In this book, art historian Darby English explores the year 1971, when two exhibitions opened that brought modernist painting and sculpture into the burning heart of United States cultural politics: Contemporary Black Artists in America, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and The DeLuxe Show, a racially integrated abstract art exhibition presented in a renovated movie theater in a Houston ghetto.
1971: A Year in the Life of Color looks at many black artists’ desire to gain freedom from overt racial representation, as well as their efforts—and those of their advocates—to further that aim through public exhibition. Amid calls to define a “black aesthetic,” these experiments with modernist art prioritized cultural interaction and instability. Contemporary Black Artists in America highlighted abstraction as a stance against normative approaches, while The DeLuxe Show positioned abstraction in a center of urban blight. The importance of these experiments, English argues, came partly from color’s special status as a cultural symbol and partly from investigations of color already under way in late modern art and criticism. With their supporters, black modernists—among them Peter Bradley, Frederick Eversley, Alvin Loving, Raymond Saunders, and Alma Thomas—rose above the demand to represent or be represented, compromising nothing in their appeals for interracial collaboration and, above all, responding with optimism rather than cynicism to the surrounding culture’s preoccupation with color.
Recognizing that a work of art is the product of a particular time and place as much as it is the creation of an individual, Duby provides a sweeping survey of the changing mentalities of the Middle Ages as reflected in the art and architecture of the period.
"If Age of the Cathedrals has a fault, it is that Professor Duby knows too much, has too many new ideas and takes such a delight in setting them out. . . insights whiz to and fro like meteorites."—John Russell, New York Times Book Review
Angel De Cora (c. 1870–1919) was a Native Ho-Chunk artist who received relative acclaim during her lifetime. Karen Thronson (1850–1929) was a Norwegian settler housewife who created crafts and folk art in obscurity along with the other women of her small immigrant community. The immigration of Thronson and her family literally maps over the De Cora family’s forced migration across Wisconsin, Iowa, and onto the plains of Nebraska and Kansas. Tracing the parallel lives of these two women artists at the turn of the twentieth century, art historian Elizabeth Sutton reveals how their stories intersected and diverged in the American Midwest.
By examining the creations of these two artists, Sutton shows how each woman produced art or handicrafts that linked her new home to her homeland. Both women had to navigate and negotiate between asserting their authentic self and the expectations placed on them by others in their new locations. The result is a fascinating story of two women that speaks to universal themes of Native displacement, settler conquest, and the connection between art and place.
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
The New York City subway, considered an engineering feat and a work of art, has kindled the imagination of millions. Art and the Subway explores artistic production surrounding the world's most famous public transportation system, from just before its opening in 1904 to the present day. Using a stunning array of images, Tracy Fitzpatrick offers perspectives on ways in which the subway has been used as a subject about which to make art, as a site within which to make art, and as a canvas upon which to make art.
Fitzpatrick captures the emotions of artists and riders alike, as she explores paintings, photographs, performance art, graffiti, and public art by artists such as Walker Evans, Bruce Davidson, DONDI, Keith Haring, Yayoi Kusama, Jacob Lawrence, Reginald Marsh, Elizabeth Murray, and many others. She also considers representations of the subway in film, on song sheet covers, and in illustration. By examining the cultural, technological, and social contexts for these creative interpretations, Fitzpatrick illuminates in fresh ways the contradictions and harmonies between public and private space.
Featuring 17 color plates and 80 black-and-white images, Art and the Subway takes readers on a fascinating ride through the visual history of one of the twentieth century's greatest urban planning endeavors as it grew, changed form, and reinvented itself with passion and vitality.
First published in Spanish in 2010, Art beyond Itself is Néstor García Canclini's deft assessment of contemporary art. The renowned cultural critic suggests that, ideally, art is the place of imminence, the place where we glimpse something just about to happen. Yet, as he demonstrates, defining contemporary art and its role in society is an ever more complicated endeavor. Museums, auction houses, artists, and major actors in economics, politics, and the media are increasingly chummy and interdependent. Art is expanding into urban development and the design and tourism industries. Art practices based on objects are displaced by practices based on contexts. Aesthetic distinctions dissolve as artworks are inserted into the media, urban spaces, digital networks, and social forums. Oppositional artists are adrift in a society without a clear story line. What, after all, counts as transgression in a world of diverse and fragmentary narratives? Seeking a new analytic framework for understanding contemporary art, García Canclini is attentive to particular artworks; to artists including Francis Alÿs, León Ferrari, Teresa Margolles, Antoni Muntadas, and Gabriel Orozco; and to efforts to preserve, for art and artists, some degree of independence from religion, politics, the media, and the market.
From the European revolutions of 1848 through the Italian independence movement, the American Civil War, and the French Commune, the era Albert Boime explores in this fourth volume of his epic series was, in a word, transformative. The period, which gave rise to such luminaries as Karl Marx and Charles Darwin, was also characterized by civic upheaval, quantum leaps in science and technology, and the increasing secularization of intellectual pursuits and ordinary life. In a sweeping narrative that adds critical depth to a key epoch in modern art’s history, Art in an Age of Civil Struggle shows how this turbulent social environment served as an incubator for the mid-nineteenth century’s most important artists and writers.
Tracing the various movements of realism through the major metropolitan centers of Europe and America, Boime strikingly evokes the milieus that shaped the lives and works of Gustave Courbet, Edouard Manet, Émile Zola, Honoré Daumier, Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, and the earliest photographers, among countless others. In doing so, he spearheads a powerful new way of reassessing how art emerges from the welter of cultural and political events and the artist’s struggle to interpret his surroundings. Boime supports this multifaceted approach with a wealth of illustrations and written sources that demonstrate the intimate links between visual culture and social change. Culminating at the transition to impressionism, Art in an Age of Civil Struggle makes historical sense of a movement that paved the way for avant-garde aesthetics and, more broadly, of how a particular style emerges at a particular moment.
Art for art's sake. Art created in pursuit of personal expression. In Art in an Age of Counterrevolution, Albert Boime rejects these popular modern notions and suggests that history—not internal drive or expressive urge—as the dynamic force that shapes art.
This volume focuses on the astonishing range of art forms currently understood to fall within the broad category of Romanticism. Drawing on visual media and popular imagery of the time, this generously illustrated work examines the art of Romanticism as a reaction to the social and political events surrounding it. Boime reinterprets canonical works by such politicized artists as Goya, Delacroix, Géricault, Friedrich, and Turner, framing their work not by personality but by its sociohistorical context. Boime's capacious approach and scope allows him to incorporate a wide range of perspectives into his analysis of Romantic art, including Marxism, social history, gender identity, ecology, structuralism, and psychoanalytic theory, a reach that parallels the work of contemporary cultural historians and theorists such as Edward Said, Pierre Bourdieu, Eric Hobsbawm, Frederic Jameson, and T. J. Clark.
Boime ultimately establishes that art serves the interests and aspirations of the cultural bourgeoisie. In grounding his arguments on their work and its scope and influence, he elucidates how all artists are inextricably linked to history. This book will be used widely in art history courses and exert enormous influence on cultural studies as well.
Art has the power to affect our thinking, changing not only the way we view and interact with the world but also how we create it. In Art in Mind, Ernst van Alphen probes this idea of art as a commanding force with the capacity to shape our intellect and intervene in our lives. Rather than interpreting art as merely a reflection of our social experience or a product of history, van Alphen here argues that art is a historical agent, or a cultural creator, that propels thought and experience forward.
Examining a broad range of works, van Alphen—a renowned art historian and cultural theorist—demonstrates how art serves a socially constructive function by actually experimenting with the parameters of thought. Employing work from artists as diverse as Picasso, Watteau, Francis Bacon, Marlene Dumas, and Matthew Barney, he shows how art confronts its viewers with the "pain points" of cultural experience-genocide, sexuality, diaspora, and transcultural identity-and thereby transforms the ways in which human existence is conceived. Van Alphen analyzes how art visually "thinks" about these difficult cultural issues, tapping into an understudied interpretation of art as the realm where ideas and values are actively created, given form, and mobilized. In this way, van Alphen's book is a work of art in itself as it educates us in a new mode of thought that will forge equally new approaches and responses to the world.
During the 1860s and '70s, more than a decade before the development of French Impressionism, Italy produced a group of avant-garde artists whose fervently nationalist paintings anticipated some of Impressionism's theoretical concerns. These artists were called "Macchiaioli" because they based their technique on a quickly rendered macchia, or sketch.
In the first extended sociopolitical interpretation in English of this important group, Albert Boime places the Macchiaioli in the cultural context of the Risorgimento—the political movement that unified Italy, freed from foreign rule, under a secular, constitutional government. Anglo-American art criticism has generally neglected these painters (probably because of their overt political affiliation and nationalist expression), but Boime shows that these artists, while deeply political, nevertheless created aesthetically superior work.
Boime's study departs from previous research on the Macchiaioli by systematically investigating the group's writings, sources, and patronage in relation to the Risogimento. The book also examines both contemporary and later critical responses, revealing how French art criticism has obscured the achievements of Macchiaioli art. Richly illustrated, The Art of the Macchia and the Risorgimento will appeal to anyone interested in nineteenth-century European art or the history of Italy.
In his groundbreaking study, Art, Politics and Development, Philipp Lepenies contributes to the ongoing controversy about why the track record of development aid is so dismal. He asserts that development aid policies are grounded in a specific way of literally looking at the world. This “worldview” is the result of a mental conditioning that began with the invention of linear perspective in Renaissance art. It not only triggered the emergence of modern science and brought forth our Western notion of progress, but ultimately, development as well.
Art, Politics, and Development examines this process by pulling from a range of disciplines, including art history, philosophy, literature, and social science. Lepenies not only explains the shortcomings of modern aid in a novel fashion, he also proposes how aid could be done differently.
In the series Politics, History and Social Change, edited by John C. Torpey
In Art to Come Terry Smith—who is widely recognized as one of the world's leading historians and theorists of contemporary art—traces the emergence of contemporary art and further develops his concept of contemporaneity. Smith shows that embracing contemporaneity as both a historical concept and a condition of the globalized world allows us to grasp how contemporary art exists in a fluid space of increasing interdependencies, multiple contemporaneous modernities, and persistent inequalities. Throughout these essays, Smith offers systematic proposals for writing contemporary art's histories while assessing how curators, critics, philosophers, artists, and art historians are currently doing so. Among other topics, Smith examines the intersection of architecture with other visual arts, Chinese art since the Cultural Revolution, how philosophers are theorizing concepts associated with the contemporary, Australian Indigenous art, and the current state of art history. Art to Come will be essential reading for artists, art students, curators, gallery workers, historians, critics, and theorists.
Nuclear bombs and geopolitical controversy are often the first things associated with North Korea and its volatile leader Kim Jong-II. Yet behind the secretive curtain of this isolated nation also lies a little-known and slowly expanding world of art.
Art Under Control in North Korea is the first Western publication to explore the state-controlled role of art in North Korea. This timely volume places North Korean art in its historical, political, and social contexts, with a discussion on the state system of cultivating and promoting artists and an examination of the range of art produced, from painting and calligraphy to architecture and applied art. Portal offers an incisive analysis that compares the dictatorial control exerted over artists by North Korean leaders to that of past regimes. She also examines the ways in which archaeology has been employed for political ends to legitimize the present regime.
Art Under Control in North Korea is an intriguing and vibrant volume that explores the creation of art under totalitarian rule and the ways art can subvert a dictatorial regime.
What was the place of the artist in a new society? How would he thrive where monarchy, aristocracy, and an established church—those traditional patrons of painting, sculpture, and architecture—were repudiated so vigorously? Neil Harris examines the relationships between American cultural values and American society during the formative years of American art and explores how conceptions of the artist's social role changed during those years.
In Autonomy Nicholas Brown theorizes the historical and theoretical argument for art's autonomy from its acknowledged character as a commodity. Refusing the position that the distinction between art and the commodity has collapsed, Brown demonstrates how art can, in confronting its material determinations, suspend the logic of capital by demanding interpretive attention. He applies his readings of Marx, Hegel, Adorno, and Jameson to a range of literature, photography, music, television, and sculpture, from Cindy Sherman's photography and the novels of Ben Lerner and Jennifer Egan to The Wire and the music of the White Stripes. He demonstrates that through their attention and commitment to form, such artists turn aside the determination posed by the demand of the market, thereby defeating the foreclosure of meaning entailed in commodification. In so doing, he offers a new theory of art that prompts a rethinking of the relationship between art, critical theory, and capitalism.
The built environment along the U.S.-Mexico border has long been a hotbed of political and creative action. In this volume, the historically tense region and visually provocative margin—the southwestern United States and northern Mexico—take center stage. From the borderlands perspective, the symbolic importance and visual impact of border spaces resonate deeply.
In Border Spaces, Katherine G. Morrissey, John-Michael H. Warner, and other essayists build on the insights of border dwellers, or fronterizos, and draw on two interrelated fields—border art history and border studies. The editors engage in a conversation on the physical landscape of the border and its representations through time, art, and architecture.
The volume is divided into two linked sections—one on border histories of built environments and the second on border art histories. Each section begins with a “conversation” essay—co-authored by two leading interdisciplinary scholars in the relevant fields—that weaves together the book’s thematic questions with the ideas and essays to follow.
Border Spaces is prompted by art and grounded in an academy ready to consider the connections between art, land, and people in a binational region.
Geraldo Luján Cadava
Mary E. Mendoza
Sarah J. Moore
Katherine G. Morrissey
Rebecca M. Schreiber
Ila N. Sheren
John-Michael H. Warner
Boundaries in China
John Hay Reaktion Books, 1994 Library of Congress DS721.B77 1994 | Dewey Decimal 951
A crucial topic in the study of Chinese culture past or present is that of the "boundary". In this book the authors investigate the meaning of the boundary as metaphor and paradox, as threshold and interface across the whole spectrum of Chinese art and society. The essays range from early politics and society to contemporary public and private discourse; from the creation of a literary canon to the positioning of individuals in dynastic time; from the public spaces in today's Peking Opera to the intangible surfaces of self in 14th-century painting.
All the authors in this book are established Sinologists. Boundaries in China will be stimulating reading for anyone interested in the psycho-social dynamics of non-Western art and culture.
Includes essays by Robin D. S. Yates, Wu Hung, Pauline Yu, John Hay, Jonathan Hay, Dorothy Ko, Isabelle Duchesne, Rey Chow, Ann Anagnost.
In the nineteenth century, the Académie des Beaux Arts, and institution of central importance to the artistic life of France for over two hundred years, yielded much of its power to the present system of art distribution, which is dependent upon critics, dealers, and small exhibitions. In Canvases and Careers, Harrison and Cynthia White examine in scrupulous and fascinating detail how and why this shift occurred. Assimilating a wide range of historical and sociological data, the authors argue convincingly that the Academy, by neglecting to address the social and economic conditions of its time, undermined its own ability to maintain authority and control.
Originally published in 1965, this ground-breaking work is a classic piece of empirical research in the sociology of art. In this edition, Harrison C. White's new Foreword compares the marketing approaches of two contemporary painters, while Cynthia A. White's new Afterword reviews recent scholarship in the field.
This anthology provides an overview of the history and theory of Chicano/a art from the 1960s to the present, emphasizing the debates and vocabularies that have played key roles in its conceptualization. In Chicano and Chicana Art—which includes many of Chicano/a art's landmark and foundational texts and manifestos—artists, curators, and cultural critics trace the development of Chicano/a art from its early role in the Chicano civil rights movement to its mainstream acceptance in American art institutions. Throughout this teaching-oriented volume they address a number of themes, including the politics of border life, public art practices such as posters and murals, and feminist and queer artists' figurations of Chicano/a bodies. They also chart the multiple cultural and artistic influences—from American graffiti and Mexican pre-Columbian spirituality to pop art and modernism—that have informed Chicano/a art's practice.
Contributors. Carlos Almaraz, David Avalos, Judith F. Baca, Raye Bemis, Jo-Anne Berelowitz, Elizabeth Blair, Chaz Bojóroquez, Philip Brookman, Mel Casas, C. Ondine Chavoya, Karen Mary Davalos, Rupert García, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Shifra Goldman, Jennifer A. González, Rita Gonzalez, Robb Hernández, Juan Felipe Herrera, Louis Hock, Nancy L. Kelker, Philip Kennicott, Josh Kun, Asta Kuusinen, Gilberto “Magu” Luján, Amelia Malagamba-Ansotegui, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Dylan Miner, Malaquias Montoya, Judithe Hernández de Neikrug, Chon Noriega, Joseph Palis, Laura Elisa Pérez, Peter Plagens, Catherine Ramírez, Matthew Reilly, James Rojas, Terezita Romo, Ralph Rugoff, Lezlie Salkowitz-Montoya, Marcos Sanchez-Tranquilino, Cylena Simonds, Elizabeth Sisco, John Tagg, Roberto Tejada, Rubén Trejo, Gabriela Valdivia, Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, Victor Zamudio-Taylor
Child of the Fire is the first book-length examination of the career of the nineteenth-century artist Mary Edmonia Lewis, best known for her sculptures inspired by historical and biblical themes. Throughout this richly illustrated study, Kirsten Pai Buick investigates how Lewis and her work were perceived, and their meanings manipulated, by others and the sculptor herself. She argues against the racialist art discourse that has long cast Lewis’s sculptures as reflections of her identity as an African American and Native American woman who lived most of her life abroad. Instead, by seeking to reveal Lewis’s intentions through analyses of her career and artwork, Buick illuminates Lewis’s fraught but active participation in the creation of a distinct “American” national art, one dominated by themes of indigeneity, sentimentality, gender, and race. In so doing, she shows that the sculptor variously complicated and facilitated the dominant ideologies of the vanishing American (the notion that Native Americans were a dying race), sentimentality, and true womanhood.
Buick considers the institutions and people that supported Lewis’s career—including Oberlin College, abolitionists in Boston, and American expatriates in Italy—and she explores how their agendas affected the way they perceived and described the artist. Analyzing four of Lewis’s most popular sculptures, each created between 1866 and 1876, Buick discusses interpretations of Hiawatha in terms of the cultural impact of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha; Forever Free and Hagar in the Wilderness in light of art historians’ assumptions that artworks created by African American artists necessarily reflect African American themes; and The Death of Cleopatra in relation to broader problems of reading art as a reflection of identity.
Edited by François Brunet Terra Foundation for American Art, 2017 Library of Congress N72.S6C54 2017 | Dewey Decimal 701.03
As a category in art history, circulation is rooted in the contemporary context of Internet culture and the digital image. Yet circulation, as a broader concept for the movement of art across time and space in vastly different cultural and media contexts, has been a factor in the history of the arts in the United States since at least the eighteenth century.
The third volume in the Terra Foundation Essays series, Circulation brings together an international and interdisciplinary team of scholars, including Thierry Gervais, Tom Gunning, J. M. Mancini, Frank Mehring, and Hélène Valance, who map the multiple planes where artistic meaning has been produced by the circulation of art from the eighteenth century to the present. The book looks at both broad historical trends and the successes and failures of particular works of art from a wide variety of artists and styles. Together, the contributions significantly expand the conceptual and methodological terrain of scholarship on American art.
Communities of Sense argues for a new understanding of the relation between politics and aesthetics in today’s globalized and image-saturated world. Established and emerging scholars of art and culture draw on Jacques Rancière’s theorization of democratic politics to suggest that aesthetics, traditionally defined as the “science of the sensible,” is not a depoliticized discourse or theory of art, but instead part of a historically specific organization of social roles and communality. Rather than formulating aesthetics as the Other to politics, the contributors show that aesthetics and politics are mutually implicated in the construction of communities of visibility and sensation through which political orders emerge.
The first of the collection’s three sections explicitly examines the links between aesthetics and social and political experience. Here a new essay by Rancière posits art as a key site where disagreement can be staged in order to produce new communities of sense. In the second section, contributors investigate how sense was constructed in the past by the European avant-garde and how it is mobilized in today’s global visual and political culture. Exploring the viability of various models of artistic and political critique in the context of globalization, the authors of the essays in the volume’s final section suggest a shift from identity politics and preconstituted collectivities toward processes of identification and disidentification. Topics discussed in the volume vary from digital architecture to a makeshift museum in a Paris suburb, and from romantic art theory in the wake of Hegel to the history of the group-subject in political art and performance since 1968. An interview with Étienne Balibar rounds out the collection.
Contributors. Emily Apter, Étienne Balibar, Carlos Basualdo, T. J. Demos, Rachel Haidu, Beth Hinderliter, David Joselit, William Kaizen, Ranjanna Khanna, Reinaldo Laddaga, Vered Maimon, Jaleh Mansoor, Reinhold Martin, Seth McCormick, Yates McKee, Alexander Potts, Jacques Rancière, Toni Ross
Are the humanities still relevant in the twenty-first century? In the context of pervasive economic liberalism and shrinking budgets, the importance of humanities research for society is increasingly put into question. This volume claims that the humanities do indeed matter by offering empirically grounded critical reflections on contemporary cultural practices, thereby opening up new ways of understanding social life and new directions in humanities scholarship. The contributors argue that the humanities can regain their relevance for society, pose new questions and provide fresh answers, while maintaining their core values: critical reflection, historical consciousness and analytical distance.
Thomas Eakins’ 1875 painting, The Gross Clinic, the Rocky Statue, andthe Barnes Foundation are all iconic in Philadelphia for different reasons. But around the year 2000, this painting, this sculpture, and this entire art collection, respectively, generated extended—and heated—controversies about the “appropriate” location for each item. Contested Image revisits the debates that surrounded these works of visual culture and how each item changed through acts of reception—through the ways that viewers looked at, talked about, and used these objects to define their city.
Laura Holzman investigates the negotiations and spirited debates that affected the city of Philadelphia’s identity and its public image. She considers how the region’s cultural resources reshaped the city’s reputation as well as delves into discussions about official efforts to boost local spirit. In tracking these “contested images,” Holzman illuminates the messy process of public envisioning of place and the ways in which public dialogue informs public meaning of both cities themselves and the objects of urban identity.
Acclaimed art historian Shifra Goldman here provides the first overview of the social history of modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art. Long needed in the field of art history, this collection of thirty-three essays focuses on Latin American artists throughout Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the United States.
Goldman's extensive introduction provides an up-to-date chronology of modern Latin American art; a history of "social art history" in the United States; and synopses of recent theoretical and historical writings by major scholars from Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Chile, and the United States. In her essays, Goldman discusses a vast array of topics including: the influence of the Mexican muralists on the American continent; the political and artistic significance of poster art and printmaking in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and among Chicanos; the role of women artists such as Guatemalan painter Isabel Ruiz; and the increasingly important role of politics and multinational businesses in the art world of the 1970s and 1980s. She explores the reception of Latin American and Latino art in the United States, focusing on major historical exhibits as well as on exhibits by artists such as Chilean Alfredo Jaar and Argentinian Leandro Katz. Finally, she examines the significance of nationalist and ethnic themes in Latin American and Latino art.
Written in a straightforward style equally accessible to specialists, students, and general audiences, this book will become essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the importance of Latin American art and the complex dynamic shaping it.
The Economics of Creativity
Pierre-Michel Menger Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress NX160.M4513 2014 | Dewey Decimal 700.103
Creative work is governed by uncertainty. So how can customers and critics judge merit, when the disparity between superstardom and obscurity hinges on minor gaps in ability? The Economics of Creativity brings clarity to a market widely seen as either irrational or so free of standards that only power and manipulation count.
What is the effect of a "nation"? In this age of globalization, is it dead, dying, or only dormant? The essays in this groundbreaking volume use the arts in Mexico to move beyond the national and the global to look at the activity of a community continually re-creating itself within and beyond its own borders.
Mexico is a particularly apt focus, partly because of the vitality of its culture, partly because of its changing political identity, and partly because of the impact of borders and borderlessness on its national character. The ten essays collected here look at a wide range of aesthetic productions -- especially literature and the visual arts -- that give context to how art and society interact.
Steering a careful course between the nostalgia of nationalism and the insensitivity of globalism, these essays examine modernism and postmodernism in the Mexican setting. Individually, they explore the incorporation of historical icons, of vanguardism, and of international influence. From Diego Rivera to Elena Garro, from the Tlateloco massacre to the Chiapas rebellion, from mass-market fiction to the film Aliens, the contributors view the many sides of Mexican life as relevant to the creation of a constantly shifting national culture. Taken together, the essays look both backward and forward at the evolving effect of the Mexican nation.
"Weinstein explores the attitudes and organizations of artists and architects in Berlin, Munich, and Dresden in response to the tumultuous events associated with the end of WWI and the (failed) Revolution. She traces the initial excitement and zeal and then the disillusionment as utopian dreams were dimmed by social, political, and military realities as well as by inherent contradiction within the arts movements itself. The accompanying b&w illustrations, fascinating in themselves, directly depict textual themes."—Booknews
In Finding Voice, Kim Berman demonstrates how she was able to use visual arts training in disenfranchised communities as a tool for political and social transformation in South Africa. Using her own fieldwork as a case study, Berman shows how hands-on work in the arts with learners of all ages and backgrounds can contribute to economic stability by developing new skills, as well as enhancing public health and gender justice within communities. Berman’s work, and the community artwork her book documents, present the visual arts as a crucial channel for citizens to find their individual voices and to become agents for change in the arenas of human rights and democracy.
Framing the Audience explores the cultural politics of the Great Depression and World War II through the prism of art appreciation. Isadora Helfgott interrogates the ideological and political motivations for breaking down barriers between fine art and popular culture. She charts the impact that changes in art appreciation had on the broader political, social, cultural, and artistic landscape.
Framing the Audience argues that efforts to expand the social basis of art became intertwined with—and helped shape—broader debates about national identity and the future of American political economy. Helfgott chronicles artists’ efforts toinfluence the conditions of artistic production and display. She highlights the influence of the Federal Art Project, the impact of the Museum of Modern Art as an institutional home for modernism in America and as an organizer of traveling exhibitions, and the efforts by LIFE and Fortune magazines to integrate art education into their visual record of modern life. In doing so, Helfgott makes critical observations about the changing relationship between art and the American public.
This collection reconsiders the life and work of Emile Jean-Horace Vernet (1789–1863), presenting him as a crucial figure for understanding the visual culture of modernity. The book includes work by senior and emerging scholars, showing that Vernet was a multifaceted artist who moved with ease across the thresholds of genre and media to cultivate an image of himself as the embodiment of modern France. In tune with his times, skilled at using modern technologies of visual reproduction to advance his reputation, Vernet appealed to patrons from across the political spectrum and made works that nineteenth-century audiences adored. Even Baudelaire, who reviled Vernet and his art and whose judgment has played a significant role in consigning Vernet to art-historical obscurity, acknowledged that the artist was the most complete representative of his age. For those with an interest in the intersection of art and modern media, politics, imperialism, and fashion, the essays in this volume offer a rich reward.
"A provocative interpretation of the political and cultural history of the early cold war years. . . . By insisting that art, even art of the avant-garde, is part of the general culture, not autonomous or above it, he forces us to think differently not only about art and art history but about society itself."—New York Times Book Review
While numerous studies over the years have focused on the ways in which art functions in our society, How to Study Art Worlds is the first to examine it in light of the organizational aspects of the art world. Van Maanen delves into the works of such sociologists as Howard S. Becker, Pierre Bourdieu, George Dickie, and Niklas Luhmann, among others, to examine the philosophical debates surrounding aesthetic experience—and then traces the consequences that each of these approaches has had and continues to have on organizations in the art world.
Dubbed as "You Are What You Hang (or Don't)" by the New YorkTimes,Inside Culture takes us on a tour of 160 homes in and around New York City, from affluent townhouses on Manhattan's Upper East Side and rowhouses in blue-collar Brooklyn to middle and upper-class suburbs of Long Island. The result is an unprecedented portrait of the use of cultural artifacts—fine art, photographs, religious art—in private lives.
"This is a first-class addition to what we know about culture in the specific rather than the abstract."—Howard S. Becker, Contemporary Sociology
"This book is well worth reading, especially in your own home."—Eugene Halton, American Journal of Sociology
"David Halle's researches earned him a license amateur voyeurs would kill for. . . . Refreshing for readers outside his discipline."—Peter Campbell, London Review of Books
"[This book] tells us interesting things about ourselves. . . . It affords us a birds-eye view of American culture from which we can see . . . unsuspected patterns of tastes and acquisitions."—James Gardner, Washington Times
"[A] voyeuristic thrill. . . . Lucid and entertaining. . . . A fascinating book that will open the eyes of anyone who's ever glibly said about art, 'I know what I like.' After reading Inside Culture, they'll also know a little bit more about why."—Maureen Corrigan, New York Observer
Since the 1970s, the performance and conceptual artist Suzanne Lacy has explored women’s lives and experiences, as well as race, ethnicity, aging, economic disparities, and violence, through her pioneering community-based art. Combining aesthetics and politics, and often collaborating with other artists and community organizations, she has staged large-scale public art projects, sometimes involving hundreds of participants. Lacy has consistently written about her work: planning, describing, and analyzing it; advocating socially engaged art practices; theorizing the relationship between art and social intervention; and questioning the boundaries separating high art from popular participation. By bringing together thirty texts that Lacy has written since 1974, Leaving Art offers an intimate look at the development of feminist, conceptual, and performance art since those movements’ formative years. In the introduction, the art historian Moira Roth provides a helpful overview of Lacy’s art and writing, which in the afterword the cultural theorist Kerstin Mey situates in relation to contemporary public art practices.
The Western discovery of Japanese paintings at nineteenth-century world’s fairs and export shops catapulted Japanese art to new levels of international popularity. With that popularity, however, came criticism, as Western writers began to lament a perceived end to pure Japanese art and a rise in westernized cultural hybrids. The Japanese response: nihonga, a traditional style of painting that reframed existing techniques to distinguish them from Western artistic conventions. Making Modern Japanese-Style Painting explores the visual characteristics and social functions of nihonga and traces its relationship to the past, its viewers, and emerging notions of the modern Japanese state.
Chelsea Foxwell sheds light on interlinked trends in Japanese nationalist discourse, government art policy, American and European commentary on Japanese art, and the demands of export. The seminal artist Kano Hogai (1828–88) is one telling example: originally a painter for the shogun, his art eventually evolved into novel, eerie images meant to satisfy both Japanese and Western audiences. Rather than simply absorbing Western approaches, nihonga as practiced by Hogai and others broke with pre-Meiji painting even as it worked to neutralize the rupture.
By arguing that fundamental changes to audience expectations led to the emergence of nihonga—a traditional interpretation of Japanese art for a contemporary, international market—Making Modern Japanese-Style Painting offers a fresh look at an important aspect of Japan’s development into a modern nation.
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.
What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia? That was the question posed by the curators, artists, scholars, and students who comprise the Philadelphia-based public art and history studio Monument Lab. And in 2017, along with Mural Arts Philadelphia, they produced and organized a groundbreaking, city-wide exhibition of temporary, site-specific works that engaged directly with the community. The installations, by a cohort of diverse artists considering issues of identity, appeared in iconic public squares and neighborhood parks with research and learning labs and prototype monuments.
Monument Lab is a fabulous compendium of the exhibition and a critical reflection of the proceedings, including contributions from interlocutors and collaborators. The exhibition and this handbook were designed to generate new ways of thinking about monuments and public art as well as to find new, critical perspectives to reflect on the monuments we have inherited and to imagine those we have yet to build. Monument Lab energizes acivic dialogue about place and history as forces for a deeper questioning of what it means to be Philadelphian in a time of renewal and continuing struggle.
Contributors: Alexander Alberro, Alliyah Allen, Laurie Allen, Andrew Friedman, Justin Geller, Kristen Giannantonio, Jane Golden, Aviva Kapust, Fariah Khan, Homay King, Stephanie Mach, Trapeta B. Mayson, Nathaniel Popkin, Ursula Rucker, Jodi Throckmorton, Salamishah Tillet, Jennifer Harford Vargas, Naomi Waltham-Smith, Bethany Wiggin, Mariam I. Williams, Leslie Willis-Lowry, and the editors.
Artists: Tania Bruguera, Mel Chin, Kara Crombie, Tyree Guyton, Hans Haacke, David Hartt, Sharon Hayes, King Britt and Joshua Mays, Klip Collective, Duane Linklater, Emeka Ogboh, Karyn Olivier, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Kaitlin Pomerantz, RAIR, Alexander Rosenberg, Jamel Shabazz, Hank Willis Thomas, Shira Walinsky and Southeast by Southeast, and Marisa Williamson.
Who was responsible for the crimes of the Nazis? Party leaders and members? Rank-and-file soldiers and bureaucrats? Ordinary Germans? This question looms over German disputes about the past like few others. It also looms over the art and architecture of postwar Germany in ways that have been surprisingly neglected. In The Nazi Perpetrator, Paul B. Jaskot fundamentally reevaluates pivotal developments in postwar German art and architecture against the backdrop of contentious contemporary debates over the Nazi past and the difficulty of determining who was or was not a Nazi perpetrator.
Like their fellow Germans, postwar artists and architects grappled with the Nazi past and the problem of defining the Nazi perpetrator—a problem that was thoroughly entangled with contemporary conservative politics and the explosive issue of former Nazis living in postwar Germany. Beginning with the formative connection between Nazi politics and art during the 1930s, The Nazi Perpetrator traces the dilemma of identifying the perpetrator across the entire postwar period. Jaskot examines key works and episodes from West Germany and, after 1989, reunified Germany, showing how the changing perception of the perpetrator deeply impacted art and architecture, even in cases where artworks and buildings seem to have no obvious relation to the Nazi past. The book also reinterprets important periods in the careers of such major figures as Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, and Daniel Libeskind.
Combining political history with a close analysis of specific works, The Nazi Perpetrator powerfully demonstrates that the ongoing influence of Nazi Germany after 1945 is much more central to understanding a wide range of modern German art and architecture than cultural historians have previously recognized.
How is it that one can be connected to a vast worldwide network of other people and places via digital technologies and yet also be completely alone? Kris Cohen tackles this philosophical question in Never Alone, Except for Now by exploring how contemporary technologies are changing group formations and affiliations within social life. He identifies a new form of collectivity that exists between publics, which are built through conscious acts, and populations, which are automatically constructed through the collection of Big Data. Finding traditional liberal concepts of the public sphere and neoliberal ideas of populations inadequate on their own to examine these new forms of sociality, Cohen places familiar features of the web—such as emoticons, trolling, and search engines—in conversation with artworks by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, William Gibson, Sharon Hayes, and Thomson & Craighead to more precisely articulate the affective and aesthetic experiences of living between publics and populations. This liminal experience—caught between existing as a set of data points and as individuals newly empowered to create their own online communities—explains, Cohen contends, how one is simultaneously alone and connected in ways never before possible.
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.
Since the last century, the relationship between vanguard and self-taught artists has been defined by contradiction. The established art world has been quick to make clear distinctions between trained and untrained artists, yet at the same time it has been fascinated by outliers whom it draws selectively and intermittently into its orbits. For a new exhibition launching at the National Gallery of Art, curator Lynne Cooke explores shifting conceptualizations of the American outlier across the twentieth century, drawing on the inherent sociality of the exhibition in her installation of these works. This companion catalog, Outliers and American Vanguard Art, offers a fantastic opportunity to consider works by schooled and self-taught creators in relation to each other and defined by historical circumstance.
The art works in Outliers and American Vanguard Art come from three distinct periods when the intersections between mainstream and outlier artists were most dynamic and productive, ushering in exhibitions of art based on various degrees of co-existence, inclusion, and assimilation. Works by such diverse artists as Charles Sheeler, Christina Ramberg, and Matt Mullican are set in conversation with a range of works by such self-taught artists as Horace Pippin, Janet Sobel, and Henry Darger. Cooke also examines a recent increase of radically expressive work that challenges what it means to be an outlier today. She reveals how these distinctions have been freighted with a particularly American point of view as she investigates our assumptions about creativity, artistic practice, and the role of the artist in contemporary culture.
Outliers and American Vanguard Art is the most comprehensive show ever to examine outliers in dialogue with their established peers. It is sure to inspire vigorous conversation about how artists and the work they make are represented.
Public art is a form of communication that enables spaces for encounters across difference. These encounters may be routine, repeated, or rare, but all take place in urban spaces infused with emotion, creativity, and experimentation. In Painting Publics, Caitlin Bruce explores how various legal graffiti scenes across the United States, Mexico, and Europe provide diverse ways for artists to navigate their changing relationships with publics, institutions, and commercial entities.
Painting Publics draws on a combination of interviews with more than 100 graffiti writers as well as participant observation, and uses critical and rhetorical theory to argue that graffiti should be seen as more than counter-cultural resistance. Bruce claims it offers resources for imagining a more democratic city, one that builds and grows from personal relations, abandoned or under-used spaces, commercial sponsorship, and tacit community resources. In the case of Mexico, Germany, and France, there is even some state support for the production and maintenance of civic education through visual culture.
In her examination of graffiti culture and its spaces of inscription, Bruce allows us to see moments where practitioners actively reckon with possibility.
Edited by Rachael Z. DeLue Terra Foundation for American Art, 2016 Library of Congress N6505.P53 2016 | Dewey Decimal 709.73
The history of American art is a history of objects, but it is also a history of ideas about how we create and consume these objects. As Picturing convincingly shows, the critical tradition in American art has given rise to profound thinking about the nature and capacity of images and formed responses to some of most pressing problems of picturing: What is an image, and why make one? What do images do?
The first volume in a new series on critical concerns in the history of American art, Picturing brings together essays by a distinguished international group of scholars who discuss the creation and consumption of images from the early modern period through the end of the twentieth century. Some of the contributions focus on art critical texts, like Gertrude Stein’s portrait of Cézanne, while others have as their point of departure particular artworks, from a portrait of Benjamin Franklin to Eadweard Muybridge’s nineteenth-century photographs of the California Coast. Works that addressed images and image making were not confined to the academy; they spilled out into poetry, literature, theater, and philosophy, and the essays’ considerations likewise range freely, from painting to natural history illustrations, travel narratives, and popular fiction. Together, the contributions demonstrate a rich deliberation that thoroughly debunks the notion that American art is merely derivative of a European tradition.
With a wealth of new research and full-color illustrations, Picturing significantly expands the terrain of scholarship on American art.
The Poster: Art, Advertising, Design, and Collecting, 1860s–1900s is a cultural history that situates the poster at the crossroads of art, design, advertising, and collecting. Though international in scope, the book focuses especially on France and England. Ruth E. Iskin argues that the avant-garde poster and the original art print played an important role in the development of a modernist language of art in the 1890s, as well as in the adaptation of art to an era of mass media. She moreover contends that this new form of visual communication fundamentally redefined relations between word and image: poster designers embedded words within the graphic, rather than using images to illustrate a text. Posters had to function as effective advertising in the hectic environment of the urban street. Even though initially commissioned as advertisements, they were soon coveted by collectors. Iskin introduces readers to the late nineteenth-century “iconophile”—a new type of collector/curator/archivist who discovered in poster collecting an ephemeral archaeology of modernity. Bridging the separation between the fields of art, design, advertising, and collecting, Iskin’s insightful study proposes that the poster played a constitutive role in the modern culture of spectacle. This stunningly illustrated book will appeal to art historians and students of visual culture, as well as social and cultural history, media, design, and advertising.
In big cities, major museums and elite galleries tend to dominate our idea of the art world. But beyond the cultural core ruled by these moneyed institutions and their patrons are vibrant, local communities of artists and art lovers operating beneath the high-culture radar. Producing Local Color is a guided tour of three such alternative worlds that thrive in the Chicago neighborhoods of Bronzeville, Pilsen, and Rogers Park.
These three neighborhoods are, respectively, historically African American, predominantly Mexican American, and proudly ethnically mixed. Drawing on her ethnographic research in each place, Diane Grams presents and analyzes the different kinds of networks of interest and support that sustain the making of art outside of the limelight. And she introduces us to the various individuals—from cutting-edge artists to collectors to municipal planners—who work together to develop their communities, honor their history, and enrich the experiences of their neighbors through art. Along with its novel insights into these little examined art worlds, Producing Local Color also provides a thought-provoking account of how urban neighborhoods change and grow.
Among postimpressionist painters, Van Gogh, Seurat, Cézanne, and Gauguin produced a remarkable body of work that responded to a cultural and spiritual crisis in the avant-garde world—influences that pushed them toward an increasing reliance on science, literature, and occultism. In Revelation of Modernism, renowned art historian Albert Boime reappraises specific works by these masters from a perspective more appreciative of the individuals’ inner conflicts, offering the art world a new understanding of a period fraught with apocalyptic fears and existential anxieties.
Building on the seminal observations of Sven Lövgren from a half-century ago, Boime rejects popular notions of “art for art’s sake” and rethinks an entire movement to suggest that history, rather than expressive urge, is the driving force that shapes art. He reconsiders familiar masterpieces from a fresh perspective, situating the art in the contexts of history both real and speculative, of contemporary philosophy, and of science to depict modernism as a development that ultimately failed.
Boime expands on what we think we know about these figures and produces startling new revelations about their work. From the political history of Seurat’s Parade de cirque to the astronomical foundations of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, he draws analogies between literary sources and social, personal, and political strategies that have eluded most art historians. He offers a richer and more complex vision of Cézanne, considering the artist as an Old Testament figure in search of the Promised Landscape. And he provides a particularly detailed look at Gauguin—on whom Boime has never previously published—that takes a closer look at the artist’s The Vision after the Sermon and its allusions to Eliphas Lévi’s writings, sheds light on the sources for From whence do we come? and offers new thoughts about Gauguin’s various self-portraits.
Boime’s latest contribution further testifies to his status as one of our most important living art historians. As entertaining as it is eloquent, Revelation of Modernism is a bold and groundbreaking work that should be required reading for all who wish to understand the contradictory origins and development of modernism and its role in history.
In recent decades, the study of Roman art has shifted focus dramatically from issues of connoisseurship, typology, and chronology to analyses of objects within their contemporary contexts and local environments. Scholars challenge the notion, formerly taken for granted, that extant historical texts—the writings of Vitruvius, for example—can directly inform the study of architectural remains. Roman-era statues, paintings, and mosaics are no longer dismissed as perfunctory replicas of lost Greek or Hellenistic originals; they are worthy of study in their own right. Further, the scope of what constitutes Roman art has expanded to include the vast spectrum of objects used in civic, religious, funerary, and domestic contexts and from communities across the Roman Empire.
The work gathered in Roman Artists, Patrons, and Public Consumption displays the breadth and depth of scholarship in the field made possible by these fundamental changes. The first five essays approach individual objects and artistic tropes, as well as their cultural contexts and functions, from fresh and dynamic angles. The latter essays focus on case studies in Pompeii, demonstrating how close visual analysis firmly rooted in local and temporal contexts not only strengthens understanding of ancient interactions with monuments but also sparks a reconsideration of long-held assumptions reinforced by earlier scholarship.
These rigorous essays reflect and honor the groundbreaking scholarship of Elaine K. Gazda. In addition to volume editors Brenda Longfellow and Ellen E. Perry, contributors include Bettina Bergmann, Elise Friedland, Barbara Kellum, Diana Y. Ng, Jessica Powers, Melanie Grunow Sobocinski, Lea M. Stirling, Molly Swetnam-Burland, Elizabeth Wolfram Thill, and Jennifer Trimble.
"Oh, do tell the American people that I am a normal man; that I am a devoted husband and father, that I have three fine children, that I go to the theatre." These words were spoken by Matisse just before the Armory Show in 1913—a pivotal moment, after which his work was seen in America as an example of what should be admired or deplored in modern art.
In this ambitious study, John O'Brian argues that Matisse's sober presentations of himself were calculated to fit with the social constraints and ideological demands of the times. Matisse's strategy included cooperating with museums, cultivating private collectors, playing off dealers one against another, and reassuring the media that, whatever his reputation as an avant-gardist, the conduct of his life was solidly bourgeois.
Moving from the late 1920s, when Matisse's output was shedding its outlaw reputation, to the early 1950s, when his work was canonized, O'Brian shows how the way Matisse's work was viewed changed as attention shifted away from the seductiveness of his subject matter to the seductiveness of his paint. The art's resolute rejection of political concerns, its deployment of decorative design for visual satisfaction, and its representations of pleasure encouraged American audiences, who in the 1930s deemed the art disreputable, to celebrate its gratifications by the early years of the Cold War.
This intriguing, wide-ranging investigation of Matisse's self-promotion, America's uneasy embrace of modernism, and America's consumer culture and politics provides a rich context to Clement Greenberg's words published in the Nation in 1947: "Matisse's cold hedonism and ruthless exclusion of everything but the concrete, immediate sensation will in the future, once we are away from the present Zeitgeist, be better understood as the most profound mood of the first half of the twentieth century."
In this second volume, Albert Boime continues his work on the social history of Western art in the Modern epoch. This volume offers a major critique and revisionist interpretation of Western European culture, history, and society from Napoleon's seizure of power to 1815. Boime argues that Napoleon manipulated the production of images, as well as information generally, in order to maintain his political hegemony. He examines the works of French painters such as Jacques-Louis David and Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, to illustrate how the art of the time helped to further the emperor's propagandistic goals. He also explores the work of contemporaneous English genre painters, Spain's Francisco de Goya, the German Romantics Philipp Otto Runge and Caspar David Friedrich, and the emergence of a national Italian art.
Heavily illustrated, this volume is an invaluable social history of modern art during the Napoleonic era.
Stimulating and informative, this volume will become a valuable resource for faculty and undergraduates.—R. W. Liscombe, Choice
Following World War I, a new artistic-social avant-garde emerged with the ambition to engage the artist in the building of social life. Through close readings of the works of Alexander Rodchenko, El Lissitzky, and László Moholy-Nagy whose careers covered a broad range of artistic practices and political situations, Victor Margolin examines the way these three artists negotiated the changing relations between their social ideals and the political realities they confronted. Focusing on the difficult relationship between art and social change, Margolin brings important new insights to the understanding of the avant-garde's role in a period of great political complexity.
"An ambitious effort. This book puts the masters of European Modernism into perfect focus as inventors, propagators, and practitioners of a visual language that continues to hold sway over contemporary graphic style."—Steven Heller
"Worth the wait. . . . Margolin usefully presents what he calls the 'failed hope' of this movement in this valuable effort."—Publishers Weekly
Johanna Drucker's "sweet dream" is for a new and more positive approach to contemporary art. Calling for a revamping of the academic critical vocabulary used to discuss art into one more befitting current creative practices, Drucker argues that contemporary art is fully engaged with material culture—yet still struggling to escape the oppositional legacy of the early twentieth-century avant-garde.
Drucker shows that artists today are aware of working within the ideologies of mainstream culture and have replaced avant-garde defiance with eager complicity. Finding their materials at flea markets or exploring celebrity culture, contemporary artists have created a vibrantly participatory movement that exudes enthusiasm and affirmation—all while critics continue to cling to an outmoded vocabulary of opposition and radical negativity that defined modernism's avant-garde. At the cutting edge of new media research, Drucker surveys a wide range of exciting contemporary artists, demonstrating their clear departure from the past and petitioning viewers and critics to shift their terms and sensibilities as well. Sweet Dreams is a testament to the creative processes and self-conscious heterogeneity of art today as well as a revolutionary effort to solicit collaboration that will encourage the production of imaginative thought and contribute to contemporary life.
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.
With the rise of Abstract Expressionism, New York City became the acknowledged center of the avant-garde. Diana Crane documents the transformation of the New York art world between 1940 and 1985, both in the artistic styles that emerged during this period and the expansion of the number and types of institutions that purchased and displayed various works.
Crane's account is built around discussions of seven styles: Abstract Expressionism in the forties; Pop art and Minimalism in the sixties; Figurative painting, Photorealism, and Pattern painting in the early seventies; and Neo-Expressionism in the early eighties. Demonstrating that the New York art world moved toward increasing acceptance of dominant American cultural trends, Crane offers a fascinating look not only at the intricacies of New York's artistic inner circle but also at the sociology of work and professions, the economics of culture markets such as "dealing art," and the sociology of culture.
Since the mid-nineteenth century, artists have compulsively rejected received ideas in order to test and subvert morality, law, society, and even art itself. But what happens when all boundaries have been crossed, all taboos broken, all limits violated?
Transgressions is the first book to address this controversial subject. Here Anthony Julius traces the history of subversion in art from the outraged response to Manet's Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe to the scandal caused by the grant programs of the National Endowment for the Arts a century and a half later. Throughout the book, and supported by the work of such artists as Marcel Duchamp, the Chapman brothers, Andres Serrano, Damien Hirst, Gilbert & George, Paul McCarthy, Jeff Koons, Hans Haacke, and Anselm Kiefer, Julius shows how the modern period has been characterized by three kinds of transgressive art: an art that perverts established art rules; an art that defiles the beliefs and sentiments of its audience; and an art that challenges and disobeys the rules of the state.
The evidence assembled, Julius concludes his hard-hitting dissection of the landscapes of contemporary art by posing some important questions: what is art's future when its boundary-exceeding, taboo-breaking endeavors become the norm? And is anything of value lost when we submit to art's violation?
Transgressions is not a comfortable—still less a comforting—read, but it has a powerful urgency that makes it an essential document for anyone involved in our cultural life at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
In a manufacturing metropolis in south China lies Dafen, an urban village that famously houses thousands of workers who paint van Goghs, Da Vincis, Warhols, and other Western masterpieces for the world market, producing an astonishing five million paintings a year. To write about work and life in Dafen, Winnie Wong infiltrated this world, first investigating the work of conceptual artists who made projects there; then working as a dealer; apprenticing as a painter; surveying wholesalers and retailers in Europe, East Asia and North America; establishing relationships with local leaders; and organizing a conceptual art exhibition for the Shanghai World Expo. The result is Van Gogh on Demand, a fascinating book about a little-known aspect of the global art world—one that sheds surprising light on the workings of art, artists, and individual genius.
Confronting big questions about the definition of art, the ownership of an image, and the meaning of originality and imitation, Wong describes an art world in which idealistic migrant workers, lofty propaganda makers, savvy dealers, and international artists make up a global supply chain of art and creativity. She examines how Berlin-based conceptual artist Christian Jankowski, who collaborated with Dafen’s painters to reimagine the Dafen Art Museum, unwittingly appropriated the work of a Hong Kong-based photographer Michael Wolf. She recounts how Liu Ding, a Beijing-based conceptual artist, asked Dafen “assembly-line” painters to perform at the Guangzhou Triennial, neatly styling himself into a Dafen boss. Taking the Shenzhen-based photojournalist Yu Haibo’s award-winning photograph from the Amsterdam's World Press Photo organization, she finds and meets the Dafen painter pictured in it and traces his paintings back to an unlikely place in Amsterdam. Through such cases, Wong shows how Dafen’s painters force us to reexamine our preconceptions about creativity, and the role of Chinese workers in redefining global art.
Providing a valuable account of art practices in an ascendant China, Van Gogh on Demand is a rich and detailed look at the implications of a world that can offer countless copies of everything that has ever been called “art.”
Victor Arnautoff reigned as San Francisco's leading mural painter during the New Deal era. Yet that was only part of an astonishing life journey from Tsarist officer to leftist painter. Robert W. Cherny's masterful biography of Arnautoff braids the artist's work with his increasingly leftist politics and the tenor of his times. Delving into sources on Russian émigrés and San Francisco's arts communities, Cherny traces Arnautoff's life from refugee art student and assistant to Diego Rivera to prominence in the New Deal's art projects and a faculty position at Stanford University. As Arnautoff's politics moved left, he often incorporated working people and people of color into his treatment of the American past and present. In the 1950s, however, his participation in leftist organizations and a highly critical cartoon of Richard Nixon landed him before the House Un-American Activities Committee and led to calls for his dismissal from Stanford. Arnautoff eventually departed America, a refugee of another kind, now fleeing personal loss and the disintegration of the left-labor culture that had nurtured him, before resuming his artistic career in the Soviet Union that he had fought in his youth to destroy.
The last twenty years have seen a rise in the production, circulation, and criticism of new forms of socially engaged art aimed at achieving social justice and economic equality. In Wages Against Artwork Leigh Claire La Berge shows how socially engaged art responds to and critiques what she calls decommodified labor—the slow diminishment of wages alongside an increase in the demands of work. Outlining the ways in which socially engaged artists relate to work, labor, and wages, La Berge examines how artists and organizers create institutions to address their own and others' financial precarity; why the increasing role of animals and children in contemporary art points to the turn away from paid labor; and how the expansion of MFA programs and student debt helps create the conditions for decommodified labor. In showing how socially engaged art operates within and against the need to be paid for work, La Berge offers a new theorization of the relationship between art and contemporary capitalism.
War Culture and the Contest of Images analyzes the relationships among contemporary war, documentary practices, and democratic ideals. Dora Apel examines a wide variety of images and cultural representations of war in the United States and the Middle East, including photography, performance art, video games, reenactment, and social media images. Simultaneously, she explores the merging of photojournalism and artistic practices, the effects of visual framing, and the construction of both sanctioned and counter-hegemonic narratives in a global contest of images.
As a result of the global visual culture in which anyone may produce as well as consume public imagery, the wide variety of visual and documentary practices present realities that would otherwise be invisible or officially off-limits. In our digital era, the prohibition and control of images has become nearly impossible to maintain. Using carefully chosen case studies—such as Krzysztof Wodiczko’s video projections and public works in response to 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the performance works of Coco Fusco and Regina Galindo, and the practices of Israeli and Palestinian artists—Apel posits that contemporary war images serve as mediating agents in social relations and as a source of protection or refuge for those robbed of formal or state-sanctioned citizenship.
While never suggesting that documentary practices are objective translations of reality, Apel shows that they are powerful polemical tools both for legitimizing war and for making its devastating effects visible. In modern warfare and in the accompanying culture of war that capitalism produces as a permanent feature of modern society, she asserts that the contest of images is as critical as the war on the ground.
This book explores Andy Warhol’s creative engagement with social class. During the 1960s, as neoliberalism perpetuated the idea that fixed classes were a mirage and status an individual achievement, Warhol’s work appropriated images, techniques, and technologies that have long been described as generically “American” or “middle class.” Drawing on archival and theoretical research into Warhol’s contemporary cultural milieu, Grudin demonstrates that these features of Warhol’s work were in fact closely associated with the American working class. The emergent technologies Warhol conspicuously employed to make his work—home projectors, tape recorders, film and still cameras—were advertised directly to the working class as new opportunities for cultural participation. What’s more, some of Warhol’s most iconic subjects—Campbell’s soup, Brillo pads, Coca-Cola—were similarly targeted, since working-class Americans, under threat from a variety of directions, were thought to desire the security and confidence offered by national brands.
Having propelled himself from an impoverished childhood in Pittsburgh to the heights of Madison Avenue, Warhol knew both sides of this equation: the intense appeal that popular culture held for working-class audiences and the ways in which the advertising industry hoped to harness this appeal in the face of growing middle-class skepticism regarding manipulative marketing. Warhol was fascinated by these promises of egalitarian individualism and mobility, which could be profound and deceptive, generative and paralyzing, charged with strange forms of desire. By tracing its intersections with various forms of popular culture, including film, music, and television, Grudin shows us how Warhol’s work disseminated these promises, while also providing a record of their intricate tensions and transformations.
Benjamin’s famous “Work of Art“ essay sets out his boldest thoughts—on media and on culture in general. This book contains the second, and most daring, of the four versions of the “Work of Art“ essay—the one that addresses the utopian developments of the modern media.