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.
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.
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.
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.
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.