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Aesthetics of Discomfort
Conversations on Disquieting Art
Frederick Aldama and Herbert Lindenberger
University of Michigan Press, 2016
Through a series of provocative conversations, Frederick Luis Aldama and Herbert Lindenberger, who have written widely on literature, film, music, and art, locate a place for the discomforting and the often painfully unpleasant within aesthetics. The conversational format allows them to travel informally across many centuries and many art forms. They have much to tell one another about the arts since the advent of modernism soon after 1900—the nontonal music, for example, of the Second Vienna School, the chance-directed music and dance of John Cage and Merce Cunningham, the in-your-faceness of such diverse visual artists as Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Egon Schiele, Otto Dix, and Damien Hirst. They demonstrate as well a long tradition of discomforting art stretching back many centuries, for example, in the Last Judgments of innumerable Renaissance painters, in Goya’s so-called “black” paintings, in Wagner’s Tristan chord, and in the subtexts of Shakespearean works such as King Lear and Othello. This book is addressed at once to scholars of literature, art history, musicology, and cinema. Although its conversational format eschews the standard conventions of scholarly argument, it provides original insights both into particular art forms and into individual works within these forms. Among other matters, it demonstrates how recent work in neuroscience may provide insights in the ways that consumers process difficult and discomforting works of art. The book also contributes to current aesthetic theory by charting the dialogue that goes on—especially in aesthetically challenging works—between creator, artifact, and consumer.
 
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African American Arts
Activism, Aesthetics, and Futurity
weems, carrie mae
Bucknell University Press, 2020
Signaling such recent activist and aesthetic concepts in the work of Kara Walker, Childish Gambino, BLM, Janelle Monáe, and Kendrick Lamar, and marking the exit of the Obama Administration and the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, this anthology explores the role of African American arts in shaping the future, and further informing new directions we might take in honoring and protecting the success of African Americans in the U.S. The essays in African American Arts: Activism, Aesthetics, and Futurity engage readers in critical conversations by activists, scholars, and artists reflecting on national and transnational legacies of African American activism as an element of artistic practice, particularly as they concern artistic expression and race relations, and the intersections of creative processes with economic, sociological, and psychological inequalities. Scholars from the fields of communication, theater, queer studies, media studies, performance studies, dance, visual arts, and fashion design, to name a few, collectively ask: What are the connections between African American arts, the work of social justice, and creative processes? If we conceive the arts as critical to the legacy of Black activism in the United States, how can we use that construct to inform our understanding of the complicated intersections of African American activism and aesthetics? How might we as scholars and creative thinkers further employ the arts to envision and shape a verdant society?

Contributors: Carrie Mae Weems, Carmen Gillespie, Rikki Byrd, Amber Lauren Johnson, Doria E. Charlson, Florencia V. Cornet, Daniel McNeil, Lucy Caplan, Genevieve Hyacinthe, Sammantha McCalla, Nettrice R. Gaskins, Abby Dobson, J. Michael Kinsey, Shondrika Moss-Bouldin, Julie B. Johnson, Sharrell D. Luckett, Jasmine Eileen Coles, Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Rickerby Hinds.

Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press. 
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African Luxury
Aesthetics and Politics
Edited by Mehita Iqani and Simidele Dosekun
Intellect Books, 2019
Moving far beyond predominant views of Africa as a place to be “saved,” and even more recent celebratory formulations of it as “rising,” African Luxury: Aesthetics and Politics highlights and critically interrogates the visual and material cultures of lavish and luxurious consumption already present on the continent. Methodologically, conceptually, and analytically, this collection dismantles taken-for-granted ideas that the West is the source and focus of high-end and hyper-desirable material cultures. It explores what the culture of consumption means in Africa in both historical and contemporary contexts, studying diverse luxury phenomena including fashion advertising, reality television, retail, gendered consumption, and gardening to re-center the discussion on existing contemporary luxury cultures across the continent.
 
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After Authority
Global Art Cinema and Political Transition
Kalling Heck
Rutgers University Press, 2020
After Authority explores the tendency in art cinema to respond to political transition by turning to ambiguity, a system that ideally stems the reemergence of authoritarian logics in art and elsewhere. By comparing films from Italy, Hungary, South Korea, and the United States, this book contends that the aesthetic tradition of ambiguity in art cinema can be traced to post-authoritarian conditions and that it is in the context of a transition away from authoritarianism where art cinema aesthetics become legible. Art cinema, then, can be seen as a mode of cinematic practice that is at its core political, as its constitutive ambiguity finds its roots in the rejection of centralized and hierarchical configurations of authority. Ultimately, After Authority proposes a history of art cinema predicated on the potentials, possibilities, and politics of ambiguity.
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Antinomies of Art and Culture
Modernity, Postmodernity, Contemporaneity
Terry Smith, Okwui Enwezor, and Nancy Condee, eds.
Duke University Press, 2008
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

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Art and Democracy in Post-Communist Europe
Piotr Piotrowski
Reaktion Books, 2012

When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, Eastern Europe saw a new era begin, and the widespread changes that followed extended into the world of art. Art and Democracy in Post-Communist Europe examines the art created in light of the profound political, social, economic, and cultural transformations that occurred in the former Eastern Bloc after the Cold War ended. Assessing the function of art in post-communist Europe, Piotr Piotrowski describes the changing nature of art as it went from being molded by the cultural imperatives of the communist state and a tool of political propaganda to autonomous work protesting against the ruling powers.

Piotrowski discusses communist memory, the critique of nationalism, issues of gender, and the representation of historic trauma in contemporary museology, particularly in the recent founding of contemporary art museums in Bucharest, Tallinn, and Warsaw. He reveals the anarchistic motifs that had a rich tradition in Eastern European art and the recent emergence of a utopian vision and provides close readings of many artists—including Ilya Kavakov and Krzysztof Wodiczko—as well as Marina Abramovic’s work that responded to the atrocities of the Balkans. A cogent investigation of the artistic reorientation of Eastern Europe, this book fills a major gap in contemporary artistic and political discourse.
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Art and Freedom of Speech
Randall P. Bezanson
University of Illinois Press, 2009

This book analyzes the broad range of Supreme Court cases that concern the protection of art and free speech under the First Amendment. Finding that debates about free expression (whether in speech or art) swirl around sex and cultural blasphemy, Randall P. Bezanson tracks and interprets the Court's decisions on film, nude dancing, music, painting, and other visual expressions.

Showing how the Court has dealt with judgments of art, quality, meaning, and how to distinguish types of speech and expression, Bezanson explores issues as diverse as homosexuality in the Boy Scouts, gay and lesbian parade floats, 2 Live Crew's alleged copyright infringement, National Endowment for the Arts grants and diversity, dangerous art, and screenings of the film Carnal Knowledge. In considering the transformative meaning of art, the importance of community judgments, and the definition of speech in Court rulings, Bezanson focuses on the fundamental questions underlying the discussion of art as protected free speech: What are the boundaries of art? What are the limits on the government's role as supporter and "patron" of the arts? And what role, if any, may core social values of decency, respect, and equality play in limiting the production or distribution of art?

Accessibly written and evocatively argued, Art and Freedom of Speech explores these questions and concludes with the argument that, for legal purposes, art should be absolutely free under the First Amendment--in fact, even more free than other forms of speech.

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Art and Politics
Between Purity and Propaganda
Joes Segal
Amsterdam University Press, 2016
In Art and Politics, Segal explores the collision of politics and art in seven enticing essays. The book explores the position of art and artists under a number of different political regimes of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, traveling around the world to consider how art and politics have interacted and influenced each other in different conditions. Joes Segal takes you on a journey to the Third Reich, where Emil Nolde supported the regime while being called degenerate; shows us Diego Rivera creating Marxist murals in Mexico and the United States for anti-Marxist governments and clients; ties Jackson Pollock's drip paintings in their Cold War context to both the FBI and the CIA; and considers the countless images of Mao Zedong in China as unlikely witnesses of radical political change.
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Art and Postcapitalism
Aesthetic Labour, Automation and Value Production
Dave Beech
Pluto Press, 2019
Artistic labour was exemplary for Utopian Socialist theories of 'attractive labour', and Marxist theories of 'nonalienated labour', but the rise of the anti-work movement and current theories of 'fully automated luxury communism' have seen art topple from its privileged place within the left's political imaginary as the artist has been reconceived as a prototype of the precarious 24/7 worker. Art and Postcapitalism argues that art remains essential for thinking about the intersection of labour, capitalism and postcapitalism not insofar as it merges work and pleasure but as an example of noncapitalist production. Reassessing the contemporary politics of work by revisiting debates about art, technology and in the nineteenth and twentieth century, Dave Beech challenges the aesthetics of labour in John Ruskin, William Morris and Oscar Wilde with a value theory of the supersession of capitalism that sheds light on the anti-work theory by Silvia Federici, Andre Gorz, Kathi Weeks and Maurizio Lazzarato, as well as the technological Cockayne of Srnicek and Williams and Paul Mason. Formulating a critique of contemporary postcapitalism, and developing a new understanding of art and labour within the political project of the supersession of value production, this book is essential for activists, scholars and anyone interested in the real and imagined escape routes from capitalism.
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Art and Postcapitalism
Aesthetic Labour, Automation and Value Production
Dave Beech
Pluto Press, 2019
Artistic labour was exemplary for Utopian Socialist theories of 'attractive labour', and Marxist theories of 'nonalienated labour', but the rise of the anti-work movement and current theories of 'fully automated luxury communism' have seen art topple from its privileged place within the left's political imaginary as the artist has been reconceived as a prototype of the precarious 24/7 worker. Art and Postcapitalism argues that art remains essential for thinking about the intersection of labour, capitalism and postcapitalism not insofar as it merges work and pleasure but as an example of noncapitalist production. Reassessing the contemporary politics of work by revisiting debates about art, technology and in the nineteenth and twentieth century, Dave Beech challenges the aesthetics of labour in John Ruskin, William Morris and Oscar Wilde with a value theory of the supersession of capitalism that sheds light on the anti-work theory by Silvia Federici, Andre Gorz, Kathi Weeks and Maurizio Lazzarato, as well as the technological Cockayne of Srnicek and Williams and Paul Mason. Formulating a critique of contemporary postcapitalism, and developing a new understanding of art and labour within the political project of the supersession of value production, this book is essential for activists, scholars and anyone interested in the real and imagined escape routes from capitalism.
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The Art of Life in South Africa
Daniel Magaziner
Ohio University Press, 2016

From 1952 to 1981, South Africa’s apartheid government ran an art school for the training of African art teachers at Indaleni, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal. The Art of Life in South Africa is the story of the students, teachers, art, and politics that circulated through a small school, housed in a remote former mission station. It is the story of a community that made its way through the travails of white supremacist South Africa and demonstrates how the art students and teachers made together became the art of their lives.

Daniel Magaziner radically reframes apartheid-era South African history. Against the dominant narrative of apartheid oppression and black resistance, as well as recent scholarship that explores violence, criminality, and the hopeless entanglements of the apartheid state, this book focuses instead on a small group’s efforts to fashion more fulfilling lives for its members and their community through the ironic medium of the apartheid-era school.

There is no book like this in South African historiography. Lushly illustrated and poetically written, it gives us fully formed lives that offer remarkable insights into the now clichéd experience of black life under segregation and apartheid.

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At the Corner of a Dream
A Journey of Resistance and Revolution: The Street Art of Bahia Shehab
Bahia Shehab
Gingko, 2019
Working with stylized typographic and calligraphic forms, Egyptian-Lebanese street artist Bahia Shehab brings creative presentations of language and culture to public spaces around the world. During the Egyptian revolution of 2011, she began taking to the streets to paint. Starting in Cairo, Shehab began creating large-scale public art as a form of resistance against military rule and violence. With her spray can in hand, this artist, designer, and historian set out to spread beautiful and empowering images in the face of tumultuous times. Now she has taken her peaceful resistance to the streets of the world, creating works in cities from New York to Tokyo, Amsterdam, and Honolulu. Engaging with identity and the preservation of cultural heritage, Shehab creates work that investigates Islamic art history and reinterprets contemporary Arab politics, feminist discourse, and social issues. Internationally renowned, Shehab’s work has been on display in exhibitions, galleries, and city streets across the world and has earned her a number of international recognitions and awards, including the BBC 100 Women list, TED Senior fellowship, and a Prince Claus Award. In 2016, she became the first Arab woman to receive the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture.

At the Corner of a Dream offers extensive documentation of Shehab’s powerful street paintings. It also chronicles the stories of the people she meets along her journeys and includes her observations from the streets of each new city she visits. Shehab’s work is a manifesto, a cry for freedom and dignity, and a call to never stop dreaming.
 
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Beautiful Terrible Ruins
Detroit and the Anxiety of Decline
Apel, Dora
Rutgers University Press, 2015
Once the manufacturing powerhouse of the nation, Detroit has become emblematic of failing cities everywhere—the paradigmatic city of ruins—and the epicenter of an explosive growth in images of urban decay. In Beautiful Terrible Ruins, art historian Dora Apel explores a wide array of these images, ranging from photography, advertising, and television, to documentaries, video games, and zombie and disaster films.  
 
Apel shows how Detroit has become pivotal to an expanding network of ruin imagery, imagery ultimately driven by a pervasive and growing cultural pessimism, a loss of faith in progress, and a deepening fear that worse times are coming. The images of Detroit’s decay speak to the overarching anxieties of our era: increasing poverty, declining wages and social services, inadequate health care, unemployment, homelessness, and ecological disaster—in short, the failure of capitalism. Apel reveals how, through the aesthetic distancing of representation, the haunted beauty and fascination of ruin imagery, embodied by Detroit’s abandoned downtown skyscrapers, empty urban spaces, decaying factories, and derelict neighborhoods help us to cope with our fears. But Apel warns that these images, while pleasurable, have little explanatory power, lulling us into seeing Detroit’s deterioration as either inevitable or the city’s own fault, and absolving the real agents of decline—corporate disinvestment and globalization. Beautiful Terrible Ruins helps us understand the ways that the pleasure and the horror of urban decay hold us in thrall. 
 
 
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Ben Shahn
New Deal Artist in a Cold War Climate, 1947-1954
By Frances Pohl
University of Texas Press, 1989

In the first, most intense years of the Cold War (1947–1954), New Deal liberals often found themselves in great disfavor. Ben Shahn's experience presents something of a paradox, however, since his paintings appealed in different ways to both liberals and conservatives. Blacklisted by CBS during the McCarthy era and yet, ironically, incorporated into presidential "campaigns of truth" aimed at improving the U.S. image abroad, Ben Shahn is a pivotal figure, revealing the complexities and contradictions inherent in this highly polarized moment in American history.

In this pathbreaking study, Frances Pohl traces the political and artistic struggles Ben Shahn became embroiled in as he tried to remain a socially concerned artist during the early Cold War period. She shows how he rejected the argument, voiced by many Abstract Expressionists, that art and politics should not mix, yet at the same time searched for a way to depict, in universal and allegorical terms, the broad human condition rather than simply specific instances of injustice. Perhaps most important, she makes critical connections between U.S. social and political history and the art it provoked, thus illuminating both the later career of Ben Shahn and the Cold War era in American cultural history.

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Beyond Representation in Contemporary Caribbean Art
Space, Politics, and the Public Sphere
Carlos Garrido Castellano
Rutgers University Press, 2019
The Caribbean has been traditionally associated with externally devised mappings and categories, thus appearing as a passive entity to be consumed and categorized. Challenging these forces and representations, Carlos Garrido Castellano argues that something more must be added to the discussion in order to address contemporary Caribbean visual creativity. Beyond Representation in Contemporary Caribbean Art arises from several years of field research and curatorial activity in museums, universities, and cultural institutions of Jamaica, Trinidad, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the United States. This book explores the ways in which Caribbean individuals and communities have recurred to art and visual creativity to create and sustain public spaces of discussion and social interaction. The book analyzes contemporary Caribbean art in relation to broader discussions of citizenship, cultural agency, critical geography, migration, and social justice. Covering a broad range of artistic projects, including curatorial practice, socially engaged art, institutional politics, public art, and performance, this book is about the imaginative ways in which Caribbean subjects and communities rearrange the sociocultural framework(s) they inhabit and share. 
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Black Movements
Performance and Cultural Politics
Colbert, Soyica Diggs
Rutgers University Press, 2017
Received the 2018 Honorable Mention for the Joe A. Callaway Prize for the Best Book on Drama or Theatre​

Black Movements analyzes how artists and activists of recent decades reference earlier freedom movements in order to imagine and produce a more expansive and inclusive democracy. The post–Jim Crow, post–apartheid, postcolonial era has ushered in a purportedly color blind society and along with it an assault on race-based forms of knowledge production and coalition formation. Soyica Diggs Colbert argues that in the late twentieth century race went “underground,” and by the twenty-first century race no longer functioned as an explicit marker of second-class citizenship.

The subterranean nature of race manifests itself in discussions of the Trayvon Martin shooting that focus on his hoodie, an object of clothing that anyone can choose to wear, rather than focusing on structural racism; in discussions of the epidemic proportions of incarcerated black and brown people that highlight the individual’s poor decision making rather than the criminalization of blackness; in evaluations of black independence struggles in the Caribbean and Africa that allege these movements have accomplished little more than creating a black ruling class that mirrors the politics of its former white counterpart. Black Movements intervenes in these discussions by highlighting the ways in which artists draw from the past to create coherence about blackness in present and future worlds.

Through an exploration of the way that black movements create circuits connecting people across space and time, Black Movements offers important interventions into performance, literary, diaspora, and African American studies.
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Blood Loss
A Love Story of AIDS, Activism, and Art
Keiko Lane
Duke University Press, 2024
In 1991, 16-year-old activist Keiko Lane joined the Los Angeles chapters of Queer Nation and ACT UP. They protested against legislation aimed at dismantling rights for LGBTQ people, people living with HIV, and immigrants, while fighting for needle exchange programs, reproductive justice, safer sex education, hospice funding, and the right to die with dignity. At the same time, they were a queer chosen family of friends and lovers who took care of one another in sickness and in health. Sometimes they helped each other die. By the time Lane turned 22, most of them had died of AIDS. In her evocative memoir, Lane weaves together the love stories and afterlives of queer resistance and survival, against the landscape of the Rodney King Rebellion, the movement for queer rights, and the censorship of queer artists and sexualities. Lane interrogates the social construction of power against and in queer communities of color, and the recovery of sexual agency in the midst and aftermath of violence. Luminous and powerfully moving, Blood Loss explores survival after those we love have died.
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The Brodsky Center at Rutgers University
Three Decades, 1986-2017
Ferris Olin
Rutgers University Press, 2024
The Brodsky Center at Rutgers: Three Decades, 1986-2017, chronicles the history and artists involved with an internationally acclaimed print and papermaking studio at Rutgers University. Judith K. Brodsky conceived, founded, and directed the atelier, which, from its onset, provided state-of-the-arts technology and expertise for under-represented contemporary artists — women, Indigenous, and from diasporas of the African, Eastern European, Latin and Asian communities — to make innovative works on paper. These artistic creations presented new narratives to American and global visual arts from voices previously not heard or seen. Some of the artists featured in the book include Faith Ringgold, Elizabeth Catlett, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Miriam Schapiro, Pepón Osorio, Kiki Smith, and Richard Tuttle, among many other talented and influential printmakers and artists. 

Published in partnership with the Zimmerli Museum.
 
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Calling Memory into Place
Dora Apel
Rutgers University Press, 2021
How can memory be mobilized for social justice? How can images and monuments counter public forgetting? And how can inherited family and cultural traumas be channeled in productive ways?  
 
In this deeply personal work, acclaimed art historian Dora Apel examines how memorials, photographs, artworks, and autobiographical stories can be used to fuel a process of “unforgetting”—reinterpreting the past by recalling the events, people, perspectives, and feelings that get excluded from conventional histories. The ten essays in Calling Memory into Place feature explorations of the controversy over a painting of Emmett Till in the Whitney Biennial and the debates about a national lynching memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. They also include personal accounts of Apel’s return to the Polish town where her Holocaust survivor parents grew up, as well as the ways she found strength in her inherited trauma while enduring treatment for breast cancer.  
 
These essays shift between the scholarly, the personal, and the visual as different modes of knowing, and explore the intersections between racism, antisemitism, and sexism, while suggesting how awareness of historical trauma is deeply inscribed on the body. By investigating the relations among place, memory, and identity, this study shines a light on the dynamic nature of memory as it crosses geography and generations.
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Communist Posters
Edited by Mary Ginsberg
Reaktion Books, 2017
From images of Vladimir Lenin promising “Land to the peasants!” to those of Mao Zedong declaring the Cultural Revolution, communist regimes have relied on powerful—and often beautifully wrought—artwork to ensure the successes of their revolutions. Because of their ease of distribution, posters in particular have figured as central vehicles of propaganda in nearly every communist nation. In this book, Mary Ginsberg offers the first truly global survey of the history and variety of communist poster art.
           
Enriched with essays by several experts in a variety of regions, this collection showcases an extraordinary variety of communist art coming from the Soviet Union, China, Mongolia, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and several countries in Eastern Europe. Together they show how effectively posters were used as tools of mobilization, instruction, censure, debate, and manipulation of public thought and opinion. As this collection shows, posters were used not only to promote the authority of the state and its revolutionary ideals, they were also used as a means of revolutionary protest and ways of warning against the dangers of other political regimes, such as Nazism. By their nature, these posters are ephemeral, tied to time, place, and specific events, but many have had far-reaching and long-lasting impact, in no small part due to the astonishing craft and beauty they display. In fact, many of these posters have eventually found their way into museums, due to the strength of their designs.
           
Beautifully arrayed, the posters in this collection offer a comprehensive look at the broad range of visual works that have both expressed and fueled one of the most powerful political ideas of the modern era.
 
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A Continuous Revolution
Making Sense of Cultural Revolution Culture
Barbara Mittler
Harvard University Press, 2012

Cultural Revolution Culture, often denigrated as nothing but propaganda, was liked not only in its heyday but continues to be enjoyed today. A Continuous Revolution sets out to explain its legacy. By considering Cultural Revolution propaganda art—music, stage works, prints and posters, comics, and literature—from the point of view of its longue durée, Barbara Mittler suggests it was able to build on a tradition of earlier art works, and this allowed for its sedimentation in cultural memory and its proliferation in contemporary China.

Taking the aesthetic experience of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) as her base, Mittler juxtaposes close readings and analyses of cultural products from the period with impressions given in a series of personal interviews conducted in the early 2000s with Chinese from diverse class and generational backgrounds. By including much testimony from these original voices, Mittler illustrates the extremely multifaceted and contradictory nature of the Cultural Revolution, both in terms of artistic production and of its cultural experience.

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Creative Infrastructures
Artists, Money and Entrepreneurial Action
Linda Essig
Intellect Books, 2022
Essays on the relationship between artists and entrepreneurship. 

As in sports, business, and other sectors, the top 1% of artists have disproportionately influenced public expectations for what it means to be successful. In Creative Infrastructures, Linda Essig takes an unconventional approach and looks at the quotidian artist—and at what they do, not what they make. All too often, artists who are attentive to the business side of their creative practice are accused of selling out. But for many working artists, that attention to business is what enables them not just to survive but to thrive. When artists follow their mission, Essig contends that they don’t sell out, they spiral up by keeping mission at the forefront. Through illustrative case studies from culturally and racially diverse communities, Essig examines the relationships between art, innovation, entrepreneurship, and money while offering a theory for arts entrepreneurship that places more emphasis on means than ends. 
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The Creativity Complex
Art, Tech, and the Seduction of an Idea
Shannon Steen
University of Michigan Press, 2023

“Creativity” is a word that excites and dazzles us. It promises brilliance and achievement, a shield against conformity, a channel for innovation across the arts, sciences, technology, and education, and a mechanism for economic revival and personal success. But it has not always evoked these ideas. The Creativity Complex traces the history of how creativity has come to mean the things it now does, and explores the ethical implications of how we use this term today for both the arts and for the social world more broadly. Richly researched, the book explores how creativity has been invoked in arenas as varied as Enlightenment debates over the nature of cognition, Victorian-era intelligence research, the Cold War technology race, contemporary K-12 education, and even modern electoral politics. Ultimately, The Creativity Complex asks how our ideas about creativity are bound up with those of self-fulfillment, responsibility, and the individual, and how these might seduce us into joining a worldview and even a set of social imperatives that we might otherwise find troubling.

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Dance, Politics & Co-Immunity
Current Perspectives on Politics and Communities in the Arts Vol. 1
Edited by Stefan Hölscher and Gerald Siegmund
Diaphanes, 2013
This volume is dedicated to the question of how dance, both in its historical and in its contemporary manifestations, is intricately linked to conceptualisations of the political. Whereas in this context the term "policy" means the reproduction of hegemonic power relations within already existing institutional structures, politics refers to those practices which question the space of policy as such by inscribing that into its surface which has had no place before. The art of choreography consists in distributing bodies and their relations in space. It is a distribution of parts that within the field of the visible and the sayable allocates positions to specific bodies. Yet in the confrontation between bodies and their relations, a deframing and dislocating of positions may take place. The essays included in this book are aimed at the multiple connections between politics, community, dance, and globalisation from the perspective of e.g. Dance and Theatre Studies, History, Philosophy, and Sociology.
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A Decade of Negative Thinking
Essays on Art, Politics, and Daily Life
Mira Schor
Duke University Press, 2009
A Decade of Negative Thinking brings together writings on contemporary art and culture by the painter and feminist art theorist Mira Schor. Mixing theory and practice, the personal and the political, she tackles questions about the place of feminism in art and political discourse, the aesthetics and values of contemporary painting, and the influence of the market on the creation of art. Schor writes across disciplines and is committed to the fluid interrelationship between a formalist aesthetic, a literary sensibility, and a strongly political viewpoint. Her critical views are expressed with poetry and humor in the accessible language that has been her hallmark, and her perspective is informed by her dual practice as a painter and writer and by her experience as a teacher of art.

In essays such as “The ism that dare not speak its name,” “Generation 2.5,” “Like a Veneer,” “Modest Painting,” “Blurring Richter,” and “Trite Tropes, Clichés, or the Persistence of Styles,” Schor considers how artists relate to and represent the past and how the art market influences their choices: whether or not to disavow a social movement, to explicitly compare their work to that of a canonical artist, or to take up an exhausted style. She places her writings in the rich transitory space between the near past and the “nextmodern.” Witty, brave, rigorous, and heartfelt, Schor’s essays are impassioned reflections on art, politics, and criticism.

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Deconstructing the High Line
Postindustrial Urbanism and the Rise of the Elevated Park
Lindner, Christoph
Rutgers University Press, 2017
2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

The High Line, an innovative promenade created on a disused elevated railway in Manhattan, is one of the world’s most iconic new urban landmarks. Since the opening of its first section in 2009, this unique greenway has exceeded all expectations in terms of attracting visitors, investment, and property development to Manhattan’s West Side. Frequently celebrated as a monument to community-led activism, adaptive re-use of urban infrastructure, and innovative ecological design, the High Line is being used as a model for numerous urban redevelopment plans proliferating worldwide.

Deconstructing the High Line is the first book to analyze the High Line from multiple perspectives, critically assessing its aesthetic, economic, ecological, symbolic, and social impacts. Including several essays by planners and architects directly involved in the High Line’s design, this volume also brings together a diverse range of scholars from the fields of urban studies, geography, anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies. Together, they offer insights into the project’s remarkable success, while also giving serious consideration to the critical charge that the High Line is “Disney World on the Hudson,” a project that has merely greened, sanitized, and gentrified an urban neighborhood while displacing longstanding residents and businesses.

Deconstructing the High Line is not just for New Yorkers, but for anyone interested in larger issues of public space, neoliberal redevelopment, creative design practice, and urban renewal.  
 
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Democracy on the Wall
Street Art of the Post-Dictatorship Era in Chile
Guisela Latorre
The Ohio State University Press, 2019
Guisela Latorre’s Democracy on the Wall: Street Art of the Post-Dictatorship Era in Chile documents and critically deconstructs the explosion of street art that emerged in Chile after the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, providing the first broad analysis of the visual vocabulary of Chile’s murals and graffiti while addressing the historical, social, and political context for this public art in Chile post-1990.
 
Exploring the resurgence and impact of the muralist brigades, women graffiti artists, the phenomenon of “open-sky museums,” and the transnational impact on the development of Chilean street art, Latorre argues that mural and graffiti artists are enacting a “visual democracy,” a form of artistic praxis that seeks to create alternative images to those produced by institutions of power. Keenly aware of Latin America’s colonial legacy and deeply flawed democratic processes, and distrustful of hegemonic discourses promoted by government and corporate media, the artists in Democracy on the Wall utilize graffiti and muralism as an alternative means of public communication, one that does not serve capitalist or nationalist interests. Latorre posits that through these urban interventions that combine creativity with social action, Chilean street artists formulate visions of what a true democracy looks like.
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Diago
The Pasts of This Afro-Cuban Present
Alejandro de la Fuente
Harvard University Press

A leading member of the new Afro-Cuban cultural movement, visual artist Juan Roberto Diago (b. 1971) has produced a body of work that offers a revisionist history of the Cuban nation. His “history”—a term he frequently inserts in his works using the visual language of graffiti—is not the official narrative of a racially harmonious nation, built thanks to the selfless efforts of generous white patriots. Diago’s Cuba is a nation built on pain, rape, greed, and the enslavement of millions of displaced Africans, a nation still grappling with the long-term effects of slavery and colonialism. To him, slavery is not the past, but a daily experience of racism and discrimination. Africa is not a root, but a wellspring of cultural renovation and personal affirmation, the ancestors that sustain him in his journey.

In the first examination of Diago’s creative work during his entire career, Alejandro de la Fuente provides parallel English- and Spanish-language text, illustrated throughout. The book traces Diago’s singular efforts to construct new pasts—the pasts required to explain the racial tensions of contemporary Cuba and the pasts of this Afro-Cuban present.

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Dialogues
Ilya Kabakov and Viktor Pivovarov, Stories about Ourselves
Ksenia Nouril
Rutgers University Press, 2020
Artists in the Soviet Union faced a difficult choice: either join the official academies and make art that conformed to the state’s aesthetic and ideological dictates, or attempt to develop alternative artistic practices and spheres for exhibiting their work. In the early 1970s, conceptual artists Ilya Kabakov and Viktor Pivovarov chose the latter option, turning their limited resources into an asset by pioneering an entirely new artistic genre: the album. Somewhere between drawings and novels, Kabakov and Pivovarov’s albums were also the basis for unique performance pieces, as the artists invited select audiences to their Moscow apartments for private readings and viewings of the albums, helping to cultivate an alternative artistic community in the process.

This exhibition catalog brings together Kabakov and Pivovarov’s key works for the first time, putting the two artists in dialogue and recreating their artistic community. It not only includes nearly hundred pages of full-color illustrations, but also provides complete English translations of the Russian texts that appear in the volume, plus new interviews with each artist. Taken together, they give viewers a new appreciation of the different aesthetic strategies each artist used to depict the absurdities of everyday life in the Soviet era. Published in partnership with the Zimmerli Museum.
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Diasporic Intimacies
Queer Filipinos and Canadian Imaginaries
Edited by Robert Diaz, Marissa Largo, and Fritz Pino
Northwestern University Press, 2018
Diasporic Intimacies: Queer Filipinos and Canadian Imaginaries is the first edited volume of its kind, featuring the works of leading scholars, artists, and activists who reflect on the contributions of queer Filipinos to Canadian culture and society.

Addressing a wide range of issues beyond the academy, the authors present a rich and under-studied archive of personal reflections, in-depth interviews, creative works, and scholarly essays. Their trandsdisciplinary approach highlights the need for queer, transgressive, and utopian practices that render visible histories of migration, empire building, settler colonialism, and globalization.

Timely, urgent, and fascinating, Diasporic Intimacies offers an accessible entry point for readers who seek to pursue critically engaged community work, arts education, curatorial practice, and socially inflected research on sexuality, gender, and race in this ever-changing world.
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Don't Act, Just Dance
The Metapolitics of Cold War Culture
Catherine Gunther Kodat
Rutgers University Press, 2014
At some point in their career, nearly all the dancers who worked with George Balanchine were told “don’t act, dear; just dance.” The dancers understood this as a warning against melodramatic over-interpretation and an assurance that they had all the tools they needed to do justice to the steps—but its implication that to dance is already to act in a manner both complete and sufficient resonates beyond stage and studio. 

Drawing on fresh archival material, Don’t Act, Just Dance places dance at the center of the story of the relationship between Cold War art and politics. Catherine Gunther Kodat takes Balanchine’s catch phrase as an invitation to explore the politics of Cold War culture—in particular, to examine the assumptions underlying the role of “apolitical” modernism in U.S. cultural diplomacy. Through close, theoretically informed readings of selected important works—Marianne Moore’s “Combat Cultural,” dances by George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, and Yuri Grigorovich, Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, and John Adams’s Nixon in China—Kodat questions several commonly-held beliefs about the purpose and meaning of modernist cultural productions during the Cold War. 

Rather than read the dance through a received understanding of Cold War culture, Don’t Act, Just Dance reads Cold War culture through the dance, and in doing so establishes a new understanding of the politics of modernism in the arts of the period. 
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Experimental Arts in Postwar Japan
Moments of Encounter, Engagement, and Imagined Return
Miryam Sas
Harvard University Press, 2011

In the years of rapid economic growth following the protest movements of the 1960s, artists and intellectuals in Japan searched for a means of direct impact on the whirlwind of historical and cultural transformations of their time. Yet while the artists often called for such “direct” encounter, their works complicate this ideal with practices of interruption, self-reflexive mimesis, and temporal discontinuity. In an era known for idealism and activism, some of the most cherished ideals—intimacy between subjects, authenticity, a sense of home—are limitlessly desired yet always just out of reach.

In this book, Miryam Sas explores the theoretical and cultural implications of experimental arts in a range of media. Casting light on important moments in the arts from the 1960s to the early 1980s, this study focuses first on underground (post-shingeki) theater and then on related works of experimental film and video, buto dance, and photography. Emphasizing the complex and sophisticated theoretical grounding of these artists through their works, practices, and writings, this book also locates Japanese experimental arts in an extensive, sustained dialogue with key issues of contemporary critical theory.

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Exquisite Materials
Episodes in the Queer History of Victorian Style
Abigail Joseph
University of Delaware Press, 2011
Exquisite Materials explores the connections between gay subjects, material objects, and the social and aesthetic landscapes in which they circulated. Each of the book’s four chapters takes up as a case study a figure or set of figures whose life and work dramatize different aspects of the unique queer relationship to materiality and style. These diverse episodes converge around the contention that paying attention to the multitudinous objects of the Victorian world-and to the social practices surrounding them-reveals the boundaries and influences of queer forms of identity and aesthetic sensibility that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century and have remained recognizable up to our own moment. In the cases that author Abigail Joseph examines, objects become unexpected sites of queer community and desire.

Published by University of Delaware Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
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The Future of the Dutch Colonial Past
Curating Heritage, Art and Activism
Emma van Bijnen
Amsterdam University Press, 2024
Institutions across the globe are increasingly questioned on how their foundations are rooted in colonialism and how they aim to ‘decolonize’. The Future of the Dutch Colonial Past provides an overview of critical scholarly reflections on the history of Dutch slavery and colonization, as well as how this translates into critical cultural practices. It also explores possible futures: What can heritage institutions learn from (international) best practices regarding the ‘decolonization’ of museums? And what role can contemporary artistic practices take in these processes? Through a variety of essays, interventions, interviews, and a roundtable conversation, scholars and cultural practitioners address these complex questions.
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Harlem
Found Ways
Vera Ingrid Grant
Harvard University Press

The art and artists of Harlem: Found Ways represent the place and its people, burnishing Harlem’s luster but never attempting to smooth its rough edges. The works in the exhibition span a variety of media to explore the invention of Harlem and, at the same time, reinvent it. Artists in the exhibition Harlem: Found Ways, at the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art in Cambridge, MA, from 24 May to 15 July, 2017, included Dawoud Bey, Abigail DeVille, Glenn Ligon, Howard Tangye, Nari Ward, and Kehinde Wiley. The exhibition also included items from the Harlem Postcards project at The Studio Museum in Harlem.

This catalog features essays, including a foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., that contemplate the uniquely layered urban landscape of Harlem, a city within a city. Vibrantly illustrated with objects from the exhibition, the catalog itself is an important resource for students of contemporary African American art and of the city.

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Hiraizumi
Buddhist Art and Regional Politics in Twelfth-Century Japan
Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan
Harvard University Press, 1998

In the twelfth century, along the borders of the Japanese state in northern Honshu, three generations of local rulers built a capital city at Hiraizumi that became a major military and commercial center. Known as the Hiraizumi Fujiwara, these rulers created a city filled with art, in an attempt to use the power of art and architecture to claim a religious and political mandate.

In the first book-length study of Hiraizumi in English, the author studies the rise of the Hiraizumi Fujiwara and analyzes their remarkable construction program. She traces the strategies by which the Hiraizumi Fujiwara attempted to legitimate their rule and grounds the splendor of Hiraizumi in the desires, political and personal, of the men and women who sponsored and displayed that art.

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Hong Kong Pop Culture in the 1980s
A Decade of Splendour
Yiu-Wai Chu
Amsterdam University Press, 2023
This book deals with the 1980s – the “golden decade” of Hong Kong pop culture – in which a cosmopolitan lifestyle of pop and chic emerged in the city. Bookended by two major historical incidents, the 1980s will probably enter the annals of Hong Kong history as the decade that defined its future after reversion to Mainland China. Having witnessed and experienced the rise of Hong Kong pop culture to unprecedented heights in this decade, the author enhances its context through a story about his own personal belongings. Examining popular genres including television, film, music, fashion, disco and city magazine, this book teases out the distinctive aspects of Hong Kong pop culture that defined (his) Hong Kong. As Hong Kong has been undergoing drastic changes in recent years, it is necessary to point toward new imaginaries by re-examining its development. Toward this end, this book will shed light on an important research area of Hong Kong Studies as an academic discipline.
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How to Read Donald Duck
Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic
Ariel Dorfman
Pluto Press, 2020
"The book has a rambunctious humor that complements its polemical spirit . . . As Disney has evolved from an animation studio into a corporate behemoth—with theme parks, a cruise line, and content streaming around the world—How to Read Donald Duck and its charge of cultural imperialism rings all the truer"—The New Yorker                       
 
First published in 1971, How to Read Donald Duck shocked readers by revealing how capitalist ideology operates in our most beloved cartoons. Having survived bonfires, impounding and being dumped into the ocean by the Chilean army, this controversial book is once again back on our shelves.
 
Written and published during the blossoming of Salvador Allende's revolutionary socialism in Chile, the book examines how Disney products reflect capitalist ideology, and are active agents working in this ideology’s favor. Focusing on the hapless mice and ducks of Disney, curiously parentless, marginalized and always short of cash, Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart expose how these characters established hegemonic ideas about capital, race, gender and the relationship between developed countries and the Third World.
 
A devastating indictment of a media giant, a document of twentieth-century political upheaval, and a reminder of the dark undercurrent of pop culture, How to Read Donald Duck is once again available, together with a new introduction by Ariel Dorfman in which he writes.
 
"It is that joy in liberation, that alegria, that spirit of resistance, that I wish to share with America, as the book that Pinochet’s soldiers could not liquidate or Disney’s lawyers stop from entering the United States finally finds its way to its new home, deep into the land that invented Donald Duck and Donald Trump. Is the same country that gave me such a warm welcome as a child, and perhaps may now equally greet with open arms this critique of oppression and it certainty that we don’t have to leave the world as it was when we first encountered it."
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The Humours of Parliament
Harry Furniss's View of Late-Victorian Political Culture
Gareth Cordery and Joseph S. Meisel
The Ohio State University Press, 2014
Harry Furniss (1854–1925), a leading contributor to Punch and other important illustrated magazines, was arguably the most significant political caricaturist and illustrator of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. He was widely celebrated in his time, and his cartoons helped to define the political world in the public mind. The Humours of Parliament was Furniss’s hugely successful illustrated lecture that he staged throughout the U.K., North America, and Australia during the 1890s. Entertaining his audiences with anecdotes, mimicry, and jokes—along with the spectacle of more than 100 magic lantern slides—Furniss gave his audiences an insider’s view of the mysterious workings of Parliament and the leading political personalities of the day, such as Gladstone, Balfour, and Chamberlain.
 
Reproducing some 150 images drawn from Furniss’s extensive graphic work, The Humours of Parliament: Harry Furniss’s View of Late-Victorian Political Culture, edited and with an introduction by Gareth Cordery and Joseph S. Meisel, presents Furniss’s unpublished lecture text for the first time. The extensive introduction places the show in its biographical, political, and performative contexts. Cordery and Meisel’s volume therefore both documents a pivotal moment in British political and social history and provides a rare case study of an important yet little studied nineteenth-century performance genre: the illustrated platform lecture.
 
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Icons Axed, Freedoms Lost
Russian Desecularization and a Ukrainian Alternative
Vyacheslav Karpov
Rutgers University Press
In Icons Axed, Freedoms Lost, Vyacheslav Karpov and Rachel L. Schroeder demonstrate how Russia went from persecuting believers to jailing critics of religion, and why, in contrast, religious pluralism and tolerance have solidified in Ukraine. Offering a richly documented history of cultural and political struggles that surrounded desecularization - the resurgence of religion’s societal role - from the end of the USSR to the Russo-Ukrainian war, they show Russian critics of desecularization adhered to artistic provocations, from axing icons to “punk-prayers” in cathedrals and how Orthodox activists, in turn, responded by vandalizing controversial exhibits and calling on the state to crush “the enemies of the Church.” Putin’s solidifying tyranny heard their calls and criminalized insults to religious feelings. Meanwhile, Ukraine adhered to its pluralistic legacies. Its churches refused to engage in Russian-style culture wars, sticking instead to forgiveness and forbearance. Icons Axed, Freedoms Lost offers original theoretical and methodological perspectives on desecularization applicable far beyond the cases of Russia and Ukraine.
 
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The Image of the Black in Western Art
Edited by David Bindman and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Harvard University Press, 2010

In the 1960s, art patron Dominique de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art. Highlights from her collection appeared in three large-format volumes that quickly became collector’s items. A half-century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to publish a complete set of ten sumptuous books, including new editions of the original volumes and two additional ones.

The new edition of From the Pharaohs to the Fall of the Roman Empire offers a comprehensive look at the fascinating and controversial subject of the representation of black people in the ancient world. Classic essays by distinguished scholars are aptly contextualized by Jeremy Tanner’s new introduction, which guides the reader through enormous changes in the field in the wake of the “Black Athena” story.

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The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume II
Edited by David Bindman and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Harvard University Press, 2010

In the 1960s, art patron Dominique de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art. Highlights from her collection appeared in three large-format volumes that quickly became collector’s items. A half-century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to publish a complete set of ten sumptuous books, including new editions of the original volumes and two additional ones.

From the Demonic Threat to the Incarnation of Sainthood, written largely by noted French scholar Jean Devisse, has established itself as a classic in the field of medieval art. It surveys as never before the presence of black people, mainly mythical, in art from the early Christian era to the fourteenth century. The extraordinary transformation of Saint Maurice into a black African saint, the subject of many noble and deeply touching images, is a highlight of this volume. The new introduction by Paul Kaplan provides a fresh perspective on the image of the black in medieval European art and contextualizes the classic essays on the subject.

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The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume II
Edited by David Bindman and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Harvard University Press, 2010

In the 1960s, art patron Dominique de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art. Highlights from her collection appeared in three large-format volumes that quickly became collector’s items. A half-century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to publish a complete set of ten sumptuous books, including new editions of the original volumes and two additional ones.

Africans in the Christian Ordinance of the World, written by a small team of French scholars, has established itself as a classic in the field of medieval art. The most striking development in this period was the gradual emergence of the black Magus, invariably a figure of great dignity, in the many representations of the Adoration of the Magi by the greatest masters of the time. The new introduction by Paul Kaplan provides a fresh perspective on the image of the black in medieval European art and contextualizes the classic essays on the subject.

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The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume III
David Bindman
Harvard University Press, 2010

In the 1960s, art patron Dominique de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art. Highlights from her collection appeared in three large-format volumes that quickly became collector’s items. A half-century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to publish a complete set of ten sumptuous books, including new editions of the original volumes and two additional ones.

Europe and the World Beyond focuses geographically on peoples of South America and the Mediterranean as well as Africa—but conceptually it emphasizes the many ways that visual constructions of blacks mediated between Europe and a faraway African continent that was impinging ever more closely on daily life, especially in cities and ports engaged in slave trade.

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The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume III
David Bindman
Harvard University Press, 2010

In the 1960s, art patron Dominique de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art. Highlights from her collection appeared in three large-format volumes that quickly became collector’s items. A half-century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to publish a complete set of ten sumptuous books, including new editions of the original volumes and two additional ones.

Europe and the World Beyond focuses geographically on peoples of South America and the Mediterranean as well as Africa—but conceptually it emphasizes the many ways that visual constructions of blacks mediated between Europe and a faraway African continent that was impinging ever more closely on daily life, especially in cities and ports engaged in slave trade.

The Eighteenth Century features a particularly rich collection of images of Africans representing slavery’s apogee and the beginnings of abolition. Old visual tropes of a master with adoring black slave gave way to depictions of Africans as victims and individuals, while at the same time the intellectual foundations of scientific racism were established.

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The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume III
David Bindman
Harvard University Press, 2010

In the 1960s, art patron Dominique de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art. Highlights from her collection appeared in three large-format volumes that quickly became collector’s items. A half-century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to publish a complete set of ten sumptuous books, including new editions of the original volumes and two additional ones.

The much-awaited Artists of the Renaissance and Baroque has been written by an international team of distinguished scholars, and covers the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The rise of slavery and the presence of black people in Europe irrevocably affected the works of the best artists of the time. Essays on the black Magus and the image of the black in Italy, Spain, and Britain, with detailed studies of Rembrandt and Heliodorus’s Aethiopica, all presented with superb color plates, make this new volume a worthy addition to this classic series.

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The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume IV
David Bindman
Harvard University Press, 2010

In the 1960s, art patron Dominique de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art. Highlights from her collection appeared in three large-format volumes that quickly became collector’s items. A half-century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to publish a complete set of ten sumptuous books, including new editions of the original volumes and two additional ones.

Slaves and Liberators looks at the political implications of the representation of Africans, from the earliest discussions of the morality of slavery, through the rise of abolitionism, to the imposition of European imperialism on Africa. Popular imagery and great works, like Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa and Turner’s Slave Ship, are considered in depth, casting light on widely differing European responses to Africans and their descendants.

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The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume IV
David Bindman
Harvard University Press, 2010

In the 1960s, art patron Dominique de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art. Highlights from her collection appeared in three large-format volumes that quickly became collector’s items. A half-century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to publish a complete set of ten sumptuous books, including new editions of the original volumes and two additional ones.

Black Models and White Myths examines the tendentious racial assumptions behind representations of Africans that emphasized the contrast between “civilization” and “savagery” and the development of so-called scientific and ethnographic racism. These works often depicted Africans within a context of sexuality and exoticism, representing their allegedly natural behavior as a counterpoint to inhibited European conduct.

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The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume V
David Bindman
Harvard University Press, 2010

In the 1960s, art patrons Dominique and Jean de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art from the ancient world to modern times. Highlights from the image archive, accompanied by essays written by major scholars, appeared in three large‐format volumes, consisting of one or more books, that quickly became collector’s items. A half‐century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to have republished five of the original books and five completely new ones, extending the series into the twentieth century.

The Rise of Black Artists, the second of two books on the twentieth century and the final volume in The Image of the Black in Western Art, marks an essential shift in the series and focuses on representation of blacks by black artists in the West. This volume takes on important topics ranging from urban migration within the United States to globalization, to Négritude and cultural hybridity, to the modern black artist’s relationship with European aesthetic traditions and experimentation with new technologies and media. Concentrating on the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean, essays in this volume shed light on topics such as photography, jazz, the importance of political activism to the shaping of black identities, as well as the post-black art world.

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The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume V
David Bindman
Harvard University Press, 2010

In the 1960s, art patrons Dominique and Jean de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art from the ancient world to modern times. Highlights from the image archive, accompanied by essays written by major scholars, appeared in three large-format volumes, consisting of one or more books, that quickly became collector's items. A half-century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to have republished five of the original books and to present five completely new ones, extending the series into the twentieth century.

The Impact of Africa, the first of two books on the twentieth century, looks at changes in the Western perspective on African art and the representation of Africans, and the paradox of their interpretation as simultaneously "primitive" and "modern." The essays include topics such as the new medium of photography, African influences on Picasso and on Josephine Baker's impression of 1920s Paris, and the influential contribution of artists from the Caribbean and Latin American diasporas.

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Imagining Illness
Public Health and Visual Culture
David Serlin
University of Minnesota Press, 2010
From seventeenth-century broadsides about the handling of dead bodies, printed during London's plague years, to YouTube videos about preventing the transmission of STDs, public health advocacy and education has always had a powerful visual component. Imagining Illness explores the diverse visual culture of public health, broadly defined, from the nineteenth century to the present.

Contributors to this volume examine historical and contemporary visual practices-Chinese health fairs, documentary films produced by the World Health Organization, illness maps, fashions for nurses, and live surgery on the Internet-in order to delve into the political and epidemiological contexts underlying their creation and dissemination.
 
Contributors: Liping Bu, Alma College; Lisa Cartwright, U of California, San Diego; Roger Cooter, U College London; William H. Helfand; Lenore Manderson, Monash U, Australia; Emily Martin, New York U; Gregg Mitman, U of Wisconsin, Madison; Mark Monmonier, Syracuse U; Kirsten Ostherr, Rice U; Katherine Ott, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian; Shawn Michelle Smith, Art Institute of Chicago; Claudia Stein, Warwick U.
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The Indecent Screen
Regulating Television in the Twenty-First Century
Chris, Cynthia
Rutgers University Press, 2019
The Indecent Screen explores clashes over indecency in broadcast television among U.S.-based media advocates, television professionals, the Federal Communications Commission, and TV audiences. Cynthia Chris focuses on the decency debates during an approximately twenty-year period since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which in many ways restructured the media environment. Simultaneously, ever increasing channel capacity, new forms of distribution, and time-shifting (in the form of streaming and on-demand viewing options) radically changed how, when, and what we watch. But instead of these innovations quelling concerns that TV networks were too often transmitting indecent material that was accessible to children, complaints about indecency skyrocketed soon after the turn of the century. Chris demonstrates that these clashes are significant battles over the role of family, the role of government, and the value of free speech in our lives, arguing that an uncensored media is so imperative to the public good that we can, and must, endure the occasional indecent screen. 
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Into Performance
Japanese Women Artists in New York
Yoshimoto, Midori
Rutgers University Press, 2005

The 1960s was a time of incredible freedom and exploration in the art world, particularly in New York City, which witnessed the explosion of New Music, Happenings, Fluxus, New Dance, pop art, and minimalist art. Also notable during this period, although often overlooked, is the inordinate amount of revolutionary art that was created by women.

Into Performance fills a critical gap in both American and Japanese art history as it brings to light the historical significance of five women artists-Yoko Ono, Yayoi Kusama, Takako Saito, Mieko Shiomi, and Shigeko Kubota. Unusually courageous and self-determined, they were among the first Japanese women to leave their country-and its male-dominated, conservative art world-to explore the artistic possibilities in New York. They not only benefited from the New York art scene, however, they played a major role in the development of international performance and intermedia art by bridging avant garde movements in Tokyo and New York.

This book traces the pioneering work of these five women artists and the socio-cultural issues that shaped their careers. Into Performance also explores the transformation of these artists' lifestyle from traditionally confined Japanese women to internationally active artists. Yoshimoto demonstrates how their work paved the way for younger Japanese women artists who continue to seek opportunities in the West today.

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Irina Nakhova
Museum on the Edge
Jane A. Sharp
Rutgers University Press, 2019
Throughout her extensive career, Russian conceptual artist Irina Nakhova has frequently pushed the limits of what constitutes art and how we experience the art museum. One of her famous early pieces, for instance, transformed a room in her very own Moscow apartment into an art installation.
 
Released in conjunction with Nakhova’s first museum retrospective exhibition in the United States, this book includes many full-color illustrations of her work, spanning the entirety of her forty-year career and demonstrating her facility with a variety of media. It also includes essays by a variety of world-renowned curators and art historians, each cataloging Nakhova’s artistic innovations and exploring how she deals with themes of everyday life, memory, viewer engagement, and moral responsibility. It concludes with a new interview with Nakhova herself, giving new insight into her creative process and artistic goals. Irina Nakhova: Museum on the Edge provides a vivid look at the work of a visionary artist. Published in partnership with the Zimmerli Museum.
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It Will Be Fun and Terrifying
Nationalism and Protest in Post-Soviet Russia
Fabrizio Fenghi
University of Wisconsin Press, 2021
The National Bolshevik Party, founded in the mid-1990s by Eduard Limonov and Aleksandr Dugin, began as an attempt to combine radically different ideologies. In the years that followed, Limonov, Dugin, and the movements they led underwent dramatic shifts. The two leaders eventually became political adversaries, with Dugin and his organizations strongly supporting Putin’s regime while Limonov and his groups became part of the liberal opposition.
To illuminate the role of these right-wing ideas in contemporary Russian society, Fabrizio Fenghi examines the public pronouncements and aesthetics of this influential movement. He analyzes a diverse range of media, including novels, art exhibitions, performances, seminars, punk rock concerts, and even protest actions. His interviews with key figures reveal an attempt to create an alternative intellectual class, or a “counter-intelligensia.” This volume shows how certain forms of art can transform into political action through the creation of new languages, institutions, and modes of collective participation.
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Local Acts
Community-Based Performance in the United States
Cohen-Cruz, Jan
Rutgers University Press, 2005

An eclectic mix of art, theatre, dance, politics, experimentation, and ritual,community-based performance has become an increasingly popular art movement in the United States. Forged by the collaborative efforts of professional artists and local residents, this unique field brings performance together with a range of political, cultural, and social projects, such as community-organizing, cultural self-representation, and education. Local Acts presents a long-overdue survey of community-based performance from its early roots, through its flourishing during the politically-turbulent 1960s, to present-day popular culture. Drawing on nine case studies, including groups such as the African American Junebug Productions, the Appalachian Roadside Theater, and the Puerto Rican Teatro Pregones, Jan Cohen-Cruz provides detailed descriptions of performances and processes, first-person stories, and analysis. She shows how the ritual side of these endeavors reinforces a sense of community identification while the aesthetic side enables local residents to transgress cultural norms, to question group habits, and to incorporate a level of craft that makes the work accessible to individuals beyond any one community. The book concludes by exploring how community-based performance transcends even national boundaries, connecting the local United States with international theater and cultural movements.

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Marking Time
Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration
Nicole R. Fleetwood
Harvard University Press, 2020

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
A Smithsonian Book of the Year
A New York Review of Books “Best of 2020” Selection
A New York Times Best Art Book of the Year
An Art Newspaper Book of the Year


A powerful document of the inner lives and creative visions of men and women rendered invisible by America’s prison system.

More than two million people are currently behind bars in the United States. Incarceration not only separates the imprisoned from their families and communities; it also exposes them to shocking levels of deprivation and abuse and subjects them to the arbitrary cruelties of the criminal justice system. Yet, as Nicole Fleetwood reveals, America’s prisons are filled with art. Despite the isolation and degradation they experience, the incarcerated are driven to assert their humanity in the face of a system that dehumanizes them.

Based on interviews with currently and formerly incarcerated artists, prison visits, and the author’s own family experiences with the penal system, Marking Time shows how the imprisoned turn ordinary objects into elaborate works of art. Working with meager supplies and in the harshest conditions—including solitary confinement—these artists find ways to resist the brutality and depravity that prisons engender. The impact of their art, Fleetwood observes, can be felt far beyond prison walls. Their bold works, many of which are being published for the first time in this volume, have opened new possibilities in American art.

As the movement to transform the country’s criminal justice system grows, art provides the imprisoned with a political voice. Their works testify to the economic and racial injustices that underpin American punishment and offer a new vision of freedom for the twenty-first century.

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A Mexican State of Mind
New York City and the New Borderlands of Culture
Melissa Castillo Planas
Rutgers University Press, 2020
A Mexican State of Mind: New York City and the New Borderlands of Culture explores the cultural and creative lives of the largely young undocumented Mexican population in New York City since September 11, 2001. Inspired by a dialogue between the landmark works of Paul Gilroy and Gloria Anzaldúa, it develops a new analytic framework, the Atlantic Borderlands, which bridges Mexican diasporic experiences in New York City and the black diaspora, not as a comparison but in recognition that colonialism, interracial and interethnic contact through trade, migration, and slavery are connected via capitalist economies and technological developments. This book is based on ten years of fieldwork in  New York City, with members of  a vibrant community of young Mexican migrants who coexist and interact with people from all over the world. It focuses on youth culture including hip hop, graffiti, muralism, labor activism, arts entrepreneurship and collective making.
 
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The Migrant Image
The Art and Politics of Documentary during Global Crisis
T. J. Demos
Duke University Press, 2013
In The Migrant Image T. J. Demos examines the ways contemporary artists have reinvented documentary practices in their representations of mobile lives: refugees, migrants, the stateless, and the politically dispossessed. He presents a sophisticated analysis of how artists from the United States, Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East depict the often ignored effects of globalization and the ways their works connect viewers to the lived experiences of political and economic crisis. Demos investigates the cinematic approaches Steve McQueen, the Otolith Group, and Hito Steyerl employ to blur the real and imaginary in their films confronting geopolitical conflicts between North and South. He analyzes how Emily Jacir and Ahlam Shibli use blurs, lacuna, and blind spots in their photographs, performances, and conceptual strategies to directly address the dire circumstances of dislocated Palestinian people. He discusses the disparate interventions of Walid Raad in Lebanon, Ursula Biemann in North Africa, and Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri in the United States, and traces how their works offer images of conflict as much as a conflict of images. Throughout Demos shows the ways these artists creatively propose new possibilities for a politics of equality, social justice, and historical consciousness from within the aesthetic domain.
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The Mitki and the Art of Postmodern Protest in Russia
Alexandar Mihailovic
University of Wisconsin Press, 2019
During the late Soviet period, the art collective known as the Mitki emerged in Leningrad. Producing satirical poetry and prose, pop music, cinema, and conceptual performance art, this group fashioned a playful, emphatically countercultural identity with affinities to European avant-garde and American hippie movements. More broadly, as Alexandar Mihailovic shows, the Mitki pioneered a form of political protest art that has since become a centerpiece of activism in post-Soviet Russia, most visible today in groups such as Pussy Riot. He draws on extensive interviews with members of the collective and illuminates their critique of the authoritarian state, militarism, and social strictures from the Brezhnev years to the present.
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Near Andersonville
Winslow Homer’s Civil War
Peter H. Wood
Harvard University Press, 2010

The admired American painter Winslow Homer rose to national attention during the Civil War. But one of his most important early images remained unknown for a century. The renowned artist is best known for depicting ships and sailors, hunters and fishermen, rural vignettes and coastal scenes. Yet he also created some of the first serious black figures in American art. Near Andersonville (1865–66) is the earliest and least known of these impressive images.

Peter Wood, a leading expert on Homer’s images of blacks, reveals the long-hidden story of this remarkable Civil War painting. His brisk narrative locates the picture in southwest Georgia in August 1864 and provides its military and political context. Wood underscores the agony of the Andersonville prison camp and highlights a huge but little-known cavalry foray ordered by General Sherman as he laid siege to Atlanta. Homer’s image takes viewers “behind enemy lines” to consider the utter failure of “Stoneman’s Raid” from the perspective of an enslaved black Southerner.

By examining the interplay of symbolic elements, Wood reveals a picture pregnant with meaning. He links it to Abraham Lincoln’s presidential campaign of 1864 and underscores the enduring importance of Homer’s thoughtful black woman. The painter adopted a bottom-up perspective on slavery and emancipation that most scholars needed another century to discover. By integrating art and history, Wood’s provocative study gives us a fresh vantage point on Homer’s early career, the struggle to end slavery, and the dramatic closing years of the Civil War.

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No Laughing Matter
Visual Humor in Ideas of Race, Nationality, and Ethnicity
Edited by Angela Rosenthal, David Bindman, and Adrian W. B. Randolph
Dartmouth College Press, 2015
In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, this collection—which gathers scholars in the fields of race, ethnicity, and humor—seems especially urgent. Inspired by Denmark’s Muhammad cartoons controversy, the contributors inquire into the role that racial and ethnic stereotypes play in visual humor and the thin line that separates broad characterization as a source of humor from its power to shock or exploit. The authors investigate the ways in which humor is used to demean or give identity to racial, national, or ethnic groups and explore how humor works differently in different media, such as cartoons, photographs, film, video, television, and physical performance. This is a timely and necessary study that will appeal to scholars across disciplines.
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NO Rhetoric(s)
Versions and Subversions of Resistance in Contemporary Global Art
Edited by Sara Alonso Gómez, Isabel J. Piniella Grillet, Nadia Radwan, and Elena Rosauro
Diaphanes, 2021
An incisive examination of the intersection of global art and political resistance.

NO Rhetoric(s) examines a subject intensely debated during the last three decades but rarely a topic of its own: art as an agent of resistance, whether as a rhetorical stance or critical strategy. In the face of today’s discourse on revolt and insurrection, it is necessary to ask whether the gesture of “negation” still has an emancipatory potential. NO Rhetoric(s) contributes a deeper understanding of the different logics of resistance at play between art and politics. Showcasing a diverse array of voices, this volume presents contributions on topics as varied as sexual dissidence, ecology, and geopolitics in the digital age. Through this interdisciplinary show of force, the collected authors, artists, and scholars shed light on how art approaches the most urgent issues facing today’s society.
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Nothing Ever Dies
Vietnam and the Memory of War
Viet Thanh Nguyen
Harvard University Press, 2016

Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award
Finalist, National Book Award in Nonfiction
A New York Times Book Review “The Year in Reading” Selection

All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory. From the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Sympathizer comes a searching exploration of the conflict Americans call the Vietnam War and Vietnamese call the American War—a conflict that lives on in the collective memory of both nations.

“[A] gorgeous, multifaceted examination of the war Americans call the Vietnam War—and which Vietnamese call the American War…As a writer, [Nguyen] brings every conceivable gift—wisdom, wit, compassion, curiosity—to the impossible yet crucial work of arriving at what he calls ‘a just memory’ of this war.”
—Kate Tuttle, Los Angeles Times

“In Nothing Ever Dies, his unusually thoughtful consideration of war, self-deception and forgiveness, Viet Thanh Nguyen penetrates deeply into memories of the Vietnamese war…[An] important book, which hits hard at self-serving myths.”
—Jonathan Mirsky, Literary Review

“Ultimately, Nguyen’s lucid, arresting, and richly sourced inquiry, in the mode of Susan Sontag and W. G. Sebald, is a call for true and just stories of war and its perpetual legacy.”
—Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

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Ovid before Exile
Art and Punishment in the Metamorphoses
Patricia Johnson
University of Wisconsin Press
The epic Metamorphoses, Ovid’s most renowned work, has regained its stature among the masterpieces of great poets such as Vergil, Horace, and Tibullus. Yet its irreverent tone and bold defiance of generic boundaries set the Metamorphoses apart from its contemporaries. Ovid before Exile provides a compelling new reading of the epic, examining the text in light of circumstances surrounding the final years of Augustus’ reign, a time when a culture of poets and patrons was in sharp decline, discouraging and even endangering artistic freedom of expression.
    Patricia J. Johnson demonstrates how the production of art—specifically poetry—changed dramatically during the reign of Augustus. By Ovid’s final decade in Rome, the atmosphere for artistic work had transformed, leading to a drop in poetic production of quality. Johnson shows how Ovid, in the episodes of artistic creation that anchor his Metamorphoses, responded to his audience and commented on artistic circumstances in Rome.
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Phenomenology for Actors
Theatre-Making and the Question of Being
Daniel Johnston
Intellect Books, 2021
A valuable new touchstone for phenomenology and performance as research.

In this book, Daniel Johnston examines how phenomenology can describe, analyze, and inspire theater-making. Each chapter introduces themes to guide the creative process through objects, bodies, spaces, time, history, freedom, and authenticity. Key examples in the work are drawn from Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, Sophocles’ Antigone, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Practical tasks throughout explore how the theatrical event can offer unique insights into being and existence, as Johnston’s philosophical perspective shines a light on broader existential issues of being. In this way, the book makes a bold contribution to the study of acting as an embodied form of philosophy and reveals how phenomenology can be a rich source of creativity for actors, directors, designers, and collaborators in the performance process.

Brimming with insight into the practice and theory of acting, this original new work stimulates new approaches to rehearsal and sees theater-making as capable of speaking back to philosophical discourse.
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Poetics of Repair
Artistic Afterlives of Colonial-Era Mass Housing in the Maghreb
Katarzyna Pieprzak
Duke University Press, 2025

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Poetries - Politics
A Celebration of Language, Art, and Learning
Jenevieve DeLosSantos
Rutgers University Press, 2023
Poetries – Politics: A Celebration of Language, Art, and Learning celebrates the best of innovative humanities pedagogy and creative graphic design. Designed and implemented during a time of political divisiveness, the Poetries – Politics project created a space of inviting, multilingual walls on the Rutgers campus, celebrating diversity, community, and cross-cultural exchange. This book, like the original project, provides a platform for the incredible generative power of student-led work. Essays feature the perspectives of three students and professors originally involved in the project, reflecting on their learning and exploring the works they selected for the original exhibition. The essays lead to a beautifully illustrated catalogue of the original student designs.

Reproduced in full color and with the accompanying poems in both their original language and a translation, this catalogue commemorates the incredible creative spirit of the project and provides a new way of contemplating these great poetic works.
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Poor Things
How Those with Money Depict Those without It
Lennard J. Davis
Duke University Press, 2024
For generations most of the canonical works that detail the lives of poor people have been created by rich or middle-class writers like Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck, or James Agee. This has resulted in overwhelming depictions of poor people as living abject, violent lives in filthy and degrading conditions. In Poor Things, Lennard J. Davis labels this genre “poornography”—distorted narratives of poverty written by and for the middle and upper classes. Davis shows how poornography creates harmful and dangerous stereotypes that build barriers to social justice and change. To remedy this, Davis argues, poor people should write realistic depictions of themselves but because of representational inequality they cannot. Given the obstacles of the poor accessing the means of publication, Davis suggests that the work should, at least for now, be done by “transclass” writers who were once poor and who can accurately represent poverty without relying on stereotypes and clichés. Only then can the lived experience of poverty be more fully realized.
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Portraits of Remembrance
Painting, Memory, and the First World War
Edited by Margaret Hutchison and Steven Trout
University of Alabama Press, 2020
Interdisciplinary collection of essays on fine art painting as it relates to the First World War and commemoration of the conflict
 
Although photography and moving pictures achieved ubiquity during the First World War as technological means of recording history, the far more traditional medium of paint­ing played a vital role in the visual culture of combatant nations. The public’s appetite for the kind of up-close frontline action that snapshots and film footage could not yet pro­vide resulted in a robust market for drawn or painted battle scenes.
 
Painting also figured significantly in the formation of collective war memory after the armistice. Paintings became sites of memory in two ways: first, many governments and communities invested in freestanding pan­oramas or cycloramas that depicted the war or featured murals as components of even larger commemorative projects, and second, certain paintings, whether created by official artists or simply by those moved to do so, emerged over time as visual touchstones in the public’s understanding of the war.
 
Portraits of Remembrance: Painting, Memory, and the First World War examines the relationship between war painting and collective memory in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and the United States. The paintings discussed vary tremendously, ranging from public murals and panoramas to works on a far more intimate scale, including modernist masterpieces and crowd-pleasing expressions of sentimentality or spiritualism. Contribu­tors raise a host of topics in connection with the volume’s overarching focus on memory, including national identity, constructions of gender, historical accuracy, issues of aesthetic taste, and connections between painting and literature, as well as other cultural forms.
 
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Power to the People
The Graphic Design of the Radical Press and the Rise of the Counter-Culture, 1964-1974
Geoff Kaplan
University of Chicago Press, 2013
Though we think of the 1960s and the early ‘70s as a time of radical social, cultural, and political upheaval, we tend to picture the action as happening on campuses and in the streets. Yet the rise of the underground newspaper was equally daring and original. Thanks to advances in cheap offset printing, groups involved in antiwar, civil rights, and other social liberation issues began to spread their messages through provocatively designed newspapers and broadsheets. This vibrant new media was essential to the counterculture revolution as a whole—helping to motivate the masses and proliferate ideas. Power to the People presents more than 700 full-color images and excerpts from these astonishing publications, many of which have not been seen since they were first published almost fifty years ago.
 
From the psychedelic pages of the Oracle, Haight-Ashbury’s paper of choice, to the fiery editorials of the Black Panther Party Paper, these papers were remarkable for their editors’ fervent belief in freedom of expression and their DIY philosophy. They were also extraordinary for their graphic innovations. Experimental typography and wildly inventive layouts reflect an alternative media culture as much informed by the space age, television, and socialism as it was by the great trinity of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. Assembled by renowned graphic designer Geoff Kaplan, Power to the People pays homage in its layout to the radical press. Beyond its unparalleled images, Power to the People includes essays by Gwen Allen, Bob Ostertag, and Fred Turner, as well as a series of recollections edited by Pamela M. Lee, all of which comment on the critical impact of the alternative press in the social and popular movements of those turbulent years. Power to the People treats the design practices of that moment as activism in its own right that offers a vehement challenge to the dominance of official media and a critical form of self-representation.
 
No other book surveys in such variety the highly innovative graphic design of the underground press, and certainly no other book captures the era with such an unmatched eye toward its aesthetic and look. Power to the People is not just a major compendium of art from the ’60s and ’70s—it showcases how the radical media graphically fashioned the image of a countercultural revolution that still resounds to this day.

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Reckoning with Millet's "Man with a Hoe," 1863–1900
Scott Allan
J. Paul Getty Trust, The, 2023
A revelatory exploration of one of Jean-François Millet’s most contentious paintings.

A monumentalizing portrayal of a peasant bowed over by brutal toil, Man with a Hoe (1860–62) by Jean-François Millet (1814–1875) is arguably the most art historically significant painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum’s collection of nineteenth-century European art. This volume situates the work in the arc of Millet’s career and traces its fascinating and contentious reception, from its scandalous debut at the 1863 Paris Salon to the years following its acquisition by American collectors in the 1890s. The essays examine the painting’s tumultuous public life, beginning in France, where critics attacked it on aesthetic and political grounds as a radical realist provocation; through its transformative movement in the art market during the remaining years of the artist’s life and following his death; to its highly publicized arrival in California as a celebrated masterpiece. In the United States it was enlisted to serve philanthropic interests, became the subject of a popular poem, and once again became embroiled in controversy, in this case one that was strongly inflected by American racial politics. This is the first publication dedicated to the work since its acquisition by the Getty Museum in 1985.

This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from September 12 to December 10, 2023.
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Risk Work
Making Art and Guerrilla Tactics in Punitive America, 1967–1987
Faye Raquel Gleisser
University of Chicago Press, 2023
How artists in the US starting in the 1960s came to use guerrilla tactics in performance and conceptual art, maneuvering policing, racism, and surveillance.
 
As US news covered anticolonialist resistance abroad and urban rebellions at home, and as politicians mobilized the perceived threat of “guerrilla warfare” to justify increased police presence nationwide, artists across the country began adopting guerrilla tactics in performance and conceptual art. Risk Work tells the story of how artists’ experimentation with physical and psychological interference from the late 1960s through the late 1980s reveals the complex and enduring relationship between contemporary art, state power, and policing.
 
Focusing on instances of arrest or potential arrest in art by Chris Burden, Adrian Piper, Jean Toche, Tehching Hsieh, Pope.L, the Guerrilla Girls, Asco, and PESTS, Faye Raquel Gleisser analyzes the gendered, sexualized, and racial politics of risk-taking that are overlooked in prevailing, white-centered narratives of American art. Drawing on art history and sociology as well as performance, prison, and Black studies, Gleisser argues that artists’ anticipation of state-sanctioned violence invokes the concept of “punitive literacy,” a collectively formed understanding of how to protect oneself and others in a carceral society.
 
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Russian Performances
Word, Object, Action
Edited by Julie A. Buckler, Julie A. Cassiday, and Boris Wolfson
University of Wisconsin Press, 2018
Throughout its modern history, Russia has seen a succession of highly performative social acts that play out prominently in the public sphere. This innovative volume brings the fields of performance studies and Russian studies into dialog for the first time and shows that performance is a vital means for understanding Russia's culture from the reign of Peter the Great to the era of Putin. These twenty-seven essays encompass a diverse range of topics, from dance and classical music to live poetry and from viral video to public jubilees and political protest. As a whole they comprise an integrated, compelling intervention in Russian studies.

Challenging the primacy of the written word in this field, the volume fosters a larger intellectual community informed by theories and practices of performance from anthropology, art history, dance studies, film studies, cultural and social history, literary studies, musicology, political science, theater studies, and sociology.
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See You in the Streets
Art, Action, and Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
Ruth Sergel
University of Iowa Press, 2016
2017 American Book Award Winner from the Before Columbus Foundation 

In 1911, a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City took the lives of 146 workers, most of them young immigrant women and girls. Their deaths galvanized a movement for social and economic justice then, but today’s laborers continue to battle dire working conditions. How can we bring the lessons of the Triangle fire back into practice today? For artist Ruth Sergel, the answer was to fuse art, activism, and collective memory to create a large-scale public commemoration that invites broad participation and incites civic engagement. See You in the Streets showcases her work.

It all began modestly in 2004 with Chalk, an invitation to all New Yorkers to remember the 146 victims of the fire by inscribing their names and ages in chalk in front of their former homes. This project inspired Sergel to found the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition, a broad alliance of artists and activists, universities and unions—more than 250 partners nationwide—to mark the 2011 centennial of the infamous blaze. Putting the coalition together and figuring what to do and how to do it were not easy. This book provides a lively account of the unexpected partnerships, false steps, joyous collective actions, and sustainability of such large public works. Much more than an object lesson from the past, See You in the Streets offers an exuberant perspective on building a social art practice and doing public history through argument and agitation, creativity and celebration with an engaged public. 
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Sentinel
The Unlikely Origins of the Statue of Liberty
Francesca Lidia Viano
Harvard University Press, 2018

The story of the improbable campaign that created America’s most enduring monument.

The Statue of Liberty is an icon of freedom, a monument to America’s multiethnic democracy, and a memorial to Franco-American friendship. That much we know. But the lofty ideals we associate with the statue today can obscure its turbulent origins and layers of meaning. Francesca Lidia Viano reveals that history in the fullest account yet of the people and ideas that brought the lady of the harbor to life.

Our protagonists are the French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and his collaborator, the politician and intellectual Édouard de Laboulaye. Viano draws on an unprecedented range of sources to follow the pair as they chase their artistic and political ambitions across a global stage dominated by imperial rivalry and ideological ferment. The tale stretches from the cobblestones of northeastern France, through the hallways of international exhibitions in London and Paris, to the copper mines of Norway and Chile, the battlegrounds of the Franco-Prussian War, the deserts of Egypt, and the streets of New York. It features profound technical challenges, hot air balloon rides, secret “magnetic” séances, and grand visions of a Franco-American partnership in the coming world order. The irrepressible collaborators bring to their project the high ideals of liberalism and republicanism, but also crude calculations of national advantage and eccentric notions adopted from orientalism, freemasonry, and Saint-Simonianism.

As entertaining as it is illuminating, Sentinel gives new flesh and spirit to a landmark we all recognize but only dimly understand.

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Shadows, Specters, Shards
Making History in Avant-Garde Film
Jeffrey Skoller
University of Minnesota Press, 2005
Avant-garde films are often dismissed as obscure or disconnected from the realities of social and political history. Jeffrey Skoller challenges this myth, arguing that avant-garde films more accurately display the complex interplay between past events and our experience of the present than conventional documentaries and historical films. Shadows, Specters, Shards examines a group of experimental films, including work by Eleanor Antin, Ernie Gehr, and Jean-Luc Godard, that take up historical events such as the Holocaust, Latin American independence struggles, and urban politics. Identifying a cinema of evocation rather than representation, these films call attention to the unrepresentable aspects of history that profoundly impact the experience of everyday life. Making use of the critical theories of Walter Benjamin and Gilles Deleuze, among others, Skoller analyzes various narrative strategies - allegory, sideshadowing, testimony, and multiple temporalities - that uncover competing perspectives and gaps in historical knowledge often ignored in conventional film. In his discussion of avant-garde film of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, Skoller reveals how a nuanced understanding of the past is inextricably linked to the artistry of image making and storytelling.
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Shapely Bodies
The Image of Porcelain in Eighteenth-Century France
Christine A. Jones
University of Delaware Press, 2013

Shapely Bodies: The Image of Porcelain in Eighteenth-Century France constructs the first cultural history of porcelain making in France. It takes its title from two types of “bodies” treated in this study: the craft of porcelain making shaped clods of earth into a clay body to produce high-end commodities and the French elite shaped human bodies into social subjects with the help of makeup, stylish patterns, and accessories. These practices crossed paths in the work of artisans, whose luxury objects reflected and also influenced the curves of fashion in the eighteenth century.

French artisans began trials to reproduce fine Chinese porcelain in the 1660s. The challenge proved impossible until they found an essential ingredient, kaolin, in French soil in the 1760s. Shapely Bodies differs from other studies of French porcelain in that it does not begin in the 1760s at the Sèvres manufactory when it became technically possible to produce fine porcelain in France, but instead ends there. Without the secret of Chinese porcelain, artisans in France turned to radical forms of experimentation. Over the first half of the eighteenth century, they invented artificial alternatives to Chinese porcelain, decorated them with French style, and, with equal determination, shaped an identity for their new trade that distanced it from traditional guild-crafts and aligned it with scientific invention. The back story of porcelain making before kaolin provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of artisanal innovation and cultural mythmaking.

To write artificial porcelain into a history of “real” porcelain dominated by China, Japan, and Meissen in Saxony, French porcelainiers learned to describe their new commodity in language that tapped into national pride and the mythic power of French savoir faire. Artificial porcelain cut such a fashionable image that by the mid-eighteenth century, Louis XV appropriated it for the glory of the crown. When the monarchy ended, revolutionaries reclaimed French porcelain, the fruit of a century of artisanal labor, for the Republic. Tracking how the porcelain arts were depicted in documents and visual arts during one hundred years of experimentation, Shapely Bodies reveals the politics behind the making of French porcelain’s image.

Published by University of Delaware Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
 
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Shopping
Material Culture Perspectives
Deborah C. Andrews
University of Delaware Press, 2015
The degree to which shopping, or, more broadly, consumerism, is both critiqued and defended in American society confirms the role that commercial goods play in our daily lives. This collection of essays provides case studies depicting selected aspects of this engaging activity. The authors include several historians with diverging specialties: an art historian, an anthropologist, an environmental journalist, a geographer and urban planner, and practicing artists. Each author demonstrates how a material culture perspective—a focus on the relationship between people and their things—can illuminate a specific corner of consumption. Connecting the essays are concerns about the spaces in which shopping occurs; about the experience of shopping itself, both individual and social; and about its economic, environmental, and personal downsides. Collectively, these essays demonstrate how a material culture perspective on shopping yields insights into multiple aspects of American culture.

Published by University of Delaware Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
 
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The Situationist International
A Critical Handbook
Alastair Hemmens
Pluto Press, 2020
Formed amidst the incendiary violence and political turmoil of the 1960s, beyond the barricades, the Situationist International (SI) remains to this day influential in anti-capitalist cultural, political and philosophical debates. 

Looking at philosophy, sociology, critical theory, art, architecture and literature, The Situationist International is an up-to-date and comprehensive survey of the SI and its thought. Leading thinkers analyze the SI's interdisciplinary challenges, its roots in the artistic avant-garde and the traditional workers' movements, its engagement with the problems of postcolonialism and issues of gender and sexuality.

Including contributions from key thinkers, including Anselm Jappe and Michael Lowy, as well as new and upcoming scholars, The Situationist International unpacks the complexity of a group that has come to define radical politics and culture in the postwar period. 
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The Sixties, Center Stage
Mainstream and Popular Performances in a Turbulent Decade
Edited by James M. Harding and Cindy Rosenthal
University of Michigan Press, 2017
The Sixties, Center Stage offers rich insights into the innovative and provocative political underpinnings of mainstream and popular performances in the 1960s. While much critical attention has been focused on experimental and radical theater of the period, the essays confirm that mainstream performances not only merit more scholarly attention than they have received, but through serious examination provide an important key to understanding the 1960s as a period.
 
The introduction provides a broad overview of the social, political, and cultural contexts of artistic practices in mainstream theater from the mid-fifties to mid-seventies. Readers will find detailed examinations of the mainstream’s surprising attention to craft and innovation; to the rich exchange between European and American theatres; to the rise of regional theaters; and finally, to popular cultural performances that pushed the conceptual boundaries of mainstream institutions. The book looks afresh at productions of Hair, Cabaret, Raisin in the Sun, and Fiddler on the Roof, as well as German theater, and performances outside the Democratic National Convention of 1968.
 

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Sovereign Acts
Performing Race, Space, and Belonging in Panama and the Canal Zone
Zien, Katherine A.
Rutgers University Press, 2017
Winner of the 2018 Gordon K. and Sybil Farrell Lewis Book Prize from the Caribbean Studies Association
Winner of the 2017 Annual Book Prize from the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CALACS)​


Sovereign Acts explores how artists, activists, and audiences performed and interpreted sovereignty struggles in the Panama Canal Zone, from the Canal Zone’s inception in 1903 to its dissolution in 1999. In popular entertainments and patriotic pageants, opera concerts and national theatre, white U.S. citizens, West Indian laborers, and Panamanian artists and activists used performance as a way to assert their right to the Canal Zone and challenge the Zone’s sovereignty, laying claim to the Zone’s physical space and imagined terrain. 

By demonstrating the place of performance in the U.S. Empire’s legal landscape, Katherine A. Zien transforms our understanding of U.S. imperialism and its aftermath in the Panama Canal Zone and the larger U.S.-Caribbean world. 
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Studies into Darkness
The Perils and Promise of Freedom of Speech
Edited by Carin Kuoni and Laura Raicovich
Amherst College Press, 2022
There have been few times in US American history when the very concept of freedom of speech—its promise and its contradictions—has been under greater scrutiny. Guided by acclaimed artist, filmmaker, and activist Amar Kanwar, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School convened a series of public seminars on freedom of speech with the participation of some of the most original thinkers and artists on the topic. Structured as an open curriculum, each seminar examined a particular aspect of freedom of speech, reflecting on and informed by recent debates around hate speech, censorship, sexism, and racism in the US and elsewhere. Studies into Darkness emerges from these seminars as a collection of newly commissioned texts, artist projects, and resources that delve into the intricacies of free speech. Providing a practical and historical guide to free speech discourse and in-depth investigations that extend far beyond the current moment, and featuring poetic responses to the crises present in contemporary culture and society around expression, this publication provocatively questions whether true communication is ever attainable.

Contributions by Zach Blas, Mark Bray, Natalie Diaz, Aruna D’Souza, Silvia Federici and Gabriela López Dena, Jeanne van Heeswijk, shawné michaelain holloway, Prathibha Kanakamedala and Obden Mondésir, Amar Kanwar, Carin Kuoni, Lyndon, Debora, and Abou, Svetlana Mintcheva, Mendi + Keith Obadike, Vanessa Place, Laura Raicovich, Michael Rakowitz, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, and Nabiha Syed.
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Sustainable Utopias
The Art and Politics of Hope in Germany
Jennifer L. Allen
Harvard University Press, 2022

To reclaim a sense of hope for the future, German activists in the late twentieth century engaged ordinary citizens in innovative projects that resisted alienation and disenfranchisement.

By most accounts, the twentieth century was not kind to utopian thought. The violence of two world wars, Cold War anxieties, and a widespread sense of crisis after the 1973 global oil shock appeared to doom dreams of a better world. The eventual victory of capitalism and, seemingly, liberal democracy relieved some fears but exchanged them for complacency and cynicism.

Not, however, in West Germany. Jennifer Allen showcases grassroots activism of the 1980s and 1990s that envisioned a radically different society based on community-centered politics—a society in which the democratization of culture and power ameliorated alienation and resisted the impotence of end-of-history narratives. Berlin’s History Workshop liberated research from university confines by providing opportunities for ordinary people to write and debate the story of the nation. The Green Party made the politics of direct democracy central to its program. Artists changed the way people viewed and acted in public spaces by installing objects in unexpected environments, including the Stolpersteine: paving stones, embedded in residential sidewalks, bearing the names of Nazi victims. These activists went beyond just trafficking in ideas. They forged new infrastructures, spaces, and behaviors that gave everyday people real agency in their communities. Undergirding this activism was the environmentalist concept of sustainability, which demanded that any alternative to existing society be both enduring and adaptable.

A rigorous but inspiring tale of hope in action, Sustainable Utopias makes the case that it is still worth believing in human creativity and the labor of citizenship.

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Take Heart
Encouragement for Earth’s Weary Lovers
Kathleen Dean Moore
Oregon State University Press, 2022
Earth’s weary lovers are tired, perplexed, and battered from all directions. Their hearts have so often been broken. It’s hard to go on, but it is morally impossible to quit. How do Earth’s protectors find the heart to continue the struggle?

To this question, environmental philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore and Canadian artist Bob Haverluck bring twenty-two life-affirming essays and drawings. Their entwined art offers pluck, stubborn resolve, and even some laughter to those who have for years been working for environmental sanity, social justice, and ecological thriving.

What Moore and Haverluck offer is encouragement to join or keep on with Earth’s work—not distractions, but deep and honest reasons to remember that the struggle matters. Rather than another to-do list or an empty promise of hope, Take Heart is a thank-you gift to the multitudes of Earth’s defenders. Inside its pages, they will find reason to take heart.

Taking heart is not hope exactly, but maybe it’s courage. Not solutions to the planetary crisis, but some modest advice for the inevitable crisis of the heart. A rueful grin, and gratitude to be part of this strange and necessary work for the endangered Earth.
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Taking African Cartoons Seriously
Politics, Satire, and Culture
Peter Limb
Michigan State University Press, 2018
Cartoonists make us laugh—and think—by caricaturing daily events and politics. The essays, interviews, and cartoons presented in this innovative book vividly demonstrate the rich diversity of cartooning across Africa and highlight issues facing its cartoonists today, such as sociopolitical trends, censorship, and use of new technologies. Celebrated African cartoonists including Zapiro of South Africa, Gado of Kenya, and Asukwo of Nigeria join top scholars and a new generation of scholar-cartoonists from the fields of literature, comic studies and fine arts, animation studies, social sciences, and history to take the analysis of African cartooning forward. Taking African Cartoons Seriously presents critical thematic studies to chart new approaches to how African cartoonists trade in fun, irony, and satire. The book brings together the traditional press editorial cartoon with rapidly diverging subgenres of the art in the graphic novel and animation, and applications on social media. Interviews with bold and successful cartoonists provide insights into their work, their humor, and the dilemmas they face. This book will delight and inform readers from all backgrounds, providing a highly readable and visual introduction to key cartoonists and styles, as well as critical engagement with current themes to show where African political cartooning is going and why.
 
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Theater & Propaganda
By George H. Szanto
University of Texas Press, 1978

This original and insightful study explores the points at which theater and propaganda meet. Defining propaganda as a form of "activated ideology," George H. Szanto discusses the distortion of information that occurs in dramatic literature in its stage, film, and television forms.

Szanto analyzes the nature of "integration propaganda," which is designed to render the audience passive and to encourage the acceptance of the status quo, as opposed to "agitation propaganda," which aims to inspire the audience to action. In Szanto's view, most popular western theater is saturated, though usually not intentionally, with integration propaganda. The overall purpose of Theater and Propaganda is twofold: to analyze the nature of integration propaganda so that it becomes visible to western readers as a tool of the dominant class in society, and to examine the manner by which unself-conscious propagandistic methods have saturated dramatic presentation.

In discussing the importance of propaganda within and between technological states, the author examines the seminal work of Jacques Ellul. In this chapter he analyzes the function of integration propaganda in a relatively stable society. The following chapter defines and analyzes three theaters (in the sense of performance) of propaganda: the theater of agitation propaganda, of integration propaganda, and of dialectical propaganda. In this section he uses examples from a variety of plays, movies, and television commercials. In succeeding chapters Szanto discusses the role of integration propaganda in the medieval Wakefield mystery plays and the plays of Samuel Beckett. The appendix, "Contradiction and Demystification," provides a general model that suggests ways of breaking down and overcoming the propagandistic intentions of an artwork and discusses theater's possible role in this breakdown.

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Thinking - Resisting - Reading the Political
Current Perspectives on Politics and Communities in the Arts Vol. 2
Edited by Anneka Esch-van Kan, Stephan Packard, and Philipp Schulte
Diaphanes, 2013
This volume contrasts a number of recently suggested concepts of the political – each of which connects to certain instances of art and literature in its discourse – with questions concerning the rigidity of those connections: How strongly do such claims to politics depend on their specific examples, what is the scope of their validity to understand art with regard to politics, and how can they help us grasp the political within other pieces of art? In each case, manners of thinking concepts of the political, the mutual resistance of such concepts and their academic treatment, and the turn towards specific readings informed by those concepts converge.

The essays collected in “Thinking Resistances. Current Perspectives on Politics, Community, and Art“ engage with political phenomena in their interrelations with arts as well as with recent theoretical and philosophical perspectives on the very meaning of politics, the political, and community.
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Touched Bodies
The Performative Turn in Latin American Art
Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra
Rutgers University Press, 2019
Shortlisted for the 2020 Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present Book Prize​
Winner of the 2019 Art Journal Prize from the College Art Association

What is the role of pleasure and pain in the politics of art? In Touched Bodies, Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra approaches this question as she examines the flourishing of live and intermedial performance in Latin America during times of authoritarianism and its significance during transitions to democracy. Based on original documents and innovative readings, her book brings politics and ethics to the discussion of artistic developments during the “long 1980s”. She describes the rise of performance art in the context of feminism, HIV-activism, and human right movements, taking a close look at the work of Diamela Eltit and Raúl Zurita from Chile, León Ferrari and Liliana Maresca from Argentina, and Marcos Kurtycz, the No Grupo art collective, and Proceso Pentágono from Mexico. The comparative study of the work of these artists attests to a performative turn in Latin American art during the 1980s that, like photography and film before, recast the artistic field as a whole, changing the ways in which we perceive art and understand its role in society.
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United by AIDS
An Anthology on Art in Response to HIV/AIDS
Edited by Raphael Gygax and Heike Munder
Scheidegger and Spiess, 2019
The appearance of HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s and its subsequent rapid spread left deep marks on society. Artists and activists across the world responded to both the illness itself and its effects with moving work that reflects on loss, remembrance, and activism in art.

United by AIDS sheds light on the multifaceted and complex interrelation between art and HIV/AIDS from the 1980s to the present. Published to accompany an exhibition at Zurich’s Migros Museum of Contemporary Art, it looks at the blurred lines between art production and HIV/AIDS activism and showcases artists who played—and still play—leading roles in this discourse. Alongside fifty illustrations of important works, including many in color, the book includes brief texts on the featured artists and essays by Douglas Crimp, Alexander García Düttmann, Raphael Gygax, Elsa Himmer, Ted Kerr, Elisabeth Lebovici, and Nurja Ritter.
 
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Visual Futures
Exploring the Past, Present, and Divergent Possibilities of Visual Practice
Edited by Tracey Bowen and Brett Caraway
Intellect Books, 2021
A collection of thoughtful and incisive examinations of how we interact and engage with the visual elements of our environments. 

In our everyday lives, we navigate a vast sea of visual imagery. Yet we rarely consider systematically how or why we derive meaning from this sea of the visual. Nor do we typically contemplate the effect it has on our motivations and actions as individuals and collectives. Visual Futures provides a new lens through which to analyze and challenge established perspectives, norms, and practices surrounding the visual. 

This edited collection ruminates on how visuality and the visual provoke a new kind of cultural exchange and explores the relationships, intersections, and collisions between visuality and visual practices and one (or a combination) of the following: embodiment, spatial literacy, emerging languages, historical reflection, educative practices, civic development, and social development. 
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The Visual Is Political
Feminist Photography and Countercultural Activity in 1970s Britain
Na'ama Klorman-Eraqi
Rutgers University Press, 2019
The Visual is Political examines the growth of feminist photography as it unfolded in Britain during the 1970s and 1980s. This period in Britain was marked by instability following the collapse of the welfare state, massive unemployment, race riots, and workers’ strikes. However, this was also a time in which various forms of social activism emerged or solidified, including the Women’s Movement, whose members increasingly turned to photography as a tool for their political activism. Rather than focusing on the aesthetic quality of the images produced, Klorman-Eraqi looks at the application of feminist theory, photojournalism, advertising, photo montage, punk subculture and aesthetics, and politicized street activity to emphasize the statement and challenge that the photographic language of these works posed. She shows both the utilitarian uses of photography in activism, but also how these same photographers went on to be accepted (or co-opted) into the mainstream art spaces little by little, sometimes with great controversy. The Visual is Political highlights the relevance and impact of an earlier contentious, creative, and politicized moment of feminism and photography as art and activism.
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A War of Colors
Graffiti and Street Art in Postwar Beirut
Nadine A. Sinno
University of Texas Press, 2024

Demonstrates the role of Beirut’s postwar graffiti and street art in transforming the cityscape and animating resistance.

Over the last two decades in Beirut, graffiti makers have engaged in a fierce “war of colors,” seeking to disrupt and transform the city’s physical and social spaces. In A War of Colors, Nadine Sinno examines how graffiti and street art have been used in postwar Beirut to comment on the rapidly changing social dynamics of the country and region. Analyzing how graffiti makers can reclaim and transform cityscapes that were damaged or monopolized by militias during the war, Sinno explores graffiti’s other roles, including forging civic engagement, commemorating cultural icons, protesting political corruption and environmental violence, and animating resistance. In addition, she argues that graffiti making can offer voices to those who are often marginalized, especially women and LGBTQ people. Copiously illustrated with images of graffiti and street art, A War of Colors is a visually captivating and thought-provoking journey through Beirut, where local and global discourses intersect on both scarred and polished walls in the city.

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We Take Care of Our Own
Faith, Class, and Politics in the Art of Bruce Springsteen
June Skinner Sawyers
Rutgers University Press, 2024
We Take Care of Our Own traces the evolution of Bruce Springsteen’s beliefs, beginning with his New Jersey childhood and ending with his most recent works from Springsteen on Broadway to Letter to You. The author follows the singer’s life, examining his albums and a variety of influences (both musical and non-musical), especially his Catholic upbringing and his family life, to show how he became an outspoken icon for working-class America -- indeed for working class life throughout the world. In this way, the author emphasizes the universality of Springsteen’s canon and depicts how a working-class sensibility can apply to anyone anywhere who believes in fairness and respect. In addition, the author places Springsteen in the historical context not only of literature (especially John Steinbeck) but also in the art world (specifically the work of Thomas Hart Benton and Edward Hopper). Among the themes explored in the book include community, a sense of place, America as the Promised Land, the myth of the West, and, ultimately, mortality.
 
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