. These works hold an important place in the historical record of the city, showing its identity to be deeply rooted in history while also chronicling Oxford’s development through the architecture of its most beautiful college and university buildings.
With Oxford in Prints, Peter Whitfield has assembled a rich selection of more than seventy illustrations and prints that offer a portrait of Oxford before it became the modern city it is today. Seventeenth-century prints by David Loggan show the medieval origins of Oxford University already overlaid by Tudor and Stuart buildings. Eighteenth-century editions of the Oxford Almanack depict a city dominated by neoclassical ideas. By the nineteenth-century, illustrations in the Almanack had an increasingly romantic feel, with buildings against a natural background of the river, trees, and sky. Each illustration or print is accompanied by an insightful description, including salient historical features.
Rebecca Stott Reaktion Books, 2004 Library of Congress QL430.7.O9S76 2004 | Dewey Decimal 594.4
As everybody knows, oysters are the ultimate aphrodisiac. Casanova is said to have eaten 50 raw oysters every morning with his mistress of the moment, in a bathtub designed for two. Whether oysters truly have exciting properties is open to debate, but like all seafoods, they contain high amounts of phosphorus and iodine, which are believed to be conducive to stamina. Author and food expert M.F.K. Fisher wrote: "There are many reasons why an oyster is supposed to have this desirable quality . . . Most of them are physiological, and have to do with an oyster’s odour, its consistency, and probably its strangeness."
As well as an aphrodisiac, the oyster has since the earliest times been an inspiration to philosophers, artists, poets, chefs, gourmets, epicures and jewellers. It has been pursued by poachers and thieves, and defended by oyster-police and parliaments.
In Oyster, literary historian and radio broadcaster Rebecca Stott tells the extraordinary story of the oyster and its pearl, revealing how this curious creature has been used and depicted in human culture and what it has variously meant to those who have either loved or loathed it: the Romans carried much-sought-after British oysters across the Alps on the backs of donkeys to be eaten as delicacies at banquets in Rome, whilst by contrast Woody Allen once famously said "I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead – not sick, not wounded – dead."
Using many unusual images and anecdotes, Oyster will appeal to oyster lovers and haters everywhere, and for those too who have an interest in the way animals such as the oyster have woven themselves into the fabric of our culture.
Oyvind Fahltstrom: The Art of Writing serves as both an informative and entertaining introduction to the Brazilian-born Swedish poet-artist, one of the mid-twentieth century's most intriguing cultural figures, and as a valuable critical analysis of some of his most important works.
Fahlstrom (1928-76) created a body of work as profoundly political as it is aesthetic, spanning two tumultuous decades in the avant-garde and comprising concrete poetry, manifestos, plays, performance, filmmaking, paintings, multiple prints, sculpture, and installations. Bessa focuses on how Fahlstrom's early experiments with concrete poetry influenced his later works in the visual arts and offers close readings of his seminal work Bord, his painting series Ade-Ledic-Nander, his interactive painting The Planetarium, and his radio play Birds in Sweden.