Steve Fagin is an artist whose videos incorporate, challenge, and cross over into the realm of literary and cultural studies. Talkin’ with Your Mouth Full includes not only scripts of Fagin’s works but critical responses to—and meditations on—a variety of his influential videos by a distinguished, if intriguingly disparate, group of artists and scholars. Combining elements of criticism with various modes of artistic expression, these responses take the form of reviews, letters, interviews, and in one case an imaginary TV programming schedule. Interspersed with—and sometimes literally interrupting—the video scripts, these contributions interact with one another on multiple levels and complement Fagin’s scripts. Historical, political, and theoretical issues dovetail, ricochet, and interplay in this book, revealing a multiplicity of voices, concerns, and cultural revelations. Unique in its structure and intellectual approach, Talkin’ with Your Mouth Full will appeal equally to those who have seen Fagin’s videos and those who have not. Students of art history and cultural critique, and anyone interested in the ongoing dialogue between artists and theorists, will find particular value in this book.
Contributors. Gregg Bordowitz, Constance DeJong, Leslie Dick, Steve Fagin, Barry Gifford, Victoria Gill, Bill Horrigan, Bertha Jottar, Ivone Margulies, Patricia Mellencamp, Margaret Morse, Constance Penley, Vicente L. Rafael, Mark Rappaport, Andrew Ross, Vivian Sobchack, Trinh T. Minh-ha, John Welchman, Peter Wollen
Thomas Hirschhorn, a leading installation artist whose work is owned and exhibited by modern art museums throughout Europe and the United States, is known for compelling, often site-specific and interactive environments tackling issues of critical theory, global politics, and consumerism. His work initially engages the viewer through sheer superabundance. Combining found images and texts, bound up in handcrafted constructions of cardboard, foil, and packing tape, the artworks reflect the intellectual scavenging and sensory overload that characterize our own attempts to grapple with the excess of information in daily life. Christina Braun, the first to compile and systematically analyze the extensive source material on this artist’s theoretical principles, sheds light on the complicated yet constitutive relations between Hirschhorn’s work and theory. Her study, now translated into English, makes a major contribution to the study of contemporary art.
Often featuring lighthouses, bridges, or quaint country homes, Thomas Kinkade’s soft-focus landscapes have permeated American visual culture during the past twenty years, appearing on everything from Bibles to bedsheets to credit cards. Kinkade sells his work through his shopping-mall galleries, QVC, the Internet, and Christian stores. He is quite possibly the most collected artist in the United States. While many art-world and academic critics have dismissed him as a passing fad or marketing phenomenon, the contributors to this collection do not. Instead, they explore his work and its impact on contemporary art as part of the broader history of American visual culture. They consider Kinkade’s imagery and career in relation to nineteenth-century Currier and Ives prints and Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ, the collectibles market and the fine-art market, the Thomas Kinkade Museum and Cultural Center, and “The Village at Hiddenbrooke,” a California housing development inspired by Kinkade’s paintings. The conceptual artist Jeffrey Vallance, the curator of the first major museum exhibition of Kinkade’s art and collectibles, recounts his experiences organizing that show. All of the contributors draw on art history, visual culture, and cultural studies as they seek to understand Kinkade’s significance for both art and audiences. Along the way, they delve into questions about beauty, class, kitsch, religion, and taste in contemporary art.
Contributors. Julia Alderson, Alexis L. Boylan , Anna Brzyski, Seth Feman, Monica Kjellman-Chapin, Micki McElya, Karal Ann Marling, David Morgan, Christopher Pearson, Andrea Wolk Rager, Jeffrey Vallance
Jacopo Tintoretto (1518–94) is an ambiguous figure in the history of art. His radically unorthodox paintings are not readily classifiable, and although he was a Venetian by birth, his standing as a member of the Venetian school is constantly contested. But he was also a formidable maverick, abandoning the humanist narratives and sensuous color palette typical of the great Venetian master, Titian, in favor of a renewed concentration on core Christian subjects painted in a rough and abbreviated chiaroscuro style.
This generously illustrated book offers an extensive analysis of Tintoretto’s greatest paintings, charting his life and work in the context of Venetian art and the culture of the Cinquecento. Tom Nichols shows that Tintoretto was an extraordinarily innovative artist who created a new manner of painting, which, for all of its originality and sophistication, was still able to appeal to the shared emotions of the widest possible audience. This compact, pocket edition features sixteen additional illustrations and a new afterword by the author, and it will continue to be one of the definitive treatments of this once grossly overlooked master.
Titian is best known for paintings that embodied the tradition of the Venetian Renaissance—but how Venetian was the artist himself? In this study, Tom Nichols probes the tensions between the individualism of Titian’s work and the conservative mores of the city, showing how his art undermined the traditional self-suppressing approach to painting in Venice and reflected his engagement with the individualistic cultures emerging in the courts of early modern Europe.
Ranging widely across Titian’s long career and varied works, Titian and the End of the Venetian Renaissance outlines his radical innovations to the traditional Venetian altarpiece; his transformation of portraits into artistic creations; and his meteoric breakout from the confines of artistic culture in Venice. Nichols explores how Titian challenged the city’s communal values with his competitive professional identity, contending that his intensely personalized way of painting resulted in a departure that effectively brought an end to the Renaissance tradition of painting. Packed with 170 illustrations, this groundbreaking book will change the way people look at Titian and Venetian art history.
Valerie P Cohen University of Nevada Press, 2017 Library of Congress NC139.C584A4 2017 | Dewey Decimal 741.6092
Tree Lines unites striking ink drawings of high-altitude pine trees with poetic vignettes about how people interact with mountain environments. The drawings and text work together to form a direct artistic encounter with timberline conifers. The husband and wife team of Valerie and Michael Cohen employ a unique process whereby she draws in isolation, gives him her drawings, and he then writes whatever he’s inspired to create. Neither offers the other any kind of feedback or instruction. The result is an accessible and deeply engaging work that is also extremely well researched; the Cohens bring a lifetime of scholarship in literature, history, and the environment to this work.
The drawings are black-and-white, pen-and-ink representations of high alpine ecosystems. The prose is stripped bare, abbreviated in an epigrammatic style that is poetic and spontaneous. Trees represented here are the Western Juniper or Sierra Juniper, the Limber, and the Bristlecone Pine—three species of long-lived, slow-growing conifers that grow across the Great Basin. While they represent only a small portion of the vegetative culture high in the western mountains, the Cohens use representation as abstraction as is utilized by writers and artists to convey a unique kind of microcosm of our natural environment. This book compares to such classics as Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, and Berger’s Ways of Seeing, which open up lines of observation, analysis, and art for a new generation of readers.
In 1979, Ed Stilley was leading a simple life as a farmer and singer of religious hymns in Hogscald Hollow, a tiny Ozark community south of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Life was filled with hard work and making do for Ed, his wife Eliza, and their five children, who lived in many ways as if the second half of the twentieth century had never happened.
But one day Ed’s life was permanently altered. While plowing his field, he became convinced he was having a heart attack. Ed stopped his work and lay down on the ground. Staring at the sky, he saw himself as a large tortoise struggling to swim across a river. On his back were five small tortoises—his children—clinging to him for survival. And then, as he lay there in the freshly plowed dirt, Ed received a vision from God, telling him that he would be restored to health if he would agree to do one thing: make musical instruments and give them to children.
And so he did. Beginning with a few simple hand tools, Ed worked tirelessly for twenty-five years to create over two hundred instruments, each a crazy quilt of heavy, rough-sawn wood scraps joined with found objects. A rusty door hinge, a steak bone, a stack of dimes, springs, saw blades, pot lids, metal pipes, glass bottles, aerosol cans—Ed used anything he could to build a working guitar, fiddle, or dulcimer. On each instrument Ed inscribed “True Faith, True Light, Have Faith in God.”
True Faith, True Light: The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley documents Ed Stilley’s life and work, giving us a glimpse into a singular life of austere devotion.