Ya Te Veo: Poems
P. Scott Cunningham University of Arkansas Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3603.U66955A6 2018 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Finalist, 2018 Miller Williams Poetry Prize
Ya Te Veo takes as its title the name of a mythical tree that eats people. Like the branches of that tree, the poems in this book seem to capture and nourish themselves on a diverse cast of would-be passers-by, drawing their life-force from the resulting synthesis of characters. Among the seized are poets and painters alongside musicians from Garth Brooks to Wu-Tang Clan to the composer Morton Feldman, whose mysterious personality serves as a backdrop in many poems for meditations on intimacy, ethics, and anxiety.
As the phrase “ya te veo” (“I see you”) implies, this is a book interested in revealing what we think is hidden, in questioning the gap inside all of us, a gap between what we feel and what we say and do, making space for our many contradictions.
Like the works of Feldman, these poems focus and recede, experimenting with form in order to accomplish a state of deep concentration. They impersonate sonnets, ghazals, terza rima, monologues, translations, and freestyles, but inexactly, embracing failed imitation as an opportunity to remix the familiar.
Relatively few people in America build their own homes, but many yearn to make the places they live in more truly their own. Yard Art and Handmade Places profiles twenty homemakers who have used their yards and gardens to express their sense of individuality, to maintain connections to family and heritage, or even to create sacred spaces for personal and community refreshment and healing. Jill Nokes, an authority on native plants and ecological restoration, traveled across the state of Texas, seeking out residents who had transformed their yards and gardens into oases of art and exuberant personal expression. In this book, she presents their stories, told in their own words, about why they created these handmade places and what their yard art has come to mean to them and to their communities.
Rather than viewing yard art as a curiosity or oddity, Nokes treats it as an integral part of home-making, revealing how these places become invested with deep personal or social meaning. Yard Art and Handmade Places celebrates the fact that, despite the proliferation of look-alike suburbs, places still exist where people with ordinary means and skills are shaping space with their own hands to create a personal expression that can be enjoyed by all.
As archaeologists peel away the jungle covering that has both obscured and preserved the ancient Maya cities of Mexico and Central America, other scholars have only a limited time to study and understand the sites before the jungle, weather, and human encroachment efface them again, perhaps forever. This urgency underlies Yaxchilan: The Design of a Maya Ceremonial City, Carolyn Tate's comprehensive catalog and analysis of all the city's extant buildings and sculptures.
During a year of field work, Tate fully documented the appearance of the site as of 1987. For each sculpture and building, she records its discovery, present location, condition, measurements, and astronomical orientation and reconstructs its Long Counts and Julian dates from Calendar Rounds. Line drawings and photographs provide a visual document of the art and architecture of Yaxchilan.
More than mere documentation, however, the book explores the phenomenon of art within Maya society. Tate establishes a general framework of cultural practices, spiritual beliefs, and knowledge likely to have been shared by eighth-century Maya people. The process of making public art is considered in relation to other modes of aesthetic expression, such as oral tradition and ritual. This kind of analysis is new in Maya studies and offers fresh insight into the function of these magnificent cities and the powerful role public art and architecture play in establishing cultural norms, in education in a semiliterate society, and in developing the personal and community identities of individuals.
Several chapters cover the specifics of art and iconography at Yaxchilan as a basis for examining the creation of the city in the Late Classic period. Individual sculptures are attributed to the hands of single artists and workshops, thus aiding in dating several of the monuments. The significance of headdresses, backracks, and other costume elements seen on monuments is tied to specific rituals and fashions, and influence from other sites is traced. These analyses lead to a history of the design of the city under the reigns of Shield Jaguar (A.D. 681-741) and Bird Jaguar IV (A.D. 752-772).
In Tate's view, Yaxchilan and other Maya cities were designed as both a theater for ritual activities and a nexus of public art and social structures that were crucial in defining the self within Maya society.
As the devastation of German-occupied Belgium awakened Britain to the horrors of the Great War, a group of English cartoonists responded to these events with characteristic black humor. Among the most inventive responses was advertising artist John Hassall’s Ye Berlyn Tapestrie, an ambitious red-and-black panorama measuring thirty panels and more than fifteen feet and modeled after the famous Bayeux Tapestry, which recorded William the Conqueror’s invasion of England and the Battle of Hastings.
Ye Berlyn Tapestrie adapts the format of the Bayeux Tapestry to depict Kaiser Wilhelm II’s invasion of Luxembourg and Belgium. Hassall takes every opportunity to lampoon the German army, who are seen looting homes, marching shamefully through the streets behind women and children, drinking copious amounts of wine, and producing gas from sauerkraut and Limburger cheese. With comic inventiveness, Hassall has appended to the borders of the original Bayeux Tapestry stereotypical objects which the British public would have associated their enemy, from schnitzel to sausages, pilsners, and wild boar.
A fascinating example of war-induced farce, Ye Berlyn Tapestrie became itself a source of inspiration for later works, including wildly popular parodies of World War II in the Daily Mail and New Yorker. More recently, award-winning cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco has adopted the format for his The Great War, which chronicles the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The Tapestrie is here presented in its entirety along with an introduction that sets out the historical conditions of its creation.
Yiddish Empire tells the story of how a group of itinerant Jewish performers became the interwar equivalent of a viral sensation, providing a missing chapter in the history of the modern stage. During World War I, a motley group of teenaged amateurs, impoverished war refugees, and out- of- work Russian actors banded together to revolutionize the Yiddish stage. Achieving a most unlikely success through their productions, the Vilna Troupe (1915– 36) would eventually go on to earn the attention of theatergoers around the world. Advancements in modern transportation allowed Yiddish theater artists to reach global audiences, traversing not only cities and districts but also countries and continents. The Vilna Troupe routinely performed in major venues that had never before allowed Jews, let alone Yiddish, upon their stages, and operated across a vast territory, a strategy that enabled them to attract unusually diverse audiences to the Yiddish stage and a precursor to the organizational structures and travel patterns that we see now in contemporary theater. Debra Caplan’s history of the Troupe is rigorously researched, employing primary and secondary sources in multiple languages, and is engagingly written.
The remarkable collection of the UK’s most prolific collector of postwar British studio pottery.
In the latter half of the twentieth century, “professional Yorkshireman” W. A. Ismay (1910–2001) amassed over 3,600 pieces by more than 500 potters. Surrounded by his family of pots, he lived in a tiny terraced house in Wakefield, Yorkshire, and left his collection and its associated archive to the city of York upon his death. This eclectic group of works contains objects created by many of the most significant potters working in the United Kingdom, including Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Bernard Leach, and Michael Cardew, as well as lesser-known makers.
With new academic research into this little-studied collection and archive, Yorkshire Tea Ceremony explores Ismay’s journey as a collector and offers fresh perspectives on a marginalized area of British Modernism. Tracing the collection’s journey from private to public ownership illuminates issues surrounding the acquisition and reveals the transformative effect it has had on both curatorial practice and the ambition of regional public institutions. The W. A. Ismay Collection offers a well-documented example of the valuable contribution collectors can make to the British studio ceramics movement.
Published to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the collection’s move from private to public ownership, this volume accompanies an exhibition at York Art Gallery’s Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA).
Part visual history, part memoir, You Can Crush the Flowers is a chronicle of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and its aftermath, as it manifested itself not only in the art on the streets of Cairo but also through the wider visual culture that emerged during the revolution. Marking the ten-year anniversary of the revolution, celebrated Egyptian-Lebanese artist Bahia Shehab tells the stories that inspired both her own artwork and the work of her fellow revolutionaries. Shehab narrates the events of the revolution as they unfolded, describing on one hand the tactics deployed by the regime to drive protesters from the street—from the use of tear gas and snipers to brute force, intimidation techniques, and virginity tests—and on the other hand the retaliation by the protesters online and on the street in marches, chants, street art, and memes. Throughout this powerful and moving account, which includes over one hundred images, Shehab responds to all these aspects of the revolution as both artist and activist. The result bears witness to the brutality of the regime and pays tribute to the protestors who bravely defied it.
Tiqqun’s Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl is a controversial work of anticapitalist philosophy that has attracted musicians, playwrights, feminist theorists, and men's-rights activists since its publication in 1999. More than twenty years after its publication the international reverberation of Young-Girls shows no signs of weakening.
Young-Girls in Echoland: #Theorizing Tiqqun is a guide to this ongoing postdigital conversation, engaging with artworks and textual criticism provoked by Tiqqun’s audacious, arguably misogynistic textual voice. Heather Warren-Crow and Andrea Jonsson show how Tiqqun’s polarizing figure has grown and matured but also stayed unapologetically girly in the works of artists and scholars discussed here. Rethinking the myth of Echo and Narcissus by performing a different kind of listening, they take us on a journey from VSCO girls to basic bitches to vampires.
With an ear for the sound of Tiqqun’s polemic and its ensemble of Anglophone and Francophone rejoinders, Young-Girls in Echoland offers a model for analyzing the call-and-response of pop philosophy and for hearing the affective rhythms of communicative capitalism.
Forerunners: Ideas First is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital publications. 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.
American artist Jean Lowe’s work revolves around the intersection of art history, popular culture, environmentalism, commerce, and politics. Your Place in the Multiverse: Jean Lowe is a survey of her work drawn from the past seventeen years featuring many of her most important installations. Lowe employs wit and satire to create work that is both entertaining and seductive as well as intellectually provocative. Lowe is an American pop/conceptual multimedia artist whose work carefully and humorously unpacks the ironies and challenges of our 21st century culture. This will be the first museum exhibition of Lowe’s work since 2000 and the first publication on her work to include scholarly essays by two art historians.
Dating from 2003-2020, the exhibition consists of fourteen separate installations: Empire Style, 2003; Dr’s Notes, 2004; Baby Grand, 2005; Love for Sale and Look 20 Years Younger, 2008-11; Discount Barn, 2008-2020; Bookshelf Prints, 2013; Last Call, 2013-20; Posters and Pallet, 2014; Last Call, 2017-21, Forgotten Corner, 2019; Garden Carpet, 2019; Art and About with Bill Mackelry, 2019-2020, Town Crier (Self-Portrait as Analog), 2020, and POW!, 2021. Lowe’s installations are primarily comprised of unpretentious media such as papier-mâché and paint, which are coupled with a sophisticated and literary use of language, and a loose painterly style. Room-sized and incorporating artist made furniture, rugs, and even pianos, these beautifully-staged installations are often overwhelming, playing both on sensory overload and the irony of abundance as presented daily in our consumer culture. Through her work Lowe references European art, especially German Baroque and French Empire style, for their exceptionally ornamental and theatrical style. By conflating the French Empire style with the stylistics of American consumer culture, and big box store marketing, Lowe offers up a striking, thoughtful and revealing comparison of cultural contexts.
POW! (2020) and Art and About with Bill Mackelry (2019-2020), shown for the first time in this exhibition, look at the imbalance of male to female power in the art-world. Art and About with Bill Mackelry is a video piece in which Lowe stars as a mock male interviewer named Bill Mackelry, who interviews the artist Jean Lowe on a visual arts talk show. The installation POW! will be filled with ersatz portraits of women as fierce, crazy hags by painters such as Picasso, Willem De Kooning, and Frances Bacon painted directly on the wall.
Your Place in the Multiverse: Jean Lowe is organized by Executive Director and Chief Curator Katie Lee-Koven for the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art. This fully illustrated accompanying publication, of the same title, will be the first to include art historical essays with in-depth analysis of Lowe’s work written by USU Art History Assistant Professor Marissa Vigneault and John C. Welchman, professor of Art History and Critical Studies at the University of California, San Diego.