Scale is perhaps the most spectacularly overlooked aspect of artistic production. As photographic and digital reproductions have essentially dematerialized art, critical and historical research dealing with scale—both within the American critical tradition and abroad—has become scattered and insufficiently theorized. However, by posing a specific challenge, such research forces a heightened recognition of both the properties of materials and the deep technical knowledge of makers. A reconsideration of scalar relationships in American art and visual culture therefore reveals original insights.
Scale is the second volume in the Terra Foundation Essays series. With eighty color illustrations and a wealth of new research from Glenn Adamson, Wendy Bellion, Wouter Davidts, Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, Christopher P. Heuer, Joshua G. Stein, and Jason Weems, it explores viewers’ physical relationship to Barnett Newman’s abstract canvases, the arduous engineering behind the creation of Mount Rushmore, and the charged significance of liberty poles in the landscape of eighteenth-century New York, among other topics that range from studies of specific works of art to significant conceptual and theoretical concerns.