Over fifty years have passed since Abstract Expressionism burst onto the New York City art scene, quickly attaining singular prominence as the first school in American painting to declare its independence from European styles. New assessments of its impact and importance continue to emerge. Yet, while much has been written about the movement’s broad range of stylistic diversity, its sociological and psychological dimensions, and its cultural significance in the United States, little attention has been paid to the interaction of its artists on the international scene. Abstract Expressionism: The International Context fills this gap by providing an in-depth exploration of this truly global art movement.
Bringing together fifteen original and path-breaking essays by world-class authorities on Abstract Expressionism as well as by younger scholars, this anthology looks beyond the canonical painters to explore the broader connections among abstract artists of the post–World War II era. Moving from the margins to the center, the essays recognize the contributions of artists working far beyond New York City. Topics include Jackson Pollock’s contact with Mexican muralists and the legacy of Abstract Expressionism for leftist artists in Latin America, the relevance of Jean-Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett as sources of philosophical thought, the significance of northern European CoBrA painters such as Asger Jorn, the impact of Japanese Gutai artists, and connections with the revolutionary art of Italy, Belgium, and France. Abstract Expressionism is also described as a model for contemporaneous developments in the former Soviet Union.
As the first book to consider the movement in relation to post–World War II abstraction on four continents, this book brings a fresh perspective to this widely studied school of painting. Scholars and students alike will find this anthology essential reading in creating a more complete and nuanced understanding of Abstract Expressionism.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than half of the world's population will have a depressive disorder at some point in their lifetimes. In The Aesthetics of Disengagement Christine Ross shows how contemporary art is a powerful yet largely unacknowledged player in the articulation of depression in Western culture, both adopting and challenging scientific definitions of the condition. Ross explores the ways in which contemporary art performs the detached aesthetics of depression, exposing the viewer's loss of connection and ultimately redefining the function of the image. Ross examines the works of Ugo Rondinone, Rosemarie Trockel, Ken Lum, John Pilson, Liza May Post, Vanessa Beecroft, and Douglas Gordon, articulating how their art conveys depression's subjectivity and addresses a depressed spectator whose memory and perceptual faculties are impaired. Drawing from the fields of psychoanalysis as well as psychiatry, Ross demonstrates the ways in which a body of art appropriates a symptomatic language of depression to enact disengagement - marked by withdrawl, radical protection of the self from the other, distancing signals, isolation, communication ruptures, and perceptual insufficiency. Most important, Ross reveals the ways in which art transforms disengagement into a visual strategy of disclosure, a means of reaching the viewer, and how in this way contemporary art puts forth a new understanding of depression.
In this landmark collection, world-renowned theorists, artists, critics, and curators explore new ways of conceiving the present and understanding art and culture in relation to it. They revisit from fresh perspectives key issues regarding modernity and postmodernity, including the relationship between art and broader social and political currents, as well as important questions about temporality and change. They also reflect on whether or not broad categories and terms such as modernity, postmodernity, globalization, and decolonization are still relevant or useful. Including twenty essays and seventy-seven images, Antinomies of Art and Culture is a wide-ranging yet incisive inquiry into how to understand, describe, and represent what it is to live in the contemporary moment.
In the volume’s introduction the theorist Terry Smith argues that predictions that postmodernity would emerge as a global successor to modernity have not materialized as anticipated. Smith suggests that the various situations of decolonized Africa, post-Soviet Europe, contemporary China, the conflicted Middle East, and an uncertain United States might be better characterized in terms of their “contemporaneity,” a concept which captures the frictions of the present while denying the inevitability of all currently competing universalisms. Essays range from Antonio Negri’s analysis of contemporaneity in light of the concept of multitude to Okwui Enwezor’s argument that the entire world is now in a postcolonial constellation, and from Rosalind Krauss’s defense of artistic modernism to Jonathan Hay’s characterization of contemporary developments in terms of doubled and even para-modernities. The volume’s centerpiece is a sequence of photographs from Zoe Leonard’s Analogue project. Depicting used clothing, both as it is bundled for shipment in Brooklyn and as it is displayed for sale on the streets of Uganda, the sequence is part of a striking visual record of new cultural forms and economies emerging as others are left behind.
Contributors: Monica Amor, Nancy Condee, Okwui Enwezor, Boris Groys, Jonathan Hay, Wu Hung, Geeta Kapur, Rosalind Krauss, Bruno Latour, Zoe Leonard, Lev Manovich, James Meyer, Gao Minglu, Helen Molesworth, Antonio Negri, Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie, Nikos Papastergiadis, Colin Richards, Suely Rolnik, Terry Smith, McKenzie Wark
Art and Contemporaneity
Edited by Frank Ruda and Jan Voelker Diaphanes, 2015 Library of Congress N6350.A62 2015 | Dewey Decimal 709.04001
Art is often said to be timeless, but specific works of art always take place within time and maintain a dynamic balance between their conditions of production and reception.
Art and Contemporaneity features contributions from leading scholars, including Alain Badiou and Alexander García Düttmann, who bring theories of aesthetic philosophy to bear on one of the most crucial questions about contemporary art: how do works of art come to exist within and in relation to time? A specific temporality of an artwork emerges from the material and political conditions of its production. But works of art also forge new relationships to time in their reception, which are continually superimposed upon layers of history. With a broad range of perspectives, Art and Contemporaneity offers a sustained reflection on the relationship between art and time, and it will appeal to those interested in both the theory and practice of contemporary art.
Much acclaimed and highly controversial, Michael Fried's art criticism defines the contours of late modernism in the visual arts. This volume contains twenty-seven pieces, including the influential introduction to the catalog for Three American Painters, the text of his book Morris Louis, and the renowned "Art and Objecthood." Originally published between 1962 and 1977, they continue to generate debate today. These are uncompromising, exciting, and impassioned writings, aware of their transformative power during a time of intense controversy about the nature of modernism and the aims and essence of advanced painting and sculpture.
Ranging from brief reviews to extended essays, and including major critiques of Jackson Pollock, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Frank Stella, and Anthony Caro, these writings establish a set of basic terms for understanding key issues in high modernism: the viability of Clement Greenberg’s account of the infralogic of modernism, the status of figuration after Pollock, the centrality of the problem of shape, the nature of pictorial and sculptural abstraction, and the relationship between work and beholder. In a number of essays Fried contrasts the modernist enterprise with minimalist or literalist art, and, taking a position that remains provocative to this day, he argues that minimalism is essentially a genre of theater, hence artistically self-defeating.
For this volume Fried has also provided an extensive introductory essay in which he discusses how he became an art critic, clarifies his intentions in his art criticism, and draws crucial distinctions between his art criticism and the art history he went on to write. The result is a book that is simply indispensable for anyone concerned with modernist painting and sculpture and the task of art criticism in our time.
In Art as Information Ecology, Jason A. Hoelscher offers not only an information theory of art but an aesthetic theory of information. Applying close readings of the information theories of Claude Shannon and Gilbert Simondon to 1960s American art, Hoelscher proposes that art is information in its aesthetic or indeterminate mode—information oriented less toward answers and resolvability than toward questions, irresolvability, and sustained difference. These irresolvable differences, Hoelscher demonstrates, fuel the richness of aesthetic experience by which viewers glean new information and insight from each encounter with an artwork. In this way, art constitutes information that remains in formation---a difference that makes a difference that keeps on differencing. Considering the works of Frank Stella, Robert Morris, Adrian Piper, the Drop City commune, Eva Hesse, and others, Hoelscher finds that art exists within an information ecology of complex feedback between artwork and artworld that is driven by the unfolding of difference. By charting how information in its aesthetic mode can exist beyond today's strictly quantifiable and monetizable forms, Hoelscher reconceives our understanding of how artworks work and how information operates.
"Art history after modernism" does not only mean that art looks different today; it also means that our discourse on art has taken a different direction, if it is safe to say it has taken a direction at all.
So begins Hans Belting's brilliant, iconoclastic reconsideration of art and art history at the end of the millennium, which builds upon his earlier and highly successful volume, The End of the History of Art?. "Known for his striking and original theories about the nature of art," according to the Economist, Belting here examines how art is made, viewed, and interpreted today. Arguing that contemporary art has burst out of the frame that art history had built for it, Belting calls for an entirely new approach to thinking and writing about art. He moves effortlessly between contemporary issues—the rise of global and minority art and its consequences for Western art history, installation and video art, and the troubled institution of the art museum—and questions central to art history's definition of itself, such as the distinction between high and low culture, art criticism versus art history, and the invention of modernism in art history. Forty-eight black and white images illustrate the text, perfectly reflecting the state of contemporary art.
With Art History after Modernism, Belting retains his place as one of the most original thinkers working in the visual arts today.
With Art in a Disrupted World, art historian Agata Pietrasik presents a study of artistic practices that emerged in Poland during and after World War II. Pietrasik highlights examples of artworks by a number of Polish-born artists that were created in concentration camps and ghettos, in exile, and during the years of social, political, and cultural disintegration immediately following the war. She draws attention to the ethics of artistic practice as a method of fighting to preserve one’s own humanity amid even the most dehumanizing circumstances. Breaking out of entrenched historical timelines and traditional forms of narration, this book brings together drawings, paintings, architectural designs, and exhibitions, as well as literary and theatrical works created in this time period, to tell the story of Polish life in wartime.
Employing an accessible, essayistic style, Pietrasik offers a new look at life in the ten years following the outbreak of World War II and features artists—including Marian Bogusz, Jadwiga Simon-Pietkiewicz, and Józef Szajna—whose work has not yet found substantial audiences in the English-speaking world. Her reading of the art and artists of this period strives to capture their autonomous artistic language and poses critical questions about the ability of traditional art history writing to properly accommodate artworks created in direct response to traumatic experiences.
Art has the power to affect our thinking, changing not only the way we view and interact with the world but also how we create it. In Art in Mind, Ernst van Alphen probes this idea of art as a commanding force with the capacity to shape our intellect and intervene in our lives. Rather than interpreting art as merely a reflection of our social experience or a product of history, van Alphen here argues that art is a historical agent, or a cultural creator, that propels thought and experience forward.
Examining a broad range of works, van Alphen—a renowned art historian and cultural theorist—demonstrates how art serves a socially constructive function by actually experimenting with the parameters of thought. Employing work from artists as diverse as Picasso, Watteau, Francis Bacon, Marlene Dumas, and Matthew Barney, he shows how art confronts its viewers with the "pain points" of cultural experience-genocide, sexuality, diaspora, and transcultural identity-and thereby transforms the ways in which human existence is conceived. Van Alphen analyzes how art visually "thinks" about these difficult cultural issues, tapping into an understudied interpretation of art as the realm where ideas and values are actively created, given form, and mobilized. In this way, van Alphen's book is a work of art in itself as it educates us in a new mode of thought that will forge equally new approaches and responses to the world.
In Art to Come Terry Smith—who is widely recognized as one of the world's leading historians and theorists of contemporary art—traces the emergence of contemporary art and further develops his concept of contemporaneity. Smith shows that embracing contemporaneity as both a historical concept and a condition of the globalized world allows us to grasp how contemporary art exists in a fluid space of increasing interdependencies, multiple contemporaneous modernities, and persistent inequalities. Throughout these essays, Smith offers systematic proposals for writing contemporary art's histories while assessing how curators, critics, philosophers, artists, and art historians are currently doing so. Among other topics, Smith examines the intersection of architecture with other visual arts, Chinese art since the Cultural Revolution, how philosophers are theorizing concepts associated with the contemporary, Australian Indigenous art, and the current state of art history. Art to Come will be essential reading for artists, art students, curators, gallery workers, historians, critics, and theorists.
Darkness has a history and a uniquely modern form. Distinct from night, shadows, and artificial light, “artificial darkness” has been overlooked—until now. In fact, controlled darkness was essential to the rise of photography and cinema, science and spectacle, and a century of advanced art and film. Artificial Darkness is the first book to historicize and theorize this phenomenon and map its applications across a range of media and art forms.
In exploring how artificial darkness shaped modern art, film, and media, Noam M. Elcott addresses seminal and obscure works alongside their sites of production—such as photography darkrooms, film studios, and laboratories—and their sites of reception, including theaters, cinemas, and exhibitions. He argues that artists, scientists, and entertainers like Étienne-Jules Marey, Richard Wagner, Georges Méliès, and Oskar Schlemmer revolutionized not only images but also everything surrounding them: the screen, the darkness, and the experience of bodies and space. At the heart of the book is “the black screen,” a technology of darkness that spawned today’s blue and green screens and has undergirded numerous advanced art and film practices to this day.
Turning familiar art and film narratives on their heads, Artificial Darkness is a revolutionary treatment of an elusive, yet fundamental, aspect of art and media history.
Sixty years ago, at the height of World War II, an extraordinary series of gatherings took place at Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts. During the summers of 1942–1944, leading Europeanï¬gures in the arts and sciences met at the college with their American counterparts for urgent conversations about the future of human civilization in a precarious world.
Two Sorbonne professors, the distinguished medievalist Gustave Cohen and the existentialist philosopher Jean Wahl, organized these "Pontigny" sessions, named after an abbey in Burgundy where similar symposia had been held in the decades before the war. Among the participants—many of whom were Jewish or had Jewish backgrounds—were the philosophers Hannah Arendt and Rachel Bespaloff, the poets Marianne Moore and Wallace Stevens, the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss and the linguist Roman Jakobson, and the painters Marc Chagall and Robert Motherwell.
In this collection of original essays, Stanley Cavell and Jacques Derrida lead an international group of scholars—including Jed Perl, Mary Ann Caws, Jeffrey Mehlman, and Elisabeth Young-Bruehl—in assessing the lasting impact and contemporary signiï¬cance of Pontigny-en- Amérique. Rachel Bespaloff, a tragicï¬gure who wrote a major work on the Iliad, is restored to her rightful place beside Arendt and Simone Weil. Anyone interested in the "intellectual resistance" of Francophone intellectuals and artists, and the inspiring support from such Americanï¬gures as Stevens and Moore, will want to read this pioneering work of scholarship and historical re-creation.
In Autonomy Nicholas Brown theorizes the historical and theoretical argument for art's autonomy from its acknowledged character as a commodity. Refusing the position that the distinction between art and the commodity has collapsed, Brown demonstrates how art can, in confronting its material determinations, suspend the logic of capital by demanding interpretive attention. He applies his readings of Marx, Hegel, Adorno, and Jameson to a range of literature, photography, music, television, and sculpture, from Cindy Sherman's photography and the novels of Ben Lerner and Jennifer Egan to The Wire and the music of the White Stripes. He demonstrates that through their attention and commitment to form, such artists turn aside the determination posed by the demand of the market, thereby defeating the foreclosure of meaning entailed in commodification. In so doing, he offers a new theory of art that prompts a rethinking of the relationship between art, critical theory, and capitalism.
Believing that artistic expression can and does play an important role in changing the way we perceive our relation to the world we live in, art critic John Grande takes an in-depth look at the work of some very unusual environmental artists in the United States, Canada, and -Europe.
Dealing with everything from materials to the politics of curatorship, from the permanence of art works to the artist's role as cultural critic, Balance Art and Nature takes theory into action as it critically examines the works of Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley, Armand Vaillancourt, Bill Reid, Carl Beam, Kevin Kelly, Ana Mendieta, James Carl, Patrick Dougherty, Keith Haring, and others. What emerges is a viable socio-environmental framework for evaluating contemporary art and insights into art's actual and potential roles.
"Grande's commentaries represent an important contribution to the theory of art."--Claude Levi-Strauss
"A call to reawaken creativity in this time of alienation."--Antony Gormley
"Encourages us to rethink what it means to be an artist in a time of global eco-crisis."--Suzi Gablik, The Re-enchantment of Art
"Makes unexpected connections giving new insights into contemporary art."--Public Art Review
"Grande's book contains a lot of ideas, all of which are thought-provoking."--Globe and Mail
"Details makes this book convincing."--Books In Canada
"Grande's ideas and style are fresh, sincere, intuitive, lively and compelling."--Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics
"Offers interesting parallels between different aspects of public art."--Espace Sculptur
Writer and art critic John Grande's reviews and feature -articles have been published in art magazines and catalogues internationally. He is author of Intertwining: Landscape, Technology, Issues, Artists (Black Rose Books), Nils-Udo: Art with Nature (Wienand Verlag), and Art Nature Dialogues (SUNY Press).
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Creation (Literary, artistic, etc.)
Art, Modern -- 20th century.