The wild innovations of the early twentieth-century avant-garde have been widely celebrated for their influence on the course of experimental drama but rarely examined closely and systematically. Through an exploration of the plays from Germany, France, and England, The Aesthetics of Disturbance discusses modernism and the avant-garde, the relationship of drama to art movements such as expressionism, dada, and surrealism, and the interactions of visual, literary, and performance art.
Beginning with a survey of the history and theory of avant- garde art, David Graver critically juxtaposes important competing interpretations of the avant-garde, establishes basic distinctions between forms of avant-garde art, compares the aesthetic interests of the avant- garde to those of modernism, and discusses the relationship between the avant-garde and drama. Then, through close readings of the works of five preeminent avant-garde playwrights and visual artists- Oskar Kokoschka, Gottfried Benn, Raymond Roussel, Roger Vitrac, and Wyndham Lewis- he examines the innovations in dramatic literature carried out by these visionaries and finally relates them to the innovations in theater articulated by Brecht and Artaud. Graver argues that anti-art principles, most noticeable in the confrontational tactics of dada performance, can also be found within literary dramatic texts, where they create an "aesthetics of disturbance" that destabilizes the integrity of the work without allowing it to self-destruct.
"A corrective to the oft-repeated, over-simple idea that anti-art consists of the same destructive gesture repeated in different forms. This is a useful book that fills a gap, both conceptually and in terms of the figures discussed." --Philip Auslander, Georgia Institute of Technology
"Original, important, well- done."--Anthony Kubiak, Harvard University
David Graver is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University.
“How almost true they sometimes almost ring!” Samuel Beckett’s character rues his words. “How wanting in inanity!” A person could almost understand them! Why taunt and flout us, as Beckett’s writing does? Why discourage us from seeing, as Mark Rothko’s paintings often can? Why immobilize and daze us, as Alain Resnais’s films sometimes will? Why, Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit ask, would three acknowledged masters of their media make work deliberately opaque and inhospitable to an audience? This book shows us how such crippling moves may signal a profoundly original—and profoundly anti-modernist—renunciation of art’s authority.
Our culture, while paying little attention to art, puts great faith in its edifying and enlightening value. Yet Beckett’s threadbare plays Company and Worstward Ho, so insistent on their poverty of meaning; Rothko’s nearly monochromatic paintings in the Houston Chapel; Resnais’s intensely self-contained, self-referential films Night and Fog and Muriel all seem to say, “I have little to show you, little to tell you, nothing to teach you.” Bersani and Dutoit consider these works as acts of resistance; by inhibiting our movement toward them, they purposely frustrate our faith in art as a way of appropriating and ultimately mastering reality.
As this book demonstrates, these artists train us in new modes of mobility, which differ from the moves of an appropriating consciousness. As a form of cultural resistance, a rejection of a view of reality—both objects and human subjects—as simply there for the taking, this training may even give birth to a new kind of political power, one paradoxically consistent with the renunciation of authority. In its movement among these three artists, Arts of Impoverishment traces a new form of movement within art.
From every quarter we hear of a new global culture, postcolonial, hybrid, announcing the death of nationalism, the arrival of cosmopolitanism. But under the drumbeat attending this trend, Timothy Brennan detects another, altogether different sound. Polemical, passionate, certain to provoke, his book exposes the drama being played out under the guise of globalism. A bracing critique of the critical self-indulgence that calls itself cosmopolitanism, it also takes note of the many countervailing forces acting against globalism in its facile, homogenizing sense.
The developments Brennan traces occur in many places--editorial pages, policy journals, corporate training manuals, and, primarily, in the arts. His subject takes him from George Orwell to Julia Kristeva, from Subcommandante Marcos to Julio Cortázar, from Ernst Bloch to contemporary apologists for transnational capitalism and "liberation management," from "third world" writing to the Nobel Prize, with little of critical theory or cultural studies left untouched in between. Brennan gives extended treatment to two exemplary figures: the Trinidadian writer C. L. R. James, whose work suggests an alternative approach to cultural studies; and the Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier, whose appreciation of Cuban popular music cuts through the usual distinctions between mass and elite culture.
A critical call to arms, At Home in the World summons intellectuals and scholars to reinvigorate critical cultural studies. In stripping the false and heedless from the new cosmopolitanism, Brennan revitalizes the idea.
As a young South African woman of about twenty, Saartjie Baartman, the so-called “Hottentot Venus,” was brought to London and placed on exhibit in 1810. Clad in the Victorian equivalent of a body stocking, and paraded through the streets and on stage in a cage she became a human spectacle in London and Paris. Baartman’s distinctive physique became the object of ridicule, curiosity, scientific inquiry, and desire until and after her premature death. The figure of Sarah Baartman was reduced to her sexual parts.
Black Venus 2010 traces Baartman’s memory in our collective histories, as well as her symbolic history in the construction and identity of black women as artists, performers, and icons. The wide-ranging essays, poems, and images in Black Venus 2010 represent some of the most compelling responses to Baartman. Each one grapples with the enduring legacy of this young African woman who forever remains a touchstone for black women.
Contributors include: Elizabeth Alexander, Holly Bass, Petrushka A Bazin, William Jelani Cobb, Lisa Gail Collins, Renée Cox, J. Yolande Daniels, Carole Boyce Davies, Leon de Wailly, Manthia Diawara, Diana Ferrus, Cheryl Finley, Nikky Finney, Kianga K. Ford, Terri Francis, Sander Gilman, Renée Green, Joy Gregory, Lyle Ashton Harris, Michael D. Harris, Linda Susan Jackson, Kellie Jones, Roshini Kempadoo, Simone Leigh, Zine Magubane, E. Ethelbert Miller, Robin Mitchell, Charmaine Nelson, Tracey Rose, Radcliffe Roye, Bernadette Searle, Lorna Simpson, Debra S. Singer, Penny Siopis, Hank Willis Thomas, Kara Walker, Michele Wallace, Carla Williams, Carrie Mae Weems, J. T. Zealy, and the editor.
Since the early nineteenth century, the bohemian has been the protagonist of the story the West has wanted to hear about its artists-a story of genius, glamour, and doom. The bohemian takes on many guises: the artist dying in poverty like Modigliani or an outrageous entertainer like Josephine Baker. Elizabeth Wilson's enjoyable book is a quest for the many shifting meanings that constitute the bohemian and bohemia.
She tells unforgettable stories of the artists, intellectuals, radicals, and hangers-on who populated the salons, bars, and cafs of Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, including Djuna Barnes, Juliette Greco, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Amiri Baraka, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock. Bohemians also follows the women who contributed to the myth, including the wives and mistresses, the muses, lesbians, and independent artists. Wilson explores the bohemians' eccentric use of dress, the role of sex and erotic love, the bohemian search for excess, and the intransigent politics of many.
As a new millennium begins, Wilson shows how notions of bohemianism remain at the core of heated cultural debates about the role of art and artists in an increasingly commodified and technological world.
Otto Karl Werckmeister University of Chicago Press, 1991 Library of Congress NX456.5.P66W4713 1991 | Dewey Decimal 700.9048
"Citadel" evokes a rich mixture of associations—from images of urban centers of commerce and culture to war and the need to defend what is fortified within. Preserving its layered meanings, O. K. Werckmeister plucks the word from its usual moorings and employs it as a compelling metaphor in a brilliant retrospective of contemporary Western culture.
Communities of Sense argues for a new understanding of the relation between politics and aesthetics in today’s globalized and image-saturated world. Established and emerging scholars of art and culture draw on Jacques Rancière’s theorization of democratic politics to suggest that aesthetics, traditionally defined as the “science of the sensible,” is not a depoliticized discourse or theory of art, but instead part of a historically specific organization of social roles and communality. Rather than formulating aesthetics as the Other to politics, the contributors show that aesthetics and politics are mutually implicated in the construction of communities of visibility and sensation through which political orders emerge.
The first of the collection’s three sections explicitly examines the links between aesthetics and social and political experience. Here a new essay by Rancière posits art as a key site where disagreement can be staged in order to produce new communities of sense. In the second section, contributors investigate how sense was constructed in the past by the European avant-garde and how it is mobilized in today’s global visual and political culture. Exploring the viability of various models of artistic and political critique in the context of globalization, the authors of the essays in the volume’s final section suggest a shift from identity politics and preconstituted collectivities toward processes of identification and disidentification. Topics discussed in the volume vary from digital architecture to a makeshift museum in a Paris suburb, and from romantic art theory in the wake of Hegel to the history of the group-subject in political art and performance since 1968. An interview with Étienne Balibar rounds out the collection.
Contributors. Emily Apter, Étienne Balibar, Carlos Basualdo, T. J. Demos, Rachel Haidu, Beth Hinderliter, David Joselit, William Kaizen, Ranjanna Khanna, Reinaldo Laddaga, Vered Maimon, Jaleh Mansoor, Reinhold Martin, Seth McCormick, Yates McKee, Alexander Potts, Jacques Rancière, Toni Ross
Are the humanities still relevant in the twenty-first century? In the context of pervasive economic liberalism and shrinking budgets, the importance of humanities research for society is increasingly put into question. This volume claims that the humanities do indeed matter by offering empirically grounded critical reflections on contemporary cultural practices, thereby opening up new ways of understanding social life and new directions in humanities scholarship. The contributors argue that the humanities can regain their relevance for society, pose new questions and provide fresh answers, while maintaining their core values: critical reflection, historical consciousness and analytical distance.
The Dada Painters and Poets offers the authentic answer to the question “What is Dada?” This incomparable collection of essays, manifestos, and illustrations was prepared by Robert Motherwell with the collaboration of some of the major Dada figures: Marcel Duchamp, Jean Arp, and Max Ernst among others. Here in their own words and art, the principals of the movement create a composite picture of Dada—its convictions, antics, and spirit.
First published in 1951, this treasure trove remains, as Jack D. Flam states in his foreword to the second edition, “the most comprehensive and important anthology of Dada writings in any language, and a fascinating and very readable book.” It contains every major text on the Dada movement, including retrospective studies, personal memoirs, and prime examples. The illustrations range from photos of participants, in characteristic Dadaist attitudes, to facsimiles of their productions.
John Robert Reed Ohio University Press, 1985 Library of Congress NX454.R44 1985 | Dewey Decimal 700.94
In Decadent Style, John Reed defines “decadent art” broadly enough to encompass literature, music, and the visual arts and precisely enough to examine individual works in detail. Reed focuses on the essential characteristics of this style and distinguishes it from non–esthetic categories of “decadent artists” and “decadent themes.”
Like the natural sciences and psychology, the arts in the late nineteenth century reflect an interest in the process of atomization. Literature and the other arts mirror this interest by developing, or rather elaborating, existing forms to the point of what appears to be dissolution. Instead of these forms dissolving, however, they require their audience’s participation and thus involve a new order. Reed argues that this process of reordering characterizes decadent style, which depends upon sensory provocation resolvable only through negation and is therefore bounded by philosophical and emotional assumptions of inevitable frustration.
Drawing upon the literature, music, and visual arts of England and Europe at the end of the nineteenth century, Reed provides a widely ranging and authoritative overview of decadent style, which relates such artists as Huysmans, Wilde, D’Annunzio, Moreau, Bresdin, Klimt, Klinger, Wagner, and Strauss. He related decadent style to Pre–Raphaelite and Naturalist preoccupation with detail and to aesthetic and Symbolist fascination with sensibility and idealism. Ultimately, Reed argues, decadent style is a late stage of Romanticism, overshadowed by Symbolism but anticipating, in its attempt to yoke incompatibilities and to engender a new cerebral form, some of the main traits of Modernism.
Barbed wire cuts across more than just property, war and politics. This most vicious tool of control has played a critical role in the modern experience, be it territorial expansion or the settlement of local and international conflicts. However, it has other histories: those constructed through image and text in the arts, media and popular culture. These representations – in painting, photography, poetry, personal memoirs, cartoons, novels, advertisements and film – have never before been critically examined. In this book, Alan Krell investigates the place barbed wire holds in the social imagination.
Invented in France in 1860, barbed wire was developed independently in the USA, where it was used to control livestock on the Great Plains, both to "keep out" and "keep in". Promoted as the Ideal Fence, barbed wire’s menacing qualities were soon made manifest. The epithet, "The Devil’s Rope", anticipated its transformation into a tool of war in the late 19th and early 20th century. Henceforth, it would become synonymous with repression. Barbed wire’s conflicting character makes it an appropriate symbol of modernity, and Krell shows how the use of this symbolism in contemporary art has given barbed wire meanings beyond the historical and political realms.
In the decades following World War II, France experienced both a period of affluence and a wave of political, artistic, and philosophical discontent that culminated in the countrywide protests of 1968. In Disordering the Establishment Lily Woodruff examines the development of artistic strategies of political resistance in France in this era. Drawing on interviews with artists, curators, and cultural figures of the time, Woodruff analyzes the formal and rhetorical methods that artists used to counter establishment ideology, appeal to direct political engagement, and grapple with French intellectuals' modeling of society. Artists and collectives such as Daniel Buren, André Cadere, the Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel, and the Collectif d’Art Sociologique shared an opposition to institutional hegemony by adapting their works to unconventional spaces and audiences, asserting artistic autonomy from art institutions, and embracing interdisciplinarity. In showing how these artists used art to question what art should be and where it should be seen, Woodruff demonstrates how artists challenged and redefined the art establishment and their historical moment.
A consideration of how contemporary art can offer a deeper understanding of selfhood.
With Each One Another, Rachel Haidu argues that contemporary art can teach us how to understand ourselves as selves—how we come to feel oneness, to sense our own interiority, and to shift between the roles that connect us to strangers, those close to us, and past and future generations. Haidu looks to intergenerational pairings of artists to consider how three aesthetic vehicles––shape in painting, characters in film and video, and roles in dance––allow us to grasp selfhood. Better understandings of our selves, she argues, complement our thinking about identity and subjecthood.
She shows how Philip Guston’s figurative works explore shapes’ descriptive capacities and their ability to investigate history, while Amy Sillman’s paintings allow us to rethink expressivity and oneness. Analyzing a 2004 video by James Coleman, Haidu explores how we enter characters through their interior monologues, and she also looks at how a 2011 film by Steve McQueen positions a protagonist’s refusal to speak as an argument for our right to silence. In addition, Haidu examines how Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s distribution of roles across dancers invites us to appreciate formal structures that separate us from one another while Yvonne Rainer’s choreography shows how such formal structures also bring us together. Through these examples, Each One Another reveals how artworks allow us to understand oneness, interiority, and how we become fluid agents in the world, and it invites us to examine—critically and forgivingly—our attachments to selfhood.
Esotericism, Art, and Imagination is a uniquely wide-ranging collection of articles by scholars in the field of Western esotericism, focusing on themes of poetry, drama, film, literature, and art. Included here are articles illuminating such diverse topics as the Gnostic fiction of Philip Pullman, alchemical images, the Tarot, surrealism, esoteric films, and much more. This collection reveals the richness and complexity of the intersections between esotericism, artistic creators, and their works. Authors include Joscelyn Godwin, Cathy Gutierrez, M. E. Warlick, Eric Wilson, and many others.
Reviews of this book: "This is the most exciting collection of feminist critical essays to date."
--Jane Marcus, Women's Review of Books
"[This work] represents a fine American tradition of feminist polemic, robust, scrupulous, and libertarian...[It] encompasses a richly varied range of topics, from unhinged heroines in 1940s movies--Bette Davis and Joan Crawford round the bend (a perceptive and original paper from Mary Ann Doane) to Degas' studies of the nude (a sensitive affirmation by Carol M. Armstrong), from Gertrude Stein's fatness to Meret Oppenheim's pose, with oil-blackened hands, for Man Ray's 1934 photograph...No single prescription emerges, except, as Suleiman writes, a shared desire to free Woman from restrictive definition, a common `dream' that the lines of difference will be `mixed up in new, energizing ways.' "
--Marina Warner, Literary Review
"One of the impressive features of the collection is the range of disciplines it displays which can (now) be brought to bear on the central question: how have women's bodies been read (and why?), and what is the gap between those readings and the way women read, and write, themselves? Psychiatry, anthropology, art history, literary criticism, theology, semiotics, film studies, translation, law, and philosophy are involved in the answers to the questions."
Marjorie Perloff's stunning book was one of the first to offer a serious and far-reaching examination of the momentous flourishing of Futurist aesthetics in the European art and literature of the early twentieth century. Offering penetrating considerations of the prose, visual art, poetry, and carefully crafted manifestos of Futurists from Russia to Italy, Perloff reveals the Moment's impulses and operations, tracing its echoes through the years to the work of "postmodern" figures like Roland Barthes. This updated edition, with its new preface, reexamines the Futurist Moment in the light of a new century, in which Futurist aesthetics seem to have steadily more to say to the present.
In Global Cities, scholars from an impressive array of disciplines critique the growing body of literature on the process broadly known as "globalization." This interdisciplinary focus enables the authors to explore the complex geographies of modern cities, and offer possible strategies for reclaiming a sense of place and community in these globalized urban settings. While examining major cities including New York, Tokyo, Berlin, Paris, and Hong Kong, contributors insist that the study of urban experiences must remain as attentive to the material effects as to the psychic and social consequences of globalization. Accordingly, essays explore the implications of global culture for architecture, cinema, and communication--but do so in a way that highlights the importance of the spaces between such metropolitan centers. These locations, the authors argue, serve as increasingly important "frontier zones," where a diverse set of actors converge and contend for power and presence. Such a perspective ultimately adds nuance and meaning to our understanding of the heterogeneous urban landscapes of these global cities. Linda Krause is an associate professor in the Department of Architecture at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Patrice Petro is professor of film studies and director of the Center for International Education at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. A volume in the New Directions in International Studies series, edited by Patrice Petro
In this acclaimed book, Torgovnick explores the obsessions,
fears, and longings that have produced Western views of the
primitive. Crossing an extraordinary range of fields
(anthropology, psychology, literature, art, and popular
culture), Gone Primitive will engage not just
specialists but anyone who has ever worn Native American
jewelry, thrilled to Indiana Jones, or considered buying an
"A superb book; and—in a way that goes beyond what
being good as a book usually implies—it is a kind of gift to
its own culture, a guide to the perplexed. It is lucid,
usually fair, laced with a certain feminist mockery and
animated by some surprising sympathies."—Arthur C. Danto, New York Times Book Review
"An impassioned exploration of the deep waters beneath Western primitivism. . . . Torgovnick's readings are deliberately, rewardingly provocative."—Scott L. Malcomson, Voice Literary Supplement
Recognizing distance as a central concern of the Enlightenment, this volume offers eight essays on distance in art and literature; on cultural transmission and exchange over distance; and on distance as a topic in science, a theme in literature, and a central issue in modern research methods. Through studies of landscape gardens, architecture, imaginary voyages, transcontinental philosophical exchange, and cosmological poetry, Hemispheres and Stratospheres unfurls the early history of a distance culture that influences our own era of global information exchange, long-haul flights, colossal skyscrapers, and space tourism.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Reviews of this book: "This is a wonderful book...lucid, cultivated, amiable...[His Other Half] is a model of the kind of flexible, interdisciplinary culture criticism that is desperately needed to bridge the gap between the general reader and the academic ghetto. Lesser, moving with graceful ease from literature and art to photography and cinema, is concerned with the image of woman as refracted through male imagination...Wendy Lesser has made an important contribution."
--Camille Paglia, Washington Post Book World
"Wendy Lesser bases her group of essays on the idea that certain male artists are in search of their own lost or hidden female selves, and that the success of their search can be measured by the way such rescued selves are freed by the artist and given independent life in his works of art...Ms. Lesser is excellent on the force of Dickens's sentimentality...Her discussion of Degas's nudes is very moving...[and] her discussion of Alfred Hitchcock is really magnificent."
--Anne Hollander, New York Times Book Review
"[A] stimulating collection of essays...His Other Half is an arresting work of criticism. Lesser writes with volatile wit, an eager, almost breezy confidence and a palpable pleasure in reading and looking and analyzing--and in the suppleness of her own cleverness. She ranges from Henry James to Alfred Hitchcock, with chapters on Cecil Beaton's photographs, Degas's pastels, Barbara Stanwyck as The Lady Eve and Stella Dallas, and shows the kind of zapping glee throughout that recalls the wisecracking heroines of screwball comedies."
--Marina Warner, Times Literary Supplement
"In this wise and generous book, Lesser enables her readers to go further than they might have expected, both in looking at the artists she has written about and in searching internally for their points of resonance."
"With its unprecedented depth and range, this massive new history of Surrealism from veteran French philosopher and art critic Durozoi will be the one-volume standard for years to come. . . . The book discusses expertly the main surrealist artists like Jean Arp, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró, but also treats with considerable understanding the surrealist writing by Louis Aragon, Paul Eluard, Robert Desnos, Julien Graçq and, of course, the so-called 'Pope of Surrealism,' André Breton. . . . This book should turn up in all serious collections on 20th century art."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
From Dada to the Automatists, and from Max Ernst to André Breton, Gérard Durozoi here provides the most comprehensive history of the Surrealist movement. Tracing the movement from its origins in the 1920s to its decline in the 1950s and 1960s, Durozoi tells the history of Surrealism through its activities, publications, and reviews, demonstrating its close ties to some of the most explosive political, as well as creative, debates of the twentieth century.
Drawing on a staggering amount of documentary and visual evidence—including 1,000 photos—Durozoi illuminates all the intellectual and artistic facets of the movement, from literature and philosophy to painting, photography, and film, thus making History of the Surrealist Movement its definitive encyclopedia.
The act of drawing a line or uttering a word is often seen as integral to the process of making art. This is especially obvious in music and the visual arts, but applies to literature, performance, and other arts as well. These collected essays, written by scholars from diverse fields, take a historical view of the richness of creation out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo) in order to draw out debates, sometimes implicit and sometimes formally stated, about the production and reproduction of cultural meaning in a period of great change and novelty, between the beginnings of the medieval intellectual tradition and the imprint of the Enlightenment. The authors pose the following questions: Do tradition and creativity conflict with one another, or are they complementary? What are the tensions between composition and live performance? What is the role of the audience in perceiving the object of art? Are such objects fixed or flexible? What about the status of the event? Is the event part of creation, in the sense that it disturbs the still waters of historical continuity? These and other questions build on the foundation of Roland Barthes' concept of Degree Zero, offering new insights into what it means to create.
In this sweeping revision of avant-garde history, John Cage takes his rightful place as Wordsworth's great and final heir. George Leonard traces a direct line back from Cage, Pop, and Conceptual Art through the Futurists to Whitman, Emerson, Ruskin, Carlyle, and Wordsworth, showing how the art of everyday objects, often thought an exclusively contemporary phenomenon, actually began as far back as 1800.
In recovering the links between such seemingly disparate figures, Leonard transforms our understanding of modern culture.
Selected by the American Library Association's journal, Choice, as "one of the Outstanding Academic Books of the Year"
"Leonard's book is a fine example of interdisciplinary studies. He shifts focus persuasively from art theory to literature to religious thought and biography, making his method seem the natural mode of inquiry into culture."—Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
In the spring of 1900, British archaeologist Arthur Evans began to excavate the palace of Knossos on Crete, bringing ancient Greek legends to life just as a new century dawned amid far-reaching questions about human history, art, and culture. With Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism, Cathy Gere relates the fascinating story of Evans’s excavation and its long-term effects on Western culture. After the World War I left the Enlightenment dream in tatters, the lost paradise that Evans offered in the concrete labyrinth—pacifist and matriarchal, pagan and cosmic—seemed to offer a new way forward for writers, artists, and thinkers such as Sigmund Freud, James Joyce, Giorgio de Chirico, Robert Graves, and Hilda Doolittle.
Assembling a brilliant, talented, and eccentric cast at a moment of tremendous intellectual vitality and wrenching change, Cathy Gere paints an unforgettable portrait of the age of concrete and the birth of modernism.
Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih, eds. Duke University Press, 2005 Library of Congress HM1271.M4555 2005 | Dewey Decimal 305
Minor Transnationalism moves beyond a binary model of minority cultural formations that often dominates contemporary cultural and postcolonial studies. Where that model presupposes that minorities necessarily and continuously engage with and against majority cultures in a vertical relationship of assimilation and opposition, this volume brings together case studies that reveal a much more varied terrain of minority interactions with both majority cultures and other minorities. The contributors recognize the persistence of colonial power relations and the power of global capital, attend to the inherent complexity of minor expressive cultures, and engage with multiple linguistic formations as they bring postcolonial minor cultural formations across national boundaries into productive comparison.
Based in a broad range of fields—including literature, history, African studies, Asian American studies, Asian studies, French and francophone studies, and Latin American studies—the contributors complicate ideas of minority cultural formations and challenge the notion that transnationalism is necessarily a homogenizing force. They cover topics as diverse as competing versions of Chinese womanhood; American rockabilly music in Japan; the trope of mestizaje in Chicano art and culture; dub poetry radio broadcasts in Jamaica; creole theater in Mauritius; and race relations in Salvador, Brazil. Together, they point toward a new theoretical vocabulary, one capacious enough to capture the almost infinitely complex experiences of minority groups and positions in a transnational world.
Contributors. Moradewun Adejunmobi, Ali Behdad, Michael Bourdaghs, Suzanne Gearhart, Susan Koshy, Françoise Lionnet, Seiji M. Lippit, Elizabeth Marchant, Kathleen McHugh, David Palumbo-Liu, Rafael Pérez-Torres, Jenny Sharpe, Shu-mei Shih , Tyler Stovall
This new collection updates, integrates, and contextualizes Richard Sheppard's essays on the historical avant-garde. Sheppard examines responses of modernist writers, artists, and philosophers to a changed sense of reality and human nature. With its combination of previously published and new essays and its perspective on the theoretical avant-garde-modernism debate in the U.S., the volume provides the specialist and the general reader insight into European scholarly discourse on this hotly debated subject.
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.
What precisely, W. J. T. Mitchell asks, are pictures (and theories of pictures) doing now, in the late twentieth century, when the power of the visual is said to be greater than ever before, and the "pictorial turn" supplants the "linguistic turn" in the study of culture? This book by one of America's leading theorists of visual representation offers a rich account of the interplay between the visible and the readable across culture, from literature to visual art to the mass media.
What does artistic resistance look like in the twenty-first century, when disruption and dissent have been co-opted and commodified in ways that reinforce dominant systems? In The Play in the System Anna Watkins Fisher locates the possibility for resistance in artists who embrace parasitism—tactics of complicity that effect subversion from within hegemonic structures. Fisher tracks the ways in which artists on the margins—from hacker collectives like Ubermorgen to feminist writers and performers like Chris Kraus—have willfully abandoned the radical scripts of opposition and refusal long identified with anticapitalism and feminism. Space for resistance is found instead in the mutually, if unevenly, exploitative relations between dominant hosts giving only as much as required to appear generous and parasitical actors taking only as much as they can get away with. The irreverent and often troubling works that result raise necessary and difficult questions about the conditions for resistance and critique under neoliberalism today.
The significant anarchist, black, and socialist world-movements that emerged in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth adapted discourses of sentiment and sensation and used the era's new forms of visual culture to move people to participate in projects of social, political, and economic transformation. Drawing attention to the vast archive of images and texts created by radicals prior to the 1930s, Shelley Streeby analyzes representations of violence and of abuses of state power in response to the Haymarket police riot, of the trial and execution of the Chicago anarchists, and of the mistreatment and imprisonment of Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magón and other members of the Partido Liberal Mexicano. She considers radicals' reactions to and depictions of U.S. imperialism, state violence against the Yaqui Indians in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the failure of the United States to enact laws against lynching, and the harsh repression of radicals that accelerated after the United States entered the First World War. By focusing on the adaptation and critique of sentiment, sensation, and visual culture by radical world-movements in the period between the Haymarket riots of 1886 and the deportation of Marcus Garvey in 1927, Streeby sheds new light on the ways that these movements reached across national boundaries, criticized state power, and envisioned alternative worlds.
Our era is defined by the model. From Victoria’s Secret and America’s Next Top Model to the snapshots we post on Facebook and Twitter, our culture is fixated on the pose, the state of existing simultaneously as artifice and the real thing.
In this bold view of contemporary culture, Wendy Steiner shows us the very meaning of the arts in the process of transformation. Her story begins at the turn of the last century, as the arts abandoned the representation of the world for a heady embrace of the abstract, the surreal, and the self-referential. Today though, this “separate sphere of the aesthetic” is indistinguishable from normal life. Media and images overwhelm us: we gingerly negotiate a real-virtual divide that we suspect no longer exists, craving contact with what J. M. Coetzee has called “the real real thing.” As the World Wide Web renders the lower-case world in ever-higher definition, the reality-based genres of memoir and documentary are displacing fiction, and novels and films are depicting the contemporary condition through model-protagonists who are half-human, half-image. Steiner shows the arts searching out a new ethical potential through this figure: by stressing the independent existence of the model, they welcome in the audience in all its unpredictability, redefining aesthetic experience as a real-world interaction with the promise of empathy, reciprocity, and egalitarian connection.
A masterly performance by a penetrating, inquisitive mind, The Real Real Thing is that rarest of books, one whose provocations and inspirations will inspire readers to take a new—and nuanced—look at the world around them.
"In this passionate, erudite, and far-ranging book, Kroeber renews for our multi-cultural age a fundamental argument: the stories we tell, hear, read, and see make a difference to the lives we read."--Jonathan Arac, University of Pittsburgh
In this highly readable and thoroughly original book, Karl Kroeber questions the assumptions about storytelling we have inherited from the exponents of modernism and postmodernism. These assumptions have led to overly formalistic and universalizing conceptions of narrative that mystify the social functions of storytelling. Even "politically correct" critics have Eurocentrically defined story as too "primitive" to be taken seriously as art. Kroeber reminds us that the fundamental value of storytelling lies in retelling, this paradoxical remaking anew that constitutes story's role as one of the essential modes of discourse. His work develops some recent anthropological and feminist criticism to delineate the participative function of audience in narrative performances.
In depicting how audiences contribute to storytelling transactions, Kroeber carries us into a surprising array of examples, ranging from a Mesopotamian sculpture to Derek Walcott's Omeros; startling juxtapositions, such as Cervantes to Vermeer; and innovative readings of familiar novels and paintings. Tom Wolfe's comparison of his Bonfire of the Vanities to Vanity Fair is critically analyzed, as are the differences between Thackeray's novel and Joyce's Ulysses and Flaubert's Madame Bovary. Other discussions focus on traditional Native American stories, Henry James's The Ambassadors, Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler, and narrative paintings of Giotto, Holman Hunt, and Roy Lichtenstein. Kroeber deploys the ideas of Ricoeur and Bakhtin to reassess dramatically the field of narrative theory, demonstrating why contemporary narratologists overrate plot and undervalue story's capacity to give meaning to the contingencies of real experience. Retelling/Rereading provides solid theoretical grounding for a new understanding of storytelling's strange role in twentieth-century art and of our need to develop a truly multicultural narrative criticism.
Socialist Realism without Shores
Thomas Lahusen and Evgeny Dobrenko, eds. Duke University Press, 1997 Library of Congress NX556.A1S6 1997 | Dewey Decimal 700.9470904
Socialist Realism without Shores offers an international perspective on the aesthetics of socialist realism—an aesthetic that, contrary to expectations, survived the death of its originators and the demise of its original domain. This expanded edition of a special issue of the South Atlantic Quarterly brings together scholars from various parts of the globe to discuss socialist realism as it appears across genres in art, architecture, film, and literature and across geographic divides—from the "center," Russia, to various points at the "periphery"—China, Germany, France, Poland, remote republics of the former USSR, and the United States. The contributors here argue that socialist realism has never been a monolithic art form. Essays demonstrate, among other things, that its literature could accommodate psychoanalytic criticism; that its art and architecture could affect the aesthetic dictates of Moscow that made "Soviet" art paradoxically heterogeneous; and that its aesthetics could accommodate both high art and crafted kitsch. Socialist Realism without Shores also addresses the critical discourse provoked by socialist realism—Stalinist aesthetics, "anthropological" readings; ideology critique and censorship; and the sublimely ironic approaches adapted from sots art, the Soviet version of postmodernism.
Contributors. Antoine Baudin, Svetlana Boym, Greg Castillo, Katerina Clark, Evgeny Dobrenko, Boris Groys, Hans Günther, Julia Hell, Leonid Heller, Mikhail Iampolski, Thomas Lahusen, Régine Robin, Yuri Slezkine, Lily Wiatrowski Phillips, Xudong Zhang, Sergei Zimovets
Beginning in Paris in the 1920s, women poets, essayists, painters, and artists in other media have actively collaborated in defining and refining surrealism's basic project—achieving a higher, open, and dynamic consciousness, from which no aspect of the real or the imaginary is rejected. Indeed, few artistic or social movements can boast as many women forebears, founders, and participants—perhaps only feminism itself. Yet outside the movement, women's contributions to surrealism have been largely ignored or simply unknown.
This anthology, the first of its kind in any language, displays the range and significance of women's contributions to surrealism. Letting surrealist women speak for themselves, Penelope Rosemont has assembled nearly three hundred texts by ninety-six women from twenty-eight countries. She opens the book with a succinct summary of surrealism's basic aims and principles, followed by a discussion of the place of gender in the movement's origins. She then organizes the book into historical periods ranging from the 1920s to the present, with introductions that describe trends in the movement during each period. Rosemont also prefaces each surrealist's work with a brief biographical statement.
In this major study of a flexible and multifaceted mode of expression, Linda Hutcheon looks at works of modern literature, visual art, music, film, theater, and architecture to arrive at a comprehensive assessment of what parody is and what it does.
Hutcheon identifies parody as one of the major forms of modern self-reflexivity, one that marks the intersection of invention and critique and offers an important mode of coming to terms with the texts and discourses of the past. Looking at works as diverse as Tom Stoppard's Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Brian de Palma's Dressed to Kill, Woody Allen's Zelig, Karlheinz Stockhausen's Hymnen, James Joyce's Ulysses, and Magritte's This Is Not a Pipe, Hutcheon discusses the remarkable range of intent in modern parody while distinguishing it from pastiche, burlesque, travesty, and satire. She shows how parody, through ironic playing with multiple conventions, combines creative expression with critical commentary. Its productive-creative approach to tradition results in a modern recoding that establishes difference at the heart of similarity.
In a new introduction, Hutcheon discusses why parody continues to fascinate her and why it is commonly viewed as suspect-–for being either too ideologically shifty or too much of a threat to the ownership of intellectual and creative property.
This comprehensive view of the Orpheus myth in modern art focuses on an extremely rich artistic symbol and cuts through all the clichés to explore truly significant problems of meaning. The author takes a new approach to the iconography of major modern artists by incorporating psychological and literary analysis, as well as biography.
The three parts of the book explore the ways in which artists have identified with different aspects of the often paradoxical Orpheus myth. The first deals with artists such as Paul Klee, Carl Milles, and Barbara Hepworth. In the second, Max Beckmann, Oskar Kokoschka, and Isamu Noguchi are discussed. Artists examined in the final part include Pablo Picasso, Jacques Lipchitz, Ethel Schwabacher, and Cy Twombly. The author documents her argument with more than sixty illustrations.
In Venus in Exile renowned cultural critic Wendy Steiner explores the twentieth century's troubled relationship with beauty. Disdained by avant-garde artists, feminists, and activists, beauty and its major symbols of art—the female subject and ornament—became modernist taboos. To this day it is hard to champion beauty in art without sounding aesthetically or politically retrograde. Steiner argues instead that the experience of beauty is a form of communication, a subject-object interchange in which finding someone or something beautiful is at the same time recognizing beauty in oneself. This idea has led artists and writers such as Marlene Dumas, Christopher Bram, and Cindy Sherman to focus on the long-ignored figure of the model, who function in art as both a subject and an object. Steiner concludes Venus in Exile on a decidedly optimistic note, demonstrating that beauty has created a new and intensely pleasurable direction for contemporary artistic practice.
The essays in Virgin Microbe foreground thematic issues and advance recent theoretical agendas, such as the study of identity construction and the relationship between the avant-garde and mass culture, rather than focusing on biographies of individual Dadaists or centers of Dada activity. The authors represent a wider spectrum of disciplines and a broader international perspective than other recent collections on Dada. Ambitious in terms of contemporary academic interests, Virgin Microbe draws on a rich spectrum of intellectual traditions and contexts, prioritizing Dada’s metaphysical enquiries and its complicated connection to modernity.
What is modern in modern drama? What defines it, unmistakably, as being of our time? This quality if the subject of John Peter's inquiry.
For Peter, Beckett's Waiting for Godot makes such a radical break with dramatic tradition that it prompts the question: Is this play the single most important event in the theater since Aeschylus? Or is it the fulfillment of forces at work long before Beckett wrote it? Peter shows how Beckett's work represents a change in the very subject matter of drama, a fundamental revision of concepts of character, plot, and meaning, which in turn requires a new way of responding to drama. Where plays have traditionally engaged audiences in critical and moral dialogue, theater like Beckett's, according to Peter, is closed to questioning; it presents a vision of the world which can only be accepted or rejected. As such, it not only signals a new form of drama, but also posits a fundamentally changed audience.
Peter views this change—essentially, a change of mind—in its wider context. The times and the thought that contribute to the modern imagination are represented here by novels, paintings, and music—works by Wagner, Kafka, Proust, Picasso, and Braque—as well as plays. Peter shows how the depiction of the world by these artists echoes—and is echoed by—the work of modern thinkers such as Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Freud.
Vladimir's Carrot will provoke and stimulate readers who find themselves either lost or perfectly at home in "modern" culture.
Benjamin’s famous “Work of Art” essay sets out his boldest thoughts—on media and on culture in general—in their most realized form, while retaining an edge that gets under the skin of everyone who reads it. In this essay the visual arts of the machine age morph into literature and theory and then back again to images, gestures, and thought.
This essay, however, is only the beginning of a vast collection of writings that the editors have assembled to demonstrate what was revolutionary about Benjamin’s explorations on media. Long before Marshall McLuhan, Benjamin saw that the way a bullet rips into its victim is exactly the way a movie or pop song lodges in the soul.
This book contains the second, and most daring, of the four versions of the “Work of Art” essay—the one that addresses the utopian developments of the modern media. The collection tracks Benjamin’s observations on the media as they are revealed in essays on the production and reception of art; on film, radio, and photography; and on the modern transformations of literature and painting. The volume contains some of Benjamin’s best-known work alongside fascinating, little-known essays—some appearing for the first time in English. In the context of his passionate engagement with questions of aesthetics, the scope of Benjamin’s media theory can be fully appreciated.