Bringing together fifteen original and path-breaking essays by world-class authorities on Abstract Expressionism as well as by younger scholars, this anthology looks beyond the canonical painters to explore the broader connections among abstract artists of the post–World War II era. Moving from the margins to the center, the essays recognize the contributions of artists working far beyond New York City. Topics include Jackson Pollock’s contact with Mexican muralists and the legacy of Abstract Expressionism for leftist artists in Latin America, the relevance of Jean-Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett as sources of philosophical thought, the significance of northern European CoBrA painters such as Asger Jorn, the impact of Japanese Gutai artists, and connections with the revolutionary art of Italy, Belgium, and France. Abstract Expressionism is also described as a model for contemporaneous developments in the former Soviet Union.
As the first book to consider the movement in relation to post–World War II abstraction on four continents, this book brings a fresh perspective to this widely studied school of painting. Scholars and students alike will find this anthology essential reading in creating a more complete and nuanced understanding of Abstract Expressionism.
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
From cannibalism to light-calligraphy, from self-harming to animal sacrifice, from meat entwined with sex toys to a commodity-embedded ice wall, the idiosyncratic output of Chinese time-based art over the past twenty-five years has invigorated contemporary global art movements and conversation. In Beijing Xingwei, Meiling Cheng engages with such artworks created to mark China's rapid social, economical, cultural, intellectual, and environmental transformations in its post-Deng era.
Clement Greenberg (1909–1994), champion of abstract expressionism and modernism—of Pollock, Miró, and Matisse—has been esteemed by many as the greatest art critic of the second half of the twentieth century, and possibly the greatest art critic of all time. This volume, a lively reassessment of Greenberg’s writings, features three approaches to the man and his work: Greenberg as critic, doctrinaire, and theorist. The book also features a transcription of a public debate with Greenberg that de Duve organized at the University of Ottawa in 1988. Clement Greenberg Between the Lines will be an indispensable resource for students, scholars, and enthusiasts of modern art.
“In this compelling study, Thierry de Duve reads Greenberg against the grain of the famous critic’s critics—and sometimes against the grain of the critic himself. By reinterpreting Greenberg’s interpretations of Pollock, Duchamp, and other canonical figures, de Duve establishes new theoretical coordinates by which to understand the uneasy complexities and importance of Greenberg’s practice.” John O’Brian, editor of Clement Greenberg: The Collected Essays and Criticisms
“De Duve is an expert on theoretical aesthetics and thus well suited to reassess the formalist tenets of the late American art critic's theory on art and culture. . . . De Duve's close readings of Greenberg . . . contain much of interest, and the author clearly enjoys matching wits with ‘the world's best known art critic.’” Library Journal
Complex Identities is a joint effort by American and Israeli scholars who ask challenging questions about art as formed by society and ethnicity. Focusing on nineteenth– and twentieth–century European, American, and Israeli artists, the contributors delve into the many ways in which Jewish artists have responded to their Jewishness and to the societies in which they lived, and how these factors have influenced their art, their choice of subject matter, and presentation of their work.
The contributions reflect a broad range of contemporary art criticism drawn from the history of art, culture, and literature. By analyzing how Jewish experiences have depicted and shaped art, the collection begins to answer how art, in its turn, depicts and shapes Jewish experience. An introduction by the volume editors unifies the essays and gives a historical overview.
The Situationist International were a group of anti-authoritarian, highly cultured, revolutionary artists whose energy and enragement fundamentally shaped the revolutions of the late 1960’s, most famously in Paris in May ‘68. They took on their shoulders the history of the workers’ struggle, saw that it had been corrupted by authoritarianism and transformed it, with influences incorporating the avant-garde via Dada and Surrealism. They were not Marxologists, defenders of the faith. Marxism came back to life in their raging analyses, the use of the ‘spectacle’ and at the heart of the project was the idea of the constructed situation.
This book by Frances Stracey offers itself up as the ‘first historiography of constructed situations’. Within it are new insights into the movement, and with them, a sense of relevance to political situations and practice today. As an archivist, Stracey uncovered new documents which, amongst other things, revealed how the SI related to representations of sexuality; and is able to discuss whether they could be considered as feminists or not. She also looked at their famous motto ‘Never Work’ and again shows how alienated labour is even more relevant to us today.
Constructed Situations is not a history of celebrated personalities, or cultural influences, or political circumstances. It is instead an open door to one of the most influential art movements in modern history, and an invitation for us to reclaim inspiration from this ubiquitous movement.
Craft is a diverse, democratic art form practiced by Americans of every gender, age, ethnicity, and class. Crafting America traces this expansive range of skilled making in a variety of forms, from ceramics and wood to performance costume and community-based practice. In exploring the intertwining of craft and American experience, this volume reveals how artists leverage their craft to realize the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Accompanying an exhibition of the same title organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Crafting America features contributions from scholars that illuminate craft’s relationship to ritual and memory, personal independence, abstraction, and Native American histories. The richly illustrated catalog section—with more than a hundred color images accompanied by lively commentary—presents a vivid picture of American craft over the past eight decades, offering fresh insights on the relationships between objects.
Building upon recent advances in craft scholarship and encouraging more inclusive narratives, Crafting America presents a bold statement on the vital role of craft within the broader context of American art and identity.
Contributors. Elissa Auther, Anthea Black, Betty Bright, Nicole Burisch, Maria Elena Buszek, Jo Dahn, M. Anna Fariello, Betsy Greer, Andrew Jackson, Janis Jefferies, Louise Mazanti, Paula Owen, Karin E. Peterson, Lacey Jane Roberts, Kirsty Robertson, Dennis Stevens, Margaret Wertheim
Fluxus—from the Latin, meaning “to flow”—was a radical, international network of artists, composers, and designers in the 1960s and 1970s noted for blurring the boundaries between what we term “art” and what makes up everyday life. Following the work of American Fluxus founder George Maciunus, Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life presents a variety of objects that express the Fluxus mission, while empowering readers to challenge the presumptions we bring to the concept and practice of art making.
Based on a large-scale traveling exhibition first organized at Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art, this book chronicles the movement in the form of an art self-help book, playfully providing answers to fourteen key questions such as “Art—what is it good for?” and “What am I?” via Fluxus works. Featuring over eighty color and black-and-white illustrations, accompanied by essays from curator Jacquelynn Baas, Fluxus scholars Hannah Higgins and Jacob Proctor, and Fluxus artist Ken Friedman, this book will make an original contribution to our understanding of this provocative moment in modern art.
Doyle explores ideologies of emotion and how emotion circulates in and around art. Throughout, she gives readers welcoming points of entry into artworks that they may at first find off-putting or confrontational. Doyle offers new insight into how the discourse of controversy serves to shut down discussion about this side of contemporary art practice, and counters with a critical language that allows the reader to accept emotional intensity in order to learn from it.
The Idea of Spatial Form contains the classic essay that introduced the concept of "spatial form" into literary discussion in 1945, and has since been accepted as one of the foundations for a theory of modern literature. It is here reprinted along with two later reconsiderations, one of which answers its major critics, while the second places the theory in relation to Russian Formalism and French Structuralism. Originally conceived to clarify the formal experiments of avant-garde literature, the idea of spatial form, when placed in this wider context, also contributes importantly to the foundations of a general poetics of the literary text. Also included are related discussions of André Malraux, Heinrich Wölfflin, Herbert Read, and E. H. Gombrich.
New material has been added to the essays in the form of footnotes and postscripts to two of them. These either illustrate the continuing relevance of the questions raised, or offer Frank's more recent opinions on the topic.
In an ancient account of painting’s origins, a woman traces the shadow of her departing lover on the wall in an act that anticipates future grief and commemoration. Lisa Saltzman shows here that nearly two thousand years after this story was first told, contemporary artists are returning to similar strategies of remembrance, ranging from vaudevillian silhouettes and sepulchral casts to incinerated architectures and ghostly processions.
Exploring these artists’ work, Saltzman demonstrates that their methods have now eclipsed painting and traditional sculpture as preeminent forms of visual representation. She pays particular attention to the groundbreaking art of Krzysztof Wodiczko, who is known for his projections of historical subjects; Kara Walker, who creates powerful silhouetted images of racial violence in American history; and Rachel Whiteread, whose work centers on making casts of empty interior spaces. Each of the artists Saltzman discusses is struggling with the roles that history and memory have come to play in an age when any historical statement is subject to question and doubt. In identifying this new and powerful movement, she provides a framework for understanding the art of our time.
Artist, educator, curator, and critic Luis Camnitzer has been writing about contemporary art ever since he left his native Uruguay in 1964 for a fellowship in New York City. As a transplant from the "periphery" to the "center," Camnitzer has had to confront fundamental questions about making art in the Americas, asking himself and others: What is "Latin American art"? How does it relate (if it does) to art created in the centers of New York and Europe? What is the role of the artist in exile? Writing about issues of such personal, cultural, and indeed political import has long been an integral part of Camnitzer's artistic project, a way of developing an idiosyncratic art history in which to work out his own place in the picture.
This volume gathers Camnitzer's most thought-provoking essays—"texts written to make something happen," in the words of volume editor Rachel Weiss. They elaborate themes that appear persistently throughout Camnitzer's work: art world systems versus an art of commitment; artistic genealogies and how they are consecrated; and, most insistently, the possibilities for artistic agency. The theme of "translation" informs the texts in the first part of the book, with Camnitzer asking such questions as "What is Latin America, and who asks the question? Who is the artist, there and here?" The texts in the second section are more historically than geographically oriented, exploring little-known moments, works, and events that compose the legacy that Camnitzer draws on and offers to his readers.
Leo Steinberg’s classic Other Criteria comprises eighteen essays on topics ranging from “Contemporary Art and the Plight of Its Public” and the “flatbed picture plane” to reflections on Picasso, Rauschenberg, Rodin, de Kooning, Pollock, Guston, and Jasper Johns. The latter, which Francine du Plessix Gray called “a tour de force of critical method,” is widely regarded as the most eye-opening analysis of the Johns’s work ever written. This edition includes a new preface and a handful of additional illustrations.
“The art book of the year, if not of the decade and possibly of the century. . . .The significance of this volume lies not so much in the quality of its insights—although the quality is very high and the insights are important—as in the richness, precision, and elegance of its style. . . . A meeting with the mind of Leo Steinberg is one of the most enlightening experiences that contemporary criticism affords.”
Overcoming All Obstacles: The Women of the Académie Julian is the first book to examine late nineteenth-century Paris's most famous training ground for the leading women artists of the period. The Académie Julian was founded in Paris in 1868, initially to prepare students for entry to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the nineteenth-century's preeminent art school. Because women could not study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts until 1897, Julian itself became an international equivalent for many of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century's most important women artists.
Not only does Overcoming All Obstacles introduce the reader to many works by women artists-both famous and lesser known-but the essays offer a cultural and historical context in which to appreciate their art. Gabriel Weisberg's essay concentrates on the rigorous training methods enforced by Rodolphe Julian and the teachers at the Academy. Jane Becker explores the competitive environment of the Julian Academy as it affected the Ukrainian painter Marie Bashkirtseff and the Swiss painter Louise-Catherine Breslau. Essays by Catherine Fehrer, the leading scholar of the Académie Julian, and Tamar Garb, an art historian who focuses on the training of women artists, give us a richer understanding of the Académie Julian's place in the sphere of art education in late nineteenth-century Paris.
Generously illustrated with both color and black-and-white images, this volume includes documentary photographs and caricatures that have never before been reproduced. The core of the book draws on the large collection of the Académie Julian Del Debbio, the Académie Julian's successor institution in Paris. This publication accompanied an exhibition organized by the Dahesh Museum in New York that opened after its exhibition at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. The exhibition subsequently continued to the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis.
From property deeds to shipping containers to wearable shelters to virtual spaces: what does it mean to draw a spatial boundary? To be at home? In a world in which notions of place are constantly changing, Jennifer Johung looks at new constructions of staying in place—in contemporary site-specific art, digital media, portable architecture, and various other imaginable shelters and sites.
Replacing Home suggests that while “place” may no longer be a sustainable category, being in place and belonging at home are nonetheless possible. By emphasizing reusability rather than fixed constructions, art and architecture together propose various systems of replacing home in which sites can be revisited, material structures can be renewed, and dwellers can come back into contact over time. Bringing together a range of objects and events, Johung considers the structural replacements of home as evident in artistic analogies of the prehistoric hut, modular homes, transformable garments, and digitally networked sites.
In charting these intersections between contemporary art and architecture, Replacing Home introduces a new framework for reconceptualizing spatial situation; at the same time, it presents a new way to experience being and belonging within our globally expanded environments.
What it is like to be an animal? Ron Broglio wants to know from the inside, from underneath the fur and feathers. In examining this question, he bypasses the perspectives of biology or natural history to explore how one can construct an animal phenomenology, to think and feel as an animal other—or any other.
Until now phenomenology has grappled with how humans are embedded in their world. According to philosophical tradition, animals do not practice the self-reflexive thought that provides humans with depth of being. Without human interiority, philosophers have believed, animals live on the surface of things. But, Broglio argues, the surface can be a site of productive engagement with the world of animals, and as such he turns to humans who work with surfaces: contemporary artists.
Taking on the negative claim of animals living only on the surface and turning the premise into a positive set of possibilities for human–animal engagement, Broglio considers artists—including Damien Hirst, Carolee Schneemann, Olly and Suzi, and Marcus Coates—who take seriously the world of the animal on its own terms. In doing so, these artists develop languages of interspecies expression that both challenge philosophy and fashion new concepts for animal studies.
Who gets to say what counts as contemporary art? Artists, critics, curators, gallerists, auctioneers, collectors, or the public? Revealing how all of these groups have shaped today’s multifaceted definition, Terry Smith brilliantly shows that an historical approach offers the best answer to the question: What is Contemporary Art?
Smith argues that the most recognizable kind is characterized by a return to mainstream modernism in the work of such artists as Richard Serra and Gerhard Richter, as well as the retro-sensationalism of figures like Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami. At the same time, Smith reveals, postcolonial artists are engaged in a different kind of practice: one that builds on local concerns and tackles questions of identity, history, and globalization. A younger generation embodies yet a third approach to contemporaneity by investigating time, place, mediation, and ethics through small-scale, closely connective art making. Inviting readers into these diverse yet overlapping art worlds, Smith offers a behind-the-scenes introduction to the institutions, the personalities, the biennials, and of course the works that together are defining the contemporary. The resulting map of where art is now illuminates not only where it has been but also where it is going.
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