front cover of Aesthetics of the Commons
Aesthetics of the Commons
Edited by Cornelia Sollfrank, Felix Stalder, and Shusha Niederberger
Diaphanes, 2021
What do a feminist server, an art space located in a public park in North London, a so-called pirate library of high cultural value yet dubious legal status, and an art school that emphasizes collectivity have in common? They all demonstrate that art plays an important role in imagining and producing a real quite different from what is currently hegemonic, and that art has the possibility to not only envision or proclaim ideas in theory, but also to realize them materially.
 
Aesthetics of the Commons examines a series of artistic and cultural projects—drawn from what can loosely be called the (post)digital—that take up this challenge in different ways. What unites them, however, is that they all have a double character. They are art in the sense that they place themselves in relation to (Western) cultural and art systems, developing discursive and aesthetic positions, but, at the same time, they are operational in that they create recursive environments and freely available resources whose uses exceed these systems. The first aspect raises questions about the kind of aesthetics that are being embodied, the second creates a relation to the larger concept of the commons. In Aesthetics of the Commons, the commons are understood not as a fixed set of principles that need to be adhered to in order to fit a definition, but instead as a thinking tool—in other words, the book’s interest lies in what can be made visible by applying the framework of the commons as a heuristic device.
 
 
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African American Arts
Activism, Aesthetics, and Futurity
weems, carrie mae
Bucknell University Press, 2020
Signaling such recent activist and aesthetic concepts in the work of Kara Walker, Childish Gambino, BLM, Janelle Monáe, and Kendrick Lamar, and marking the exit of the Obama Administration and the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, this anthology explores the role of African American arts in shaping the future, and further informing new directions we might take in honoring and protecting the success of African Americans in the U.S. The essays in African American Arts: Activism, Aesthetics, and Futurity engage readers in critical conversations by activists, scholars, and artists reflecting on national and transnational legacies of African American activism as an element of artistic practice, particularly as they concern artistic expression and race relations, and the intersections of creative processes with economic, sociological, and psychological inequalities. Scholars from the fields of communication, theater, queer studies, media studies, performance studies, dance, visual arts, and fashion design, to name a few, collectively ask: What are the connections between African American arts, the work of social justice, and creative processes? If we conceive the arts as critical to the legacy of Black activism in the United States, how can we use that construct to inform our understanding of the complicated intersections of African American activism and aesthetics? How might we as scholars and creative thinkers further employ the arts to envision and shape a verdant society?

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

Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press. 
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Ancient Muses
Archaeology and the Arts
Edited by John H. Jameson Jr., John E. Ehrenhard, and Christine A. Finn
University of Alabama Press, 2003
Examines how information derived from archaeological investigations can be presented artistically to educate the general public
 
Known widely in Europe as “interpretive narrative archaeology,” the practice of using creative methods to interpret and present current knowledge of the past is gaining popularity in North America. This book is the first compilation of international case studies of the various artistic methods used in this new form of education—one that makes archaeology “come alive” for the nonprofessional. Plays, opera, visual art, stories, poetry, performance dance, music, sculpture, digital imagery—all can effectively communicate archaeological processes and cultural values to public audiences.

The contributors to this volume are a diverse group of archaeologists, educators, and artisans who have direct experience in schools, museums, and at archaeological sites. Citing specific examples, such as the film The English Patient, science fiction mysteries, and hypertext environments, they explain how creative imagination and the power of visual and audio media can personalize, contextualize, and demystify the research process. A 16-page color section illuminates their examples, and an accompanying CD includes relevant videos, music, web sites, and additional color images.
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Art and Social Movements
Cultural Politics in Mexico and Aztlán
Edward J. McCaughan
Duke University Press, 2012
Art and Social Movements offers a comparative, cross-border analysis of the role of visual artists in three social movements from the late 1960s through the early 1990s: the 1968 student movement and related activist art collectives in Mexico City, a Zapotec indigenous struggle in Oaxaca, and the Chicano movement in California. Based on extensive archival research and interviews, Edward J. McCaughan explores how artists helped to shape the identities and visions of a generation of Mexican and Chicano activists by creating new visual discourses.

McCaughan argues that the social power of activist artists emanates from their ability to provoke people to see, think, and act in innovative ways. Artists, he claims, help to create visual languages and spaces through which activists can imagine and perform new collective identities and forms of meaningful citizenship. The artists' work that he discusses remains vital today—in movements demanding fuller democratic rights and social justice for working people, women, ethnic communities, immigrants, and sexual minorities throughout Mexico and the United States. Integrating insights from scholarship on the cultural politics of representation with structural analyses of specific historical contexts, McCaughan expands our understanding of social movements.

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Art, Culture, and Media Under the Third Reich
Edited by Richard A. Etlin
University of Chicago Press, 2002
Art, Culture, and Media Under the Third Reich explores the ways in which the Nazis used art and media to portray their country as the champion of Kultur and civilization. Rather than focusing strictly on the role of the arts in state-supported propaganda, this volume contributes to Holocaust studies by revealing how multiple domains of cultural activity served to conceptually dehumanize Jews and other groups.

Contributors address nearly every facet of the arts and mass media under the Third Reich—efforts to define degenerate music and art; the promotion of race hatred through film and public assemblies; views of the racially ideal garden and landscape; race as portrayed in popular literature; the reception of art and culture abroad; the treatment of exiled artists; and issues of territory, conquest, and appeasement. Familiar subjects such as the Munich Accord, Nuremberg Party Rally Grounds, and Lebensraum (Living Space) are considered from a new perspective. Anyone studying the history of Nazi Germany or the role of the arts in nationalist projects will benefit from this book.

Contributors:
Ruth Ben-Ghiat
David Culbert
Albrecht Dümling
Richard A. Etlin
Karen A. Fiss
Keith Holz
Kathleen James-Chakraborty
Paul B. Jaskot
Karen Koehler
Mary-Elizabeth O'Brien
Jonathan Petropoulos
Robert Jan van Pelt
Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn and Gert Gröning
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Art from Start to Finish
Jazz, Painting, Writing, and Other Improvisations
Edited by Howard S. Becker, Robert R. Faulkner, and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
University of Chicago Press, 2006
When is an artistic work finished? When the copyeditor makes the final correction to a manuscript, when the composer writes the last note of a symphony, or when the painter puts the last brushstroke on the canvas? Perhaps it's even later, when someone reads the work, when an ensemble performs, or when the painting is hung on a gallery wall for viewing?

Art from Start to Finish gathers a unique group of contributors from the worlds of sociology, musicology, literature, and communications—many of them practicing artists in their own right—to discuss how artists from jazz musicians to painters work: how they coordinate their efforts, how they think, how they start, and, of course, how they finish their productions.

Specialists in the arts have much to say about the works themselves, which are often neglected by scholarsi n other fields. Art from Start to Finish takes a different tack by exploring the creative process itself and its social component. Any reader who makes art or has an interest in it will value this book.
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Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the United States
DiMaggio, Paul
Rutgers University Press, 2010
Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the United States is the first book to provide a comprehensive and lively analysis of the contributions of artists from America's newest immigrant communities--Africa, the Middle East, China, India, Southeast Asia, Central America, and Mexico. Adding significantly to our understanding of both the arts and immigration, multidisciplinary scholars explore tensions that artists face in forging careers in a new world and navigating between their home communities and the larger society. They address the art forms that these modern settlers bring with them; show how poets, musicians, playwrights, and visual artists adapt traditional forms to new environments; and consider the ways in which the communities' young people integrate their own traditions and concerns into contemporary expression.
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Arts And American Home
1890-1930
Jessica H. Foy
University of Tennessee Press, 1995
Between 1890 and 1930, the domestic arts, as well as the daily life of the American family, began to reflect rapid advances in technology, aesthetics, and attitudes about American culture. Pictorial, literary, musical, and decorative arts from this era all reveal a shift from clutter to clarity and from profusion to restraint as modern conveniences, ranging from pre-stamped needlework patterns to central heat, were introduced into the domestic environment. However, the household arts were also affected by an enduring strain of conservatism reflected in the popularity of historically inspired furnishing styles.
In this collection of essays, ten experts in turn-of-the-century popular and material culture examine how the struggle between modernity and tradition was reflected in various facets of the household aesthetic. Their findings touch on sub-themes of gender, generation, and class to provide a fascinating commentary on what middle-class Americans were prepared to discard in the name of modernity and what they stubbornly retained for the sake of ideology. Through an examination of material culture and prescriptive literature from this period, the essayists also demonstrate how changes in artistic expression affected the psychological, social, and cultural lives of everyday Americans.
This book joins a growing list of titles dedicated to analyzing and interpreting the cultural dimensions of past domestic life. Its essays shed new light on house history by tracking the transformation of a significant element of home life - its expressions of art.
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At the Pivot of East and West
Ethnographic, Literary, and Filmic Arts
Michael M. J. Fischer
Duke University Press, 2023
In At the Pivot of East and West, Michael M. J. Fischer examines documentary filmmaking and literature from Southeast Asia and Singapore for their para-ethnographic insights into politics, culture, and aesthetics. Women novelists—Lydia Kwa, Laksmi Pamuntjak, Sandi Tan, Jing Jing Lee, and Danielle Lim—renarrate Southeast Asian generational and political worlds as gendered psychodramas, while filmmakers Tan Pin Pin and Daniel Hui use film to probe into what can better be seen beyond textual worlds. Other writers like Daren Goh, Kevin Martens Wong, and Nuraliah Norasid reinvent the detective story for the age of artificial intelligence, use monsters to reimagine the Southeast Asian archipelago, and critique racism and the erasure of ethnic cultural histories. Continuing his project of applying anthropological thinking to the creative arts, Fischer exemplifies how art and fiction trace the ways in which taken-for-granted common sense changes over time, speak to the transnational present, and track signals of the future before they surface in public awareness.
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Back Stages
Essays across Art, Performance, and Public Life
Shannon Jackson
Northwestern University Press, 2022
Shannon Jackson explores a range of disciplinary, institutional, and political puzzles that engage the social and aesthetic practice of performance in this collection of twenty essential essays spanning her career. Back Stages starts by considering the historical connection between performance practice and movements of social reform, while later writings analyze disciplinary debates on the place of performance in higher education and within the contemporary field of socially engaged art, tracking fraught and allied relationships to literary studies, art history, visual culture, theater, social theory, and critical theory.
 
At a time of increased aesthetic experimentation and political debate within the art world, these essays alight on artists, groups, and cultural organizations whose experiments have challenged conventions of curation and critique, including Theaster Gates, Paul Ramírez Jonas, Harrell Fletcher, and My Barbarian. Throughout, Jackson navigates the political ambivalences of performance, from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century, tracking shifts in participatory art that seek to resist capitalism, even as such performance work paradoxically risks neoliberal appropriation by a post-Fordist experience economy.
 
Back Stages surfaces unexpected cross-disciplinary connections and provides new opportunities for mutual engagement within a wide network of educational, artistic, and civic sectors. A substantial introduction excavates the critical links between the essays and a variety of disciplines and movements.
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Beautiful Terrible Ruins
Detroit and the Anxiety of Decline
Apel, Dora
Rutgers University Press, 2015
Once the manufacturing powerhouse of the nation, Detroit has become emblematic of failing cities everywhere—the paradigmatic city of ruins—and the epicenter of an explosive growth in images of urban decay. In Beautiful Terrible Ruins, art historian Dora Apel explores a wide array of these images, ranging from photography, advertising, and television, to documentaries, video games, and zombie and disaster films.  
 
Apel shows how Detroit has become pivotal to an expanding network of ruin imagery, imagery ultimately driven by a pervasive and growing cultural pessimism, a loss of faith in progress, and a deepening fear that worse times are coming. The images of Detroit’s decay speak to the overarching anxieties of our era: increasing poverty, declining wages and social services, inadequate health care, unemployment, homelessness, and ecological disaster—in short, the failure of capitalism. Apel reveals how, through the aesthetic distancing of representation, the haunted beauty and fascination of ruin imagery, embodied by Detroit’s abandoned downtown skyscrapers, empty urban spaces, decaying factories, and derelict neighborhoods help us to cope with our fears. But Apel warns that these images, while pleasurable, have little explanatory power, lulling us into seeing Detroit’s deterioration as either inevitable or the city’s own fault, and absolving the real agents of decline—corporate disinvestment and globalization. Beautiful Terrible Ruins helps us understand the ways that the pleasure and the horror of urban decay hold us in thrall. 
 
 
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The Black Chicago Renaissance
Edited by Darlene Clark Hine and John McCluskey Jr.
University of Illinois Press, 2012
Beginning in the 1930s, Black Chicago experienced a cultural renaissance that lasted into the 1950s and rivaled the cultural outpouring in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. The contributors to this volume analyze this prolific period of African American creativity in music, performance art, social science scholarship, and visual and literary artistic expression.
 
Unlike Harlem, Chicago was an urban industrial center that gave a unique working class and internationalist perspective to the cultural work being done in Chicago. This collection's various essays discuss the forces that distinguished the Black Chicago Renaissance from the Harlem Renaissance and placed the development of black culture in a national and international context. Among the topics discussed in this volume are Chicago writers Gwendolyn Brooks and Richard Wright, The Chicago Defender and Tivoli Theater, African American music and visual arts, and the American Negro Exposition of 1940.
 
Contributors are Hilary Mac Austin, David T. Bailey, Murry N. DePillars, Samuel A. Floyd Jr., Erik S. Gellman, Jeffrey Helgeson, Darlene Clark Hine, John McCluskey Jr., Christopher Robert Reed, Elizabeth Schlabach, and Clovis E. Semmes.
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Black Paper
Writing in a Dark Time
Teju Cole
University of Chicago Press, 2021
A profound book of essays from a celebrated master of the form.

“Darkness is not empty,” writes Teju Cole in Black Paper, a book that meditates on what it means to sustain our humanity—and witness the humanity of others—in a time of darkness. One of the most celebrated essayists of his generation, Cole here plays variations on the essay form, modeling ways to attend to experience—not just to take in but to think critically about what we sense and what we don’t.

Wide-ranging but thematically unified, the essays address ethical questions about what it means to be human and what it means to bear witness, recognizing how our individual present is informed by a collective past. Cole’s writings in Black Paper approach the fractured moment of our history through a constellation of interrelated concerns: confrontation with unsettling art, elegies both public and private, the defense of writing in a time of political upheaval, the role of the color black in the visual arts, the use of shadow in photography, and the links between literature and activism. Throughout, Cole gives us intriguing new ways of thinking about blackness and its numerous connotations. As he describes the carbon-copy process in his epilogue: “Writing on the top white sheet would transfer the carbon from the black paper onto the bottom white sheet. Black transported the meaning.”
 
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Branding Brazil
Transforming Citizenship on Screen
Leslie L. Marsh
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Branding Brazil examines a panorama of contemporary cultural productions including film, television, photography, and alternative media to explore the transformation of citizenship in Brazil from 2003 to 2014. A utopian impulse drove the reproduction of Brazilian cultural identity for local and global consumption; cultural production sought social and economic profits, especially greater inclusion of previously marginalized people and places. Marsh asserts that three communicative strategies from branding–promising progress, cultivating buy-in, and resolving contradictions–are the most salient and recurrent practices of nation branding during this historic period. More recent political crises can be understood partly in terms of backlash against marked social and political changes introduced during the branding period. Branding Brazil takes a multi-faceted approach, weaving media studies with politics and cinema studies to reveal that more than a marketing term or project emanating from the state, branding was a cultural phenomenon.
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Breathing Aesthetics
Jean-Thomas Tremblay
Duke University Press, 2022
In Breathing Aesthetics Jean-Thomas Tremblay argues that difficult breathing indexes the uneven distribution of risk in a contemporary era marked by the increasing contamination, weaponization, and monetization of air. Tremblay shows how biopolitical and necropolitical forces tied to the continuation of extractive capitalism, imperialism, and structural racism are embodied and experienced through respiration. They identify responses to the crisis in breathing in aesthetic practices ranging from the film work of Cuban American artist Ana Mendieta to the disability diaries of Bob Flanagan, to the Black queer speculative fiction of Renee Gladman. In readings of these and other minoritarian works of experimental film, endurance performance, ecopoetics, and cinema-vérité, Tremblay contends that articulations of survival now depend on the management and dispersal of respiratory hazards. In so doing, they reveal how an aesthetic attention to breathing generates historically, culturally, and environmentally situated tactics and strategies for living under precarity.
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Brutal Beauty
Aesthetics and Aspiration in Urban India
Jisha Menon
Northwestern University Press, 2022
Brutal Beauty: Aesthetics and Aspiration in Urban India follows a postcolonial city as it transforms into a bustling global metropolis after the liberalization of the Indian economy. Taking the once idyllic “garden city” of Bangalore in southern India as its point of departure, the book explores how artists across India and beyond foreground neoliberalism as a “structure of feeling” permeating aesthetics, selfhood, and everyday life.
 
Jisha Menon conveys the affective life of the city through multiple aesthetic projects that express a range of urban feelings, including aspiration, panic, and obsolescence. As developers and policymakers remodel the city through tumultuous construction projects, urban beautification, privatization, and other templated features of “world‑class cities,” urban citizens are also changing—transformed by nostalgia, narcissism, shame, and the spaces where they dwell and work. Sketching out scenes of urban aspiration and its dark underbelly, Menon delineates the creative and destructive potential of India’s lurch into contemporary capitalism, uncovering the interconnectedness of local and global power structures as well as art’s capacity to absorb and critique liberalization’s discontents. She argues that neoliberalism isn’t just an economic, social, and political phenomenon; neoliberalism is also a profoundly aesthetic project.
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Buenos Aires Across the Arts
Five and One Theses on Modernity, 1921-1939
Eleni Kefala
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021

By 1920 Buenos Aires was the largest and most cosmopolitan city of Latin America due to mass immigration from Europe in the previous decades. Unbridled urban expansion had drastic effects on the social and cultural topography of the Argentine capital, raising ideological and aesthetic issues that shaped the modernist landscape of the country. Artists across disciplines responded to these changes with conflicting depictions of urban space. Centering these conflicts as a cognitive map of modernity’s new realities in the city, Buenos Aires across the Arts looks at the interaction between modernity and modernism in literature, photography, film, and painting during the interwar period. This was a time of profound change and heightened cultural activity in Argentina. Eleni Kefala analyzes works by Jorge Luis Borges, Oliverio Girondo, José Ferreyra, Xul Solar, Roberto Arlt, and Horacio Coppola, with a focus on the city of Buenos Aires as a playground of modernity.

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A Continuous Revolution
Making Sense of Cultural Revolution Culture
Barbara Mittler
Harvard University Press, 2012

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

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

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Creating a World on Paper
Harry Fenn's Career in Art
Sue Rainey
University of Massachusetts Press, 2013
Harry Fenn was one of the most skilled and successful illustrators in the United States in the latter half of the nineteenth century, a time when illustrated periodicals and books were the primary means of sharing visual images. Fenn's work fostered pride in America's scenic landscapes and urban centers, informed a curious public about foreign lands, and promoted appreciation of printed pictures as artworks for a growing middle class.

Arriving in New York from London in 1857 as a young wood engraver, Fenn soon forged a career in illustration. His tiny black-and-white wood engravings for Whittier's Snow-Bound (1868) surprised critics with their power, and his bold, innovative compositions for Picturesque America (1872–74) were enormously popular and expanded the field for illustrators and publishers. In the 1880s and '90s, his illustrations appeared in many of the finest magazines and newspapers, depicting the places and events that interested the public—from post–Civil War national reconciliation to the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 to the beginnings of imperialism in the Spanish-American War.

This handsomely designed volume documents Fenn's prolific career from the 1860s until his death in 1911. Sue Rainey also recounts his adventurous sketching trips in the western United States, Europe, and the Middle East, which enhanced his reputation for depicting far-flung places at a time when the nation was taking a more prominent role on the world stage.
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The Cuban Hustle
Culture, Politics, Everyday Life
Sujatha Fernandes
Duke University Press, 2020
In The Cuban Hustle, Sujatha Fernandes explores the multitudinous ways artists, activists, and ordinary Cubans have hustled to survive and express themselves in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse. Whether circulating information on flash drives as a substitute for the internet or building homemade antennas to listen to Miami’s hip hop radio stations, Cubans improvise alternative strategies and workarounds to contend with ongoing isolation. Throughout these essays, Fernandes examines the emergence of dynamic youth cultures and social movements as Cuba grappled with economic collapse, new digital technologies, the normalization of diplomatic ties with the United States during the Obama administration, and the regression of US-Cuban relations in the Trump era. From reflections on feminism, new Cuban cinema, and public art to urban slums, the Afro-Cuban movement, and rumba and hip hop, Fernandes reveals Cuba to be a world of vibrant cultures grounded in an ethos of invention and everyday hustle.
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Cultural Agency in the Americas
Doris Sommer, ed.
Duke University Press, 2006
“Cultural agency” refers to a range of creative activities that contribute to society, including pedagogy, research, activism, and the arts. Focusing on the connections between creativity and social change in the Americas, this collection encourages scholars to become cultural agents by reflecting on exemplary cases and thereby making them available as inspirations for more constructive theory and more innovative practice. Creativity supports democracy because artistic, administrative, and interpretive experiments need margins of freedom that defy monolithic or authoritarian regimes. The ingenious ways in which people pry open dead-ends of even apparently intractable structures suggest that cultural studies as we know it has too often gotten stuck in critique. Intellectual responsibility can get beyond denunciation by acknowledging and nurturing the resourcefulness of common and uncommon agents.

Based in North and South America, scholars from fields including anthropology, performance studies, history, literature, and communications studies explore specific variations of cultural agency across Latin America. Contributors reflect, for example, on the paradoxical programming and reception of a state-controlled Cuban radio station that connects listeners at home and abroad; on the intricacies of indigenous protests in Brazil; and the formulation of cultural policies in cosmopolitan Mexico City. One contributor notes that trauma theory targets individual victims when it should address collective memory as it is worked through in performance and ritual; another examines how Mapuche leaders in Argentina perceived the pitfalls of ethnic essentialism and developed new ways to intervene in local government. Whether suggesting modes of cultural agency, tracking exemplary instances of it, or cautioning against potential missteps, the essays in this book encourage attentiveness to, and the multiplication of, the many extraordinary instantiations of cultural resourcefulness and creativity throughout Latin America and beyond.

Contributors. Arturo Arias, Claudia Briones, Néstor García Canclini, Denise Corte, Juan Carlos Godenzzi, Charles R. Hale, Ariana Hernández-Reguant, Claudio Lomnitz, Jesús Martín Barbero, J. Lorand Matory, Rosamel Millamán, Diane M. Nelson, Mary Louise Pratt, Alcida Rita Ramos, Doris Sommer, Diana Taylor, Santiago Villaveces

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Cultural Democracy
The Arts, Community, and the Public Purpose
James Bau Graves
University of Illinois Press, 2004
Cultural Democracy explores the crisis of our national cultural vitality, as access to the arts becomes increasingly mediated by a handful of corporations and the narrow tastes of wealthy elites. Graves offers the concept of cultural democracy as corrective--an idea with important historic and contemporary validation, and an alternative pathway toward ethical cultural development that is part of a global shift in values. 
 
Drawing upon a range of scholarship and illustrative anecdotes from his own experiences with cultural programs in ethnically diverse communities, Graves explains in convincing detail the dynamics of how traditional and grassroots cultures may survive and thrive--or not--and what we can do to provide them opportunities equal to those of mainstream, Eurocentric culture. 
 
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Culture Game
Olu Oguibe
University of Minnesota Press, 2004

An acclaimed artist and cultural provocateur reveals the hidden biases of the contemporary art world

In self-congratulatory tones of tolerance and open-mindedness, the Western gatekeepers of the contemporary art world—gallery owners and museum curators, patrons and promoters—take great pains to demonstrate their inclusive vision of world culture. They highlight the Latin American show mounted “a few years ago” or the African works featured in a recent exhibition of non-Western artists. Non-Western artists soon discover that this veneer of liberalism masks an array of unwritten, unspoken, and unseemly codes and quotas dictating the acquisition and exhibition of their works and the success of their careers. In past decades, cultural institutions and the critical establishment in the West resisted difference; today, they are obsessed with exoticism. Both attitudes reflect firmly entrenched prejudices that prescribe the rules of what Nigerian-born artist, curator, and scholar Olu Oguibe terms the “culture game.”

In the celebrated, controversial essays gathered here, Oguibe exposes the disparities and inconsistencies of the reception and treatment afforded Western and non-Western artists; the obstacles that these contradictions create for non-Western and minority artists, especially those who live and practice in the Western metropolis; and the nature and peculiar concerns of contemporary non-Western art as it deals with the ramifications and residues of the colonial encounter as well as its own historical and cultural past. Ranging from the impact of the West’s appetite for difference on global cultural relations and the existence of a digital Third World to the African redefinition of modernity, Oguibe’s uncompromising and unapologetic criticism provides a uniquely global vision of contemporary art and culture.
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Dark Matter
Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture
Gregory Sholette
Pluto Press, 2011
Art is big business, with some artists able to command huge sums of money for their works, while the vast majority are ignored or dismissed by critics. This book shows that these marginalised artists, the 'dark matter' of the art world, are essential to the survival of the mainstream and that they frequently organize in opposition to it.

Gregory Sholette, a politically engaged artist, argues that imagination and creativity in the art world originate thrive in the non-commercial sector shut off from prestigious galleries and champagne receptions. This broader creative culture feeds the mainstream with new forms and styles that can be commodified and used to sustain the few artists admitted into the elite.

This dependency, and the advent of inexpensive communication, audio and video technology, has allowed this 'dark matter' of the alternative art world to increasingly subvert the mainstream and intervene politically as both new and old forms of non-capitalist, public art. This book is essential for anyone interested in interventionist art, collectivism, and the political economy of the art world.
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Disordering the Establishment
Participatory Art and Institutional Critique in France, 1958–1981
Lily Woodruff
Duke University Press, 2020
In the decades following World War II, France experienced both a period of affluence and a wave of political, artistic, and philosophical discontent that culminated in the countrywide protests of 1968. In Disordering the Establishment Lily Woodruff examines the development of artistic strategies of political resistance in France in this era. Drawing on interviews with artists, curators, and cultural figures of the time, Woodruff analyzes the formal and rhetorical methods that artists used to counter establishment ideology, appeal to direct political engagement, and grapple with French intellectuals' modeling of society. Artists and collectives such as Daniel Buren, André Cadere, the Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel, and the Collectif d’Art Sociologique shared an opposition to institutional hegemony by adapting their works to unconventional spaces and audiences, asserting artistic autonomy from art institutions, and embracing interdisciplinarity. In showing how these artists used art to question what art should be and where it should be seen, Woodruff demonstrates how artists challenged and redefined the art establishment and their historical moment.
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Don't Look Away
Art, Nonviolence, and Preventive Publics in Contemporary Europe
Brianne Cohen
Duke University Press, 2023
In Don’t Look Away Brianne Cohen considers the role of contemporary art in developing a public commitment to end structural violence in Europe. Cohen focuses on art activism of the early twenty-first century that confronts the slow violence perpetuated against precarious peoples. Exploring the work of German filmmaker Harun Farocki, Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn, and the art collective Henry VIII’s Wives, Cohen argues that their recursive art practices offer a more sustained counter to the violence undergirding the public sphere than do artworks premised on immediate rupture. Their art reflects on a variety of flashpoints of violence and vulnerability in Europe, from the legacy of the Holocaust to Islamophobia and rising anti-immigrant sentiment. Because this violence has often cultivated fear-based publics, Cohen contends that art must foster ethical and civil relations between strangers across physical and virtual borders. In contrast to art-critical practices that privilege direct action in contemporary art activism, Cohen advocates for the imaginative, messier, often more elusive potential of art to change mindsets and foster a nonviolent social imaginary.
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Drawing on the Victorians
The Palimpsest of Victorian and Neo-Victorian Graphic Texts
Anna Maria Jones
Ohio University Press, 2017

Late nineteenth-century Britain experienced an unprecedented explosion of visual print culture and a simultaneous rise in literacy across social classes. New printing technologies facilitated quick and cheap dissemination of images—illustrated books, periodicals, cartoons, comics, and ephemera—to a mass readership. This Victorian visual turn prefigured the present-day impact of the Internet on how images are produced and shared, both driving and reflecting the visual culture of its time.

From this starting point, Drawing on the Victorians sets out to explore the relationship between Victorian graphic texts and today’s steampunk, manga, and other neo-Victorian genres that emulate and reinterpret their predecessors. Neo-Victorianism is a flourishing worldwide phenomenon, but one whose relationship with the texts from which it takes its inspiration remains underexplored.

In this collection, scholars from literary studies, cultural studies, and art history consider contemporary works—Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Moto Naoko’s Lady Victorian, and Edward Gorey’s Gashlycrumb Tinies, among others—alongside their antecedents, from Punch’s 1897 Jubilee issue to Alice in Wonderland and more. They build on previous work on neo-Victorianism to affirm that the past not only influences but converses with the present.

Contributors: Christine Ferguson, Kate Flint, Anna Maria Jones, Linda K. Hughes, Heidi Kaufman, Brian Maidment, Rebecca N. Mitchell, Jennifer Phegley, Monika Pietrzak-Franger, Peter W. Sinnema, Jessica Straley

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The Early Renaissance and Vernacular Culture
Charles Dempsey
Harvard University Press, 2012

Why do the paintings and poetry of the Italian Renaissance—a celebration of classical antiquity—also depict the Florentine countryside populated with figures dressed in contemporary silk robes and fleur-de-lys crowns? Upending conventional interpretations of this well-studied period, Charles Dempsey argues that a fusion of classical form with contemporary content, once seen as the paradox of the Renaissance, can be better understood as its defining characteristic.

Dempsey describes how Renaissance artists deftly incorporated secular and popular culture into their creations, just as they interwove classical and religious influences. Inspired by the love lyrics of Parisian troubadours, Simone Martini altered his fresco Maestà in 1321 to reflect a court culture that prized terrestrial beauty. As a result the Maestà scandalously revealed, for the first time in Italian painting, a glimpse of the Madonna’s golden locks. Modeled on an ancient statue, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus went much further, featuring fashionable beauty ideals of long flowing blonde hair, ivory skin, rosy cheeks, and perfectly arched eyebrows. In the only complete reconstruction of Feo Belcari’s twelve Sybilline Octaves, Dempsey shows how this poet, patronized by the Medici family, was also indebted to contemporary dramatic modes. Popularizing biblical scenes by mixing the familiar with the exotic, players took the stage outfitted in taffeta tunics and fanciful hats, and one staging even featured a papier-maché replica of Jonah’s Whale. As Dempsey’s thorough study illuminates, Renaissance poets and artists did not simply reproduce classical aesthetics but reimagined them in vernacular idioms.

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Entering Cultural Communities
Diversity and Change in the Nonprofit Arts
Grams, Diane
Rutgers University Press, 2008
Arts organizations once sought patrons primarily from among the wealthy and well educated, but for many decades now they have revised their goals as they seek to broaden their audiences. Today, museums, orchestras, dance companies, theaters, and community cultural centers try to involve a variety of people in the arts. They strive to attract a more racially and ethnically diverse group of people, those from a broader range of economic backgrounds, new immigrants, families, and youth.

The chapters in this book draw on interviews with leaders, staff, volunteers, and audience members from eighty-five nonprofit cultural organizations to explore how they are trying to increase participation and the extent to which they have been successful. The insiders' accounts point to the opportunities and challenges involved in such efforts, from the reinvention of programs and creation of new activities, to the addition of new departments and staff dynamics, to partnerships with new groups. The authors differentiate between "relational" and "transactional" practices, the former term describing efforts to build connections with local communities and the latter describing efforts to create new consumer markets for cultural products. In both cases, arts leaders report that, although positive results are difficult to measure conclusively, long-term efforts bring better outcomes than short-term activities.

The organizations discussed include large, medium, and small nonprofits located in urban, suburban, and rural areas—from large institutions such as the Smithsonian, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the San Francisco Symphony to many cultural organizations that are smaller, but often known nationally for their innovative work, such as AS220, The Loft Literary Center, Armory Center for the Arts, Appalshop, and the Western Folklife Center.


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From Confinement to Containment
Japanese/American Arts during the Early Cold War
Edward Tang
Temple University Press, 2019

During the early part of the Cold War, Japan emerged as a model ally, and Japanese Americans were seen as a model minority. From Confinement to Containment examines the work of four Japanese and Japanese/American artists and writers during this period: the novelist Hanama Tasaki, the actor Yamaguchi Yoshiko, the painter Henry Sugimoto, and the children’s author Yoshiko Uchida. The backgrounds of the four figures reveal a mixing of nationalities, a borrowing of cultures, and a combination of domestic and overseas interests.

Edward Tang shows how the film, art, and literature made by these artists revealed to the American public the linked processes of U.S. actions at home and abroad. Their work played into—but also challenged—the postwar rehabilitated images of Japan and Japanese Americans as it focused on the history of transpacific relations such as Japanese immigration to the United States, the Asia-Pacific War, U.S. and Japanese imperialism, and the wartime confinement of Japanese Americans. From Confinement to Containment shows the relationships between larger global forces as well as how the artists and writers responded to them in both critical and compromised ways.

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FUTURE/PRESENT
Arts in a Changing America
Daniela Alvarez, Roberta Uno, and Elizabeth M. Webb, editors
Duke University Press, 2024
FUTURE/PRESENT brings together a vast collection of writers, artists, activists, and academics working at the forefront of today’s most pressing struggles for cultural equity and racial justice in a demographically changing America. The volume builds upon five years of national organizing by Arts in a Changing America, an artist-led initiative that challenges structural racism by centering people of color who are leading innovation at the nexus of arts production, community benefit, and social change. FUTURE/PRESENT includes a range of essays and criticism, visual and performance art, artist manifestos, interviews, poetry, and reflections on community practice. Throughout, contributors examine issues of placekeeping and belonging, migration and diasporas, the carceral state, renegotiating relationships with land, ancestral knowledge as radical futurity, and shifting paradigms of inequity. Foregrounding the powerful resilience of communities of color, FUTURE/PRESENT advances the role of artists as first responders to injustices, creative stewards in the cohesion and health of communities, and innovative strategists for equity.

Selected contributors. Dahlak Brathwaite, adrienne maree brown, Jeff Chang, Tameca Cole, Ofelia Esparza, Antoine Hunter, Nobuko Miyamoto, Wendy Red Star, Spel, Jose Antonio Vargas, Carrie Mae Weems, Hinaleimoana Kwai Kong Wong-Kalu
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Hybrid Cultures
Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity
Nestor Garcia Canclini
University of Minnesota Press, 2005
When it was originally published, Hybrid Cultures was foundational to Latin American cultural studies. This now-classic work features a new introduction in which Nestor Garcia Canclini calls for a cultural politics to contain the damaging effects of globalization and responds to relevant theoretical developments over the past decade.Garcia Canclini questions whether Latin America can compete in a global marketplace without losing its cultural identity. He moves with ease from the ideas of Gramsci and Foucault to economic analysis, from appraisals of the exchanges between Octavio Paz and Jorge Luis Borges to Chicano film and grafitti. Hybrid Cultures at once clarifies the development of democratic institutions in Latin America and reveals that the most destructive ideological trends are still going strong.
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Hybrid Cultures
Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity
Nestor Garcia Canclini
University of Minnesota Press, 1995
Garcia Canclini questions whether Latin America can compete in a global marketplace without losing its cultural identity. He moves with ease from the ideas of Gramsci and Foucault to economic analysis, from appraisals of the exchanges between Octavio Paz and Jorge Luis Borges to Chicano film and grafitti. Hybrid Cultures at once clarifies the development of democratic institutions in Latin America and reveals that the most destructive ideological trends are still going strong.
[more]

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Imperial Blues
Geographies of Race and Sex in Jazz Age New York
Fiona I. B. Ngô
Duke University Press, 2013
In this pathbreaking study, Fiona I. B. Ngô examines how geographies of U.S. empire were perceived and enacted during the 1920s and 1930s. Focusing on New York during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, Ngô traces the city's multiple circuits of jazz music and culture. In considering this cosmopolitan milieu, where immigrants from the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Japan, and China crossed paths with blacks and white "slummers" in dancehalls and speakeasies, she investigates imperialism's profound impact on racial, gendered, and sexual formations. As nightclubs overflowed with the sights and sounds of distant continents, tropical islands, and exotic bodies, tropes of empire provided both artistic possibilities and policing rationales. These renderings naturalized empire and justified expansion, while establishing transnational modes of social control within and outside the imperial city. Ultimately, Ngô argues that domestic structures of race and sex during the 1920s and 1930s cannot be understood apart from the imperial ambitions of the United States.
 
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Improvisation and Social Aesthetics
Georgina Born, Eric Lewis, and Will Straw, editors
Duke University Press, 2017
Addressing a wide range of improvised art and music forms—from jazz and cinema to dance and literature—this volume's contributors locate improvisation as a key site of mediation between the social and the aesthetic. As a catalyst for social experiment and political practice, improvisation aids in the creation, contestation, and codification of social realities and identities. Among other topics, the contributors discuss the social aesthetics of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, the Feminist Improvising Group, and contemporary Malian music, as well as the virtual sociality of interactive computer music, the significance of "uncreative" improvisation, responses to French New Wave cinema, and the work of figures ranging from bell hooks and Billy Strayhorn to Kenneth Goldsmith. Across its diverse chapters, Improvisation and Social Aesthetics argues that ensemble improvisation is not inherently egalitarian or emancipatory, but offers a potential site for the cultivation of new forms of social relations. It sets out a new conceptualization of the aesthetic as immanently social and political, proposing a new paradigm of improvisation studies that will have reverberations throughout the humanities.

Contributors. Lisa Barg, Georgina Born, David Brackett, Nicholas Cook, Marion Froger, Susan Kozel, Eric Lewis, George E. Lewis, Ingrid Monson, Tracey Nicholls, Winfried Siemerling, Will Straw, Zoë Svendsen, Darren Wershler
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In Praise of Commercial Culture
Tyler Cowen
Harvard University Press, 2000

Does a market economy encourage or discourage music, literature, and the visual arts? Do economic forces of supply and demand help or harm the pursuit of creativity? This book seeks to redress the current intellectual and popular balance and to encourage a more favorable attitude toward the commercialization of culture that we associate with modernity. Economist Tyler Cowen argues that the capitalist market economy is a vital but underappreciated institutional framework for supporting a plurality of coexisting artistic visions, providing a steady stream of new and satisfying creations, supporting both high and low culture, helping consumers and artists refine their tastes, and paying homage to the past by capturing, reproducing, and disseminating it. Contemporary culture, Cowen argues, is flourishing in its various manifestations, including the visual arts, literature, music, architecture, and the cinema.

Successful high culture usually comes out of a healthy and prosperous popular culture. Shakespeare and Mozart were highly popular in their own time. Beethoven’s later, less accessible music was made possible in part by his early popularity. Today, consumer demand ensures that archival blues recordings, a wide array of past and current symphonies, and this week’s Top 40 hit sit side by side in the music megastore. High and low culture indeed complement each other.

Cowen’s philosophy of cultural optimism stands in opposition to the many varieties of cultural pessimism found among conservatives, neoconservatives, the Frankfurt School, and some versions of the political correctness and multiculturalist movements, as well as historical figures, including Rousseau and Plato. He shows that even when contemporary culture is thriving, it appears degenerate, as evidenced by the widespread acceptance of pessimism. He ends by considering the reasons why cultural pessimism has such a powerful hold on intellectuals and opinion-makers.

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InDEBTed to Intervene
Critical Lessons in Debt, Communication, Art, and Theoretical Practice
Oliver Vodeb and Nikola Janovic Kolenc
Intellect Books, 2013
As governments and individuals struggle with growing indebtedness, the topic of debt itself—what it is, what it means, and how we understand it—has never been more salient. This collection brings together a range of contributions from many disciplines and around the world to consider debt through various lenses, including design, art, technology, political economy, social justice, surveillance, protest, education, urban and virtual spaces, and more. Aiming not just to advance scholarship, but to push ahead real change in the world, the book offers not only analytical insights and conceptual apparatuses, but practical tools and radical inspirations as well. A powerful analysis of a concept that has become ever more central to everyday society, Indebted to Intervene will be essential reading for scholars and citizens alike.
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Indians Playing Indian
Multiculturalism and Contemporary Indigenous Art in North America
Monika Siebert
University of Alabama Press, 2015
Explores how American Indian artists have responded to the pervasive misunderstanding of indigenous peoples as cultural minorities in the United States and Canada

Contemporary indigenous peoples in North America confront a unique predicament. While they are reclaiming their historic status as sovereign nations, mainstream popular culture continues to depict them as cultural minorities similar to other ethnic Americans. These depictions of indigenous peoples as “Native Americans” complete the broader narrative of America as a refuge to the world’s immigrants and a home to contemporary multicultural democracies, such as the United States and Canada. But they fundamentally misrepresent indigenous peoples, whose American history has been not of immigration but of colonization.
 
Monika Siebert’s Indians Playing Indian first identifies this phenomenon as multicultural misrecognition, explains its sources in North American colonial history and in the political mandates of multiculturalism, and describes its consequences for contemporary indigenous cultural production. It then explores the responses of indigenous artists who take advantage of the ongoing popular interest in Native American culture and art while offering narratives of the political histories of their nations in order to resist multicultural incorporation.
 
Each chapter of Indians Playing Indian showcases a different medium of contemporary indigenous art—museum exhibition, cinema, digital fine art, sculpture, multimedia installation, and literary fiction—and explores specific rhetorical strategies artists deploy to forestall multicultural misrecognition and recover political meanings of indigeneity. The sites and artists discussed include the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC; filmmakers at Inuit Isuma Productions; digital artists/photographers Dugan Aguilar, Pamela Shields, and Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie; sculptor Jimmie Durham; and novelist LeAnne Howe.
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Liquidity, Flows, Circulation
The Cultural Logic of Environmentalization
Edited by Mathias Denecke, Holger Kuhn, and Milan Stürmer
Diaphanes, 2022
Interdisciplinary studies that combine the current of materialist thinking with discussions of ecologies and environmentalization.

Placed at the intersection of art, media, and cultural studies as well as economic theory, Liquidity, Flows, Circulation investigates the cultural logic of environmentalization. As flows, circulations, and liquidity resurface in all aspects of recent culture and contemporary art, this volume investigates the hypothesis of a genuine cultural logic of environmentalization through these three concepts.

It thus brings together two areas of research that have been largely separate. On the one hand, this volume takes up discussions about ecologies with and without nature and environmentalization as a contemporary form of power and capital. On the other hand, it takes its cue from Fredric Jameson’s notion that each stage of capitalism is accompanied by a genuine cultural logic. The volume introduces this current of materialist thinking into the ongoing discussions of ecologies and environmentalization. By analyzing contemporary art, architecture, theater, films, and literature, the fifteen contributions by scholars and artists explore different fields where liquid forms, semantics flow, or processes of circulation emerge as a contemporary cultural logic.
 
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Looking for Mexico
Modern Visual Culture and National Identity
John Mraz
Duke University Press, 2009
In Looking for Mexico, a leading historian of visual culture, John Mraz, provides a panoramic view of Mexico’s modern visual culture from the U.S. invasion of 1847 to the present. Along the way, he illuminates the powerful role of photographs, films, illustrated magazines, and image-filled history books in the construction of national identity, showing how Mexicans have both made themselves and been made with the webs of significance spun by modern media. Central to Mraz’s book is photography, which was distributed widely throughout Mexico in the form of cartes-de-visite, postcards, and illustrated magazines. Mraz analyzes the work of a broad range of photographers, including Guillermo Kahlo, Winfield Scott, Hugo Brehme, Agustín Víctor Casasola, Tina Modotti, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Héctor García, Pedro Meyer, and the New Photojournalists. He also examines representations of Mexico’s past in the country’s influential picture histories: popular, large-format, multivolume series replete with thousands of photographs and an assortment of texts.

Turning to film, Mraz compares portrayals of the Mexican Revolution by Fernando de Fuentes to the later movies of Emilio Fernández and Gabriel Figueroa. He considers major stars of Golden Age cinema as gender archetypes for mexicanidad, juxtaposing the charros (hacienda cowboys) embodied by Pedro Infante, Pedro Armendáriz, and Jorge Negrete with the effacing women: the mother, Indian, and shrew as played by Sara García, Dolores del Río, and María Félix. Mraz also analyzes the leading comedians of the Mexican screen, representations of the 1968 student revolt, and depictions of Frida Kahlo in films made by Paul Leduc and Julie Taymor. Filled with more than fifty illustrations, Looking for Mexico is an exuberant plunge into Mexico’s national identity, its visual culture, and the connections between the two.

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Looking High and Low
Art and Cultural Identity
Brenda Jo Bright
University of Arizona Press, 1995
Can low-riders rightfully be considered art? Why are Chicano murals considered art while graffiti is considered vandalism? What do Native American artisans think about the popular display of their ceremonial objects? How do the "middlebrow" notions of Getty workers influence "highbrow" values at the J. Paul Getty Trust? Looking High and Low attempts to answer these questions—and the broader question "What is art?"—by bringing together a collection of challenging essays on the meaning of art in cultural context and on the ways that our understandings of art have been influenced by social process and aesthetic values.

Arguing that art is constituted across cultural boundaries rather than merely inside them, the contributors explore the relations between art, cultural identity, and the social languages of evaluation—among artists, art critics, art institutions, and their audiences—in the Southwest and in Mexico. The authors use anthropological methods in art communities to uncover compelling evidence of how marginalized populations make meaning for themselves, how images of ethnicity function in commercial culture, how Native populations must negotiate sentimental marketing and institutional appropriation of their art work, and how elite populations use culture and ritual in ways that both reveal and obscure their power and status. The authors make dramatic revelations concerning the construction and contestation of ideas of art as they circulate between groups where notions of what art "should" be are often at odds with each other.

This volume challenges conventional modes of analyzing art. Its ethnographic explorations illuminate the importance of art as a cultural force while creating a greater awareness of the roles that scholars, museum curators, and critics play in the evaluation of art.

Contents
Introduction: Art Hierarchies, Cultural Boundaries, and Reflexive Analysis, Brenda Jo Bright
Bellas Artes and Artes Populares: The Implications of Difference in the Mexico City Art World, Liza Bakewell
Space, Power, and Youth Culture: Mexican American Graffiti and Chicano Murals in East Los Angeles, 1972-1978, Marcos Sanchez-Tranquilino
Remappings: Los Angeles Low Riders, Brenda Jo Bright
Marketing Maria: The Tribal Artist in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Barbara Babcock
Aesthetics and Politics: Zuni War God Repatriation and Kachina Representation, Barbara Tedlock
Middlebrow into Highbrow at the J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, George E. Marcus
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Marking Modern Movement
Dance and Gender in the Visual Imagery of the Weimar Republic
Susan Funkenstein
University of Michigan Press, 2020
Imagine yourself in Weimar Germany: you are visually inundated with depictions of dance.  Perusing a women’s magazine, you find photograph after photograph of leggy revue starlets, clad in sequins and feathers, coquettishly smiling at you.  When you attend an art exhibition, you encounter Otto Dix’s six-foot-tall triptych Metropolis, featuring Charleston dancers in the latest luxurious fashions, or Emil Nolde’s watercolors of Mary Wigman, with their luminous blues and purples evoking her choreographies’ mystery and expressivity.  Invited to the Bauhaus, you participate in the Metallic Festival, and witness the school’s transformation into a humorous, shiny, technological total work of art; you costume yourself by strapping a metal plate to your head, admire your reflection in the tin balls hanging from the ceiling, and dance the Bauhaus’ signature step in which you vigorously hop and stomp late into the night.
 
Yet behind the razzle dazzle of these depictions and experiences was one far more complex involving issues of gender and the body during a tumultuous period in history, Germany’s first democracy (1918-1933).  Rather than mere titillation, the images copiously illustrated and analyzed in Marking Modern Movement illuminate how visual artists and dancers befriended one another and collaborated together.  In many ways because of these bonds, artists and dancers forged a new path in which images revealed artists’ deep understanding of dance, their dynamic engagement with popular culture, and out of that, a possibility of representing women dancers as cultural authorities to be respected.  Through six case studies, Marking Modern Movement explores how and why these complex dynamics occurred in ways specific to their historical moment.
 
Extensively illustrated and with color plates, Marking Modern Movement is a clearly written book accessible to general readers and undergraduates. Coming at a time of a growing number of major art museums showcasing large-scale exhibitions on images of dance, the audience exists for a substantial general-public interest in this topic.  Conversing across German studies, art history, dance studies, gender studies, and popular culture studies, Marking Modern Movement is intended to engage readers coming from a wide range of perspectives and interests.
 
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A Mirror for History
How Novels and Art Reflect the Evolution of Middle-Class America
Marc Egnal
University of Tennessee Press, 2024
In A Mirror for History, author Marc Egnal uses novels and art to provide a new understanding of American society. The book argues that the arc of middle-class culture reflects the evolution of the American economy from the near-subsistence agriculture of the 1750s to the extraordinarily unequal society of the twenty-first century. Fiction offers a rich source for this analysis. By delving deep into the souls of characters and their complex worlds, novels shed light on the dreams, hopes, and goals of individuals and reveal the structures that shape character’s lives. Additionally, paintings of the time periods expand upon these insights drawn from literature.

Egnal’s lively exploration of the changing economy, fiction, art, and American values is organized into four expansive periods—the Sentimental Era, Genteel America, Modern Society, and Post-Modern America. Within that framework, A Mirror for History looks at topics such as masculinity, childhood, the status of women, the outlook of African Americans, the role of religion, and varying views of capitalism.

Readers will be enthralled to find discussions of overlooked novels and paintings as well as discover new approaches to familiar pieces. A Mirror for History examines over one hundred authors and dozens of artists and their works, presented here in full color.
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The Mobility of Modernism
Art and Criticism in 1920s Latin America
By Harper Montgomery
University of Texas Press, 2017

Arvey Foundation Book Award, Association for Latin American Art, 2018

Many Latin American artists and critics in the 1920s drew on the values of modernism to question the cultural authority of Europe. Modernism gave them a tool for coping with the mobility of their circumstances, as well as the inspiration for works that questioned the very concepts of the artist and the artwork and opened the realm of art to untrained and self-taught artists, artisans, and women. Writing about the modernist works in newspapers and magazines, critics provided a new vocabulary with which to interpret and assign value to the expanding sets of abstracted forms produced by these artists, whose lives were shaped by mobility.

The Mobility of Modernism examines modernist artworks and criticism that circulated among a network of cities, including Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Havana, and Lima. Harper Montgomery maps the dialogues and relationships among critics who published in avant-gardist magazines such as Amauta and Revista de Avance and artists such as Carlos Mérida, Xul Solar, and Emilio Pettoruti, among others, who championed esoteric forms of abstraction. She makes a convincing case that, for these artists and critics, modernism became an anticolonial stance which raised issues that are still vital today—the tensions between the local and the global, the ability of artists to speak for blighted or unincorporated people, and, above all, how advanced art and its champions can enact a politics of opposition.

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Money, Trains, and Guillotines
Art and Revolution in 1960s Japan
William Marotti
Duke University Press, 2013
During the 1960s a group of young artists in Japan challenged official forms of politics and daily life through interventionist art practices. William Marotti situates this phenomenon in the historical and political contexts of Japan after the Second World War and the international activism of the 1960s. The Japanese government renewed its Cold War partnership with the United States in 1960, defeating protests against a new security treaty through parliamentary action and the use of riot police. Afterward, the government promoted a depoliticized everyday world of high growth and consumption, creating a sanitized national image to present in the Tokyo Olympics of 1964. Artists were first to challenge this new political mythology. Marotti examines their political art, and the state's aggressive response to it. He reveals the challenge mounted in projects such as Akasegawa Genpei's 1,000-yen prints, a group performance on the busy Yamanote train line, and a plan for a giant guillotine in the Imperial Plaza. Focusing on the annual Yomiuri Indépendant exhibition, he demonstrates how artists came together in a playful but powerful critical art, triggering judicial and police response. Money, Trains, and Guillotines expands our understanding of the role of art in the international 1960s, and of the dynamics of art and policing in Japan.
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Para-Sites
A Casebook against Cynical Reason
Edited by George E. Marcus
University of Chicago Press, 2000
Para-Sites, the penultimate volume in the Late Editions series, explores how social actors located within centers of power and privilege develop and express a critical consciousness of their own situations. Departing from the usual focus of ethnography and cultural analysis on the socially marginalized, these pieces probe subjects who are undeniably complicit with powerful institutional engines of contemporary change. In each case, the possibility of alternative thinking or practices is in complex relation to the subject's source of empowerment.

These cases challenge the condition of cynicism that has been the favored mode of characterizing the mind-set of intellectuals and professionals, comfortable in their lives of middle-class consumption and work. In their effort to establish para-sites of critical awareness parallel to the levels of political and economic power at which they function, these subjects suggest that those who lead ordinary lives of modest power and privilege might not be parasites in relation to the systems they serve, but may be creating unique and independent critical perspectives.
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Performance, Transparency, and the Cultures of Surveillance
James M. Harding
University of Michigan Press, 2018
Placing the disciplines of performance studies and surveillance studies in a timely critical dialogue, Performance, Transparency, and the Cultures of Surveillance not only theorizes how surveillance performs but also how the technologies and corresponding cultures of surveillance alter the performance of everyday life. This exploration draws upon a rich array of examples from theatre, performance, and the arts, all of which provide vivid illustration of the book’s central argument: that the rise of the surveillance society coincides with a profound collapse of democratic oversight and transparency—a collapse that, in turn, demands a radical rethinking of how performance practitioners conceptualize art and its political efficacy. The book thus makes the case that artists and critics must reexamine—indeed, must radically redefine—their notions of performance if they are to mount any meaningful counter to the increasingly invasive surveillance society.
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Performing Environmentalisms
Expressive Culture and Ecological Change
Edited by John Holmes McDowell, Katherine Borland, Rebecca Dirksen, and Sue Tuohy
University of Illinois Press, 2021
Performing Environmentalisms examines the existential challenge of the twenty-first century: improving the prospects for maintaining life on our planet. The contributors focus on the strategic use of traditional artistic expression--storytelling and songs, crafted objects, and ceremonies and rituals--performed during the social turmoil provoked by environmental degradation and ecological collapse. Highlighting alternative visions of what it means to be human, the authors place performance at the center of people's responses to the crises. Such expression reinforces the agency of human beings as they work, independently and together, to address ecological dilemmas. The essays add these people's critical perspectives--gained through intimate struggle with life-altering force--to the global dialogue surrounding humanity's response to climate change, threats to biocultural diversity, and environmental catastrophe.

Interdisciplinary in approach and wide-ranging in scope, Performing Environmentalisms is an engaging look at the merger of cultural expression and environmental action on the front lines of today's global emergency.

Contributors: Aaron S. Allen, Eduardo S. Brondizio, Assefa Tefera Dibaba, Rebecca Dirksen, Mary Hufford, John Holmes McDowell, Mark Pedelty, Jennifer C. Post, Chie Sakakibara, Jeff Todd Titon, Rory Turner, Lois Wilcken

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Performing Human Rights
Contested Amnesia and Aesthetic Practices in the Global South
Edited by Liliana Gómez
Diaphanes, 2021
The invisibilization of political violence, its material traces, and spatial manifestations, characterizes conflict and post-conflict situations. Yet, artists, writers, and human rights activists increasingly seek to challenge this invisibility, contesting the related historical amnesia through counter-semantics and dissonant narratives. Adopting “performance” as a concept that is defined by repetitive, aesthetic practices—such as speech and bodily habits through which both individual and collective identities are constructed and perceived—this collection addresses various forms of performing human rights in transitional situations in Spain, Latin America, and the Middle East. Bringing scholars together with artists, writers, and curators, and working across a range of disciplines, Performing Human Rights addresses these instances of omission and neglect, revealing how alternate institutional spaces and strategies of cultural production have intervened in the processes of historical justice and collective memory.
 
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The Play in the System
The Art of Parasitical Resistance
Anna Watkins Fisher
Duke University Press, 2020
What does artistic resistance look like in the twenty-first century, when disruption and dissent have been co-opted and commodified in ways that reinforce dominant systems? In The Play in the System Anna Watkins Fisher locates the possibility for resistance in artists who embrace parasitism—tactics of complicity that effect subversion from within hegemonic structures. Fisher tracks the ways in which artists on the margins—from hacker collectives like Ubermorgen to feminist writers and performers like Chris Kraus—have willfully abandoned the radical scripts of opposition and refusal long identified with anticapitalism and feminism. Space for resistance is found instead in the mutually, if unevenly, exploitative relations between dominant hosts giving only as much as required to appear generous and parasitical actors taking only as much as they can get away with. The irreverent and often troubling works that result raise necessary and difficult questions about the conditions for resistance and critique under neoliberalism today.
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Pop Modernism
Noise and the Reinvention of the Everyday
Juan A. Suarez
University of Illinois Press, 2007
Pop Modernism examines the popular roots of modernism in the United States. Drawing on a wide range of materials, including experimental movies, pop songs, photographs, and well-known poems and paintings, Juan A. Suárez reveals that experimental art in the early twentieth century was centrally concerned with the reinvention of everyday life. Suárez demonstrates how modernist writers and artists reworked pop images and sounds, old-fashioned and factory-made objects, city spaces, and the languages and styles of queer and ethnic “others.” Along the way, he reinterprets many of modernism’s major figures and argues for the centrality of relatively marginal ones, such as Vachel Lindsay, Charles Henri Ford, Helen Levitt, and James Agee. As Suárez shows, what’s at stake is not just an antiquarian impulse to rescue forgotten past moments and works, but a desire to establish an archaeology of our present art, culture, and activism.
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Popular Bohemia
Modernism and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris
Mary Gluck
Harvard University Press, 2005

A radical reconceptualization of modernism, this book traces the appearance of the modern artist to the Paris of the 1830s and links the emergence of an enduring modernist aesthetic to the fleeting forms of popular culture. Contrary to conventional views of a private self retreating from history and modernity, Popular Bohemia shows us the modernist as a public persona parodying the stereotypes of commercial mass culture. Here we see how the modern artist—alternately assuming the roles of the melodramatic hero, the urban flâneur, the female hysteric, the tribal primitive—created his own version of an expressive, public modernity in opposition to an increasingly repressive and conformist bourgeois culture. And here we see how a specifically modern aesthetic culture in nineteenth-century Paris came about, not in opposition to commercial popular culture, but in close alliance with it.

Popular Bohemia revises dominant historical narratives about modernism from the perspective of a theoretically informed cultural history that spans the period between 1830 and 1914. In doing so, it reconnects the intellectual history of avant-garde art with the cultural history of bohemia and the social history of the urban experience to reveal the circumstances in which a truly modernist culture emerged.

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Presence and Resistance
Postmodernism and Cultural Politics in Contemporary American Performance
Philip Auslander
University of Michigan Press, 1994
Examines performance art in the 1980s and new modes of political art in a media-saturated culture
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Probing Arts and Emergent Forms of Life
Michael M. J. Fischer
Duke University Press, 2023
In Probing Arts and Emergent Forms of Life Michael M. J. Fischer calls for a new anthropology of the arts that attends to the materialities and technologies of the world as it exists today. Fischer examines the work of key Southeast and East Asian artists within the crucibles of unequal access, geopolitics, reverberating past traumas, and emergent socialities. He outlines the work of artist-theorists---including Entang Wiharso, Sally Smart, Charles Lim, Zai Kuning, and Kiran Kumar---who speculate about changing the world in ways that are attuned to its cultivation, repair, and rethinking in the Anthropocene. Their artistic vocabulary not only undoes Western art models and categories; it probes the unfolding future, addresses past trauma, and creates contested, vibrant, and flourishing spaces. Throughout Indonesia, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam---and from Kumar’s experimental dance to Kuning’s rattan and beeswax ghost ships to Lim’s videography of Singapore from the sea---Fischer argues that these artists’ theoretical discourses should be privileged over those of the curators, historians, critics, and other gatekeepers who protect and claim art worlds for themselves.
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The Public Life of the Arts in America
The Public Life of the Arts in America, Revised Edition
Cherbo, Joni Maya
Rutgers University Press, 2000

Art and entertainment constitute America’s second-largest export. Most Americans—96%, to be exact—are somehow involved in the arts, whether as audience participants, hobbyists, or via broadcast, recording, video, or the Internet. The contribution of the arts to the U.S. economy is stunning: the nonprofit arts industry alone contributes over 857 billion dollars per year, and America’s fine and performing arts enjoy world-class status.

 Despite its size, quality, and economic impact, the arts community is not articulate about how they serve public interests, and few citizens have an appreciation of the myriad of public policies that influence American arts and culture. The contributors to this volume argue that U.S. policy can—and should—support the arts and that the arts, in turn serve a broad rather than an elite public. Indeed, increased support for the arts and culture equals good economic and trade policy; it also contributes to the quality of life and community, and helps sustain the creativity of American artists and organizations.

By encouraging policy-makers to systematically start investigating the crucial role and importance of all of the arts in the United States, The Arts and Public Purpose moves the field forward with fresh ideas, new concepts, and important new data.

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Race and Performance after Repetition
Soyica Diggs Colbert, Douglas A. Jones Jr., and Shane Vogel, editors
Duke University Press, 2020
The contributors to Race and Performance after Repetition explore how theater and performance studies account for the complex relationship between race and time. Pointing out that repetition has been the primary point of reference for understanding both the complex temporality of theater and the historical persistence of race, they identify and pursue critical alternatives to the conceptualization, organization, measurement, and politics of race in performance. The contributors examine theater, performance art, music, sports, dance, photography, and other forms of performance in topics that range from the movement of boxer Joe Louis to George C. Wolfe's 2016 reimagining of the 1921 all-black musical comedy Shuffle Along to the relationship between dance, mourning, and black adolescence in Flying Lotus's music video “Never Catch Me.” Proposing a spectrum of coexisting racial temporalities that are not tethered to repetition, this collection reconsiders central theories in performance studies in order to find new understandings of race.

Contributors. Joshua Chambers-Letson, Soyica Diggs Colbert, Nicholas Fesette, Patricia Herrera, Jasmine Elizabeth Johnson, Douglas A. Jones Jr., Mario LaMothe, Daphne P. Lei, Jisha Menon, Tavia Nyong’o, Tina Post, Elizabeth W. Son,  Shane Vogel, Catherine M. Young, Katherine Zien
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REMEX
Toward an Art History of the NAFTA Era
By Amy Sara Carroll
University of Texas Press, 2017

REMEX presents the first comprehensive examination of artistic responses and contributions to an era defined by the North American Free Trade Agreement (1994–2008). Marshaling over a decade’s worth of archival research, interviews, and participant observation in Mexico City and the Mexico–US borderlands, Amy Sara Carroll considers individual and collective art practices, recasting NAFTA as the most fantastical inter-American allegory of the turn of the millennium. Carroll organizes her interpretations of performance, installation, documentary film, built environment, and body, conceptual, and Internet art around three key coordinates—City, Woman, and Border. She links the rise of 1990s Mexico City art in the global market to the period’s consolidation of Mexico–US border art as a genre. She then interrupts this transnational art history with a sustained analysis of chilanga and Chicana artists’ remapping of the figure of Mexico as Woman.

A tour de force that depicts a feedback loop of art and public policy—what Carroll terms the “allegorical performative”—REMEX adds context to the long-term effects of the post-1968 intersection of D.F. performance and conceptualism, centralizes women artists’ embodied critiques of national and global master narratives, and tracks post-1984 border art’s “undocumentation” of racialized and sexualized reconfigurations of North American labor pools. The book’s featured artwork becomes the lens through which Carroll rereads a range of events and phenomenon from California’s Proposition 187 to Zapatismo, US immigration policy, 9/11 (1973/2001), femicide in Ciudad Juárez, and Mexico’s war on drugs.

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Renaissance Bodies
The Human Figure in English Culture c. 1540-1660
Lucy Gent and Nigel Llewellyn
Reaktion Books, 1990
Renaissance Bodies is a unique collection of views on the ways in which the human image has been represented in the arts and literature of English Renaissance society. The subjects discussed range from high art to popular culture – from portraits of Elizabeth I to polemical prints mocking religious fanaticism – and include miniatures, manners, anatomy, drama and architectural patronage. The authors, art historians and literary critics, reflect diverse critical viewpoints, and the 78 illustrations present a fascinating exhibition of the often strange and haunting images of the period.

With essays by John Peacock, Elizabeth Honig, Andrew and Catherine Belsey, Jonathan Sawday, Susan Wiseman, Ellen Chirelstein, Tamsyn Williams, Anna Bryson, Maurice Howard and Nigel Llewellyn.

"The whole book ... presents a mirror of contemporary concerns with power, the merits and demerits of individualism, sex-roles, 'selves', the meaning of community and (even) conspicuous consumption."—The Observer
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Return Engagements
Contemporary Art's Traumas of Modernity and History in Sài Gòn and Phnom Penh
Viet Lê
Duke University Press, 2021
In Return Engagements artist and critic Việt Lê examines contemporary art in Cambodia and Việt Nam to rethink the entwinement of militarization, trauma, diaspora, and modernity in Southeast Asian art. Highlighting artists tied to Phnom Penh and Sài Gòn and drawing on a range of visual art as well as documentary and experimental films, Lê points out that artists of Southeast Asian descent are often expected to address the twin traumas of armed conflict and modernization, and shows how desirable art on these themes is on international art markets. As the global art market fetishizes trauma and violence, artists strategically align their work with those tropes in ways that Lê suggests allow them to reinvent such aesthetics and discursive spaces. By returning to and refashioning these themes, artists such as Tiffany Chung, Rithy Panh, and Sopheap Pich challenge categorizations of “diasporic” and “local” by situating themselves as insiders and outsiders relative to Cambodia and Việt Nam. By doing so, they disrupt dominant understandings of place, time, and belonging in contemporary art.
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The Romance of Commerce and Culture
Capitalism, Modernism, and the Chicago-Aspen Crusade for Cultural Reform, Revised Edition
James Sloan Allen
University Press of Colorado, 2002
The Romance of Commerce and Culture is a lively and provocative history of how art and intellect formed an alliance with consumer capitalism in the mid-twentieth century and put Aspen, Colorado, on the map.
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Seeing Race Before Race
Visual Culture and the Racial Matrix in the Premodern World
Edited by Noémie Ndiaye and Lia Markey
Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2023
Explores the deployment of racial thinking and racial formations in the visual culture of the pre-modern world.
 
The capacious visual archive studied in this volume includes a trove of materials such as annotated or illuminated manuscripts, Renaissance costume books and travel books, maps and cartographic volumes produced by Europeans as well as Indigenous peoples, mass-printed pamphlets, jewelry, decorative arts, religious iconography, paintings from around the world, ceremonial objects, festival books, and play texts intended for live performance.

Contributors explore the deployment of what coeditor Noémie Ndiaye calls “the racial matrix” and its interconnected paradigms across the medieval and early modern chronological divide and across vast transnational and multilingual geographies. This volume uses items from the Fall 2023 exhibition “Seeing Race Before Race”—a collaboration between RaceB4Race and the Newberry Library—as a starting point for an ambitious theoretical conversation between premodern race studies, art history, performance studies, book history, and critical race theory.
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Selected Writings on Visual Arts and Culture
Detour to the Imaginary
Stuart Hall. Edited by Gilane Tawadros
Duke University Press, 2024
Stuart Hall’s work on culture, politics, race, and media is familiar to readers throughout the world. Equally important was his decades-long commitment to visual art. As the first collection to bring together Hall’s work on the visual, this volume assembles two dozen of Hall’s essays, lectures, reviews, catalog texts, and conversations on art, film, and photography. Providing rare insights into Hall’s engagement with the “radically different” intellectual and aesthetic space of the visual imaginary, these works articulate the importance of the visual as a site of contestation at the same time as it is a space in which Black artists and filmmakers reframe questions about diaspora, identity, and globalization. Selected Writings on Visual Arts and Culture demonstrates the breadth and range of Hall’s thinking on art, film, photography, archives, and museums. In so doing, it enables us to arrive at radical and innovative ways of understanding the world.
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Singular Examples
Artistic Politics and the Neo-Avant-Garde
Tyrus Miller
Northwestern University Press, 2008

This book focuses on the integral, interdisciplinary, and intermedial "compositions"—verbal, visual, musical, theatrical, and cinematic—of the avant-gardes in the period following World War II. It also considers the artistic politics of these postwar avant-gardes and their works. The book’s geographical span is primarily the United States, although in its more extended reach, it comprehends an international context of American postwar cultural hegemony throughout what was once referred to as "the free world."

The works and the artists Miller takes up are those of the so-called "neo–avant-garde" with its inherent contradiction: an avant-garde whose newness is defined by its seeming reiteration of an earlier historical formation. Concentrating on the rhetorical, contextual, and performative characteristic of neo–avant-garde practice, including its relation to politics, Miller emphasizes the centrality of the example in this practice. John Cage, Jackson Mac Low, Gilbert Sorrentino, David Tudor, Stan Brakhage, and Samuel Beckett are among the artists whose exemplary works feature in Singular Examples. Miller’s key readings of these major artists of the period open up some of the most difficult texts of the neo–avant-garde even as they contribute to an eloquent argument for "artistic politics." Underlining the relation between material particulars and their thematic implications, between particular works and larger theoretical claims, between avant-garde aesthetics and formalist analysis, Singular Examples is exemplary in its own right, revealing the ultimate shape and direction of a postwar avant-garde contending with the historical predicaments of radical modernism.

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Sons And Daughters Of Los
Culture And Community In L.A.
David James
Temple University Press, 2003
Los Angeles. A city that is synonymous with celebrity and mass-market culture, is also, according to David James, synonymous with social alienation and dispersal. In the communities of Los Angeles, artists, cultural institutions and activities exist in ways that are often concealed from sight, obscured by the powerful presence of Hollywood and its machinations. In this significant collection of original essays, The Sons and Daughters of Los reconstructs the city of Los Angeles with new cultural connections. Explored here are the communities that offer alternatives to the picture of L..A. as a conglomeration of studios and mass media. Each essay examines a particular piece of, or place in, Los Angeles cultural life: from the Beyond Baroque Poetry Foundation, the Woman's Building, to Highways, and LACE, as well as the achievements of these grassroots initiatives. Also included is critical commentary on important artists, including Harry Gamboa, Jr., and others whose work have done much to shape popular culture in L.A. The cumulative effect of reading this book is to see a very different city take shape, one whose cultural landscape is far more innovative and reflective of the diversity of the city's people than mainstream notions of it suggest. The Sons and Daughters of Los offers a substantive and complicated picture of the way culture plays itself it out on the smallest scale—in one of the largest metropolises on earth—contributing to a richer, more textured understanding of the vibrancy of urban life and art.
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Spectacle and the City
Chinese Urbanities in Art and Popular Culture
Edited by Jeroen de Kloet and Lena Scheen
Amsterdam University Press, 2013
As China becomes increasingly modern and urban, artists have responded by imagining the Chinese city at the intersections of the social, material, and political realities of modern life. This volume explores how the city-as-spectacle has been visualized and contested in art and popular culture.  Featuring essays by an interdisciplinary team of scholars, Spectacle and the City is as broad as the terrain it covers: with essays by an interdisciplinary team of experts on Chinese cities, as well as leading cultural critics, it goes beyond mainland China to include cities with cultural significance, such as Singapore and Hong Kong.  
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Specular City
The Transformation Of Culture, Consumption
Laura Podalsky
Temple University Press, 2004
A sweeping account of one of the cultural centers of Latin America, Specular City tells the history of Buenos Aires during the interregnum after Juan Perón's fall from power and before his restoration. During those two decades, the city experienced a rapid metamorphosis at the behest of its middle class citizens, who were eager to cast off the working-class imprint left by the Perónists. Laura Podalsky discusses the ways in which the proliferation of skyscrapers, the emergence of car culture, and the diffusion of an emerging revolution in the arts helped transform Buenos Aires, and, in so doing, redefine Argentine collective history.More than a cultural and material history of this city, this book also presents Buenos Aires as a crucible for urban life. Examining its structures through films, literatures, new magazines, advertising and architecture, Specular City reveals the prominent place of Buenos Aires in the massive changes that Latin America underwent for a new, modern definition of itself.
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Speculation, Now
Essays and Artwork
Vyjayanthi Venuturupalli Rao, with Prem Krishnamurty and Carin Kuoni, eds.
Duke University Press, 2014
Interdisciplinary in design and concept, Speculation, Now illuminates unexpected convergences between images, concepts, and language. Artwork is interspersed among essays that approach speculation and progressive change from surprising perspectives. A radical cartographer asks whether "the speculative" can be represented on a map. An ethnographer investigates religious possession in Islam to contemplate states between the divine and the seemingly human. A financial technologist queries understandings of speculation in financial markets. A multimedia artist and activist considers the relation between social change and assumptions about the conditions to be changed, and an architect posits purposeful neglect as political strategy. The book includes an extensive glossary with more than twenty short entries in which scholars contemplate such speculation-related notions as insurance, hallucination, prophecy, the paradox of beginnings, and states of half-knowledge. The book's artful, nonlinear design mirrors and reinforces the notion of contingency that animates it. By embracing speculation substantively, stylistically, seriously, and playfully, Speculation, Now reveals its subversive and critical potential.

Artists and essayists include William Darity Jr., Filip De Boeck, Boris Groys, Hans Haacke, Darrick Hamilton, Laura Kurgan, Lin + Lam, Gary Lincoff, Lize Mogel, Christina Moon, Stefania Pandolfo, Satya Pemmaraju, Mary Poovey, Walid Raad, Sherene Schostak, Robert Sember, and Srdjan Jovanović Weiss.

Published by Duke University Press and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School
 
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Telling About Society
Howard S. Becker
University of Chicago Press, 2007
I Remember, one of French writer Georges Perec’s most famous pieces, consists of 480 numbered paragraphs—each just a few short lines recalling a memory from his childhood. The work has neither a beginning nor an end. Nor does it contain any analysis. But it nonetheless reveals profound truths about French society during the 1940s and 50s.

Taking Perec’s book as its cue, Telling About Society explores the unconventional ways we communicate what we know about society to others. The third in distinguished teacher Howard Becker’s best-selling series of writing guides for social scientists, the book explores the many ways knowledge about society can be shared and interpreted through different forms of telling—fiction, films, photographs, maps, even mathematical models—many of which remain outside the boundaries of conventional social science. Eight case studies, including the photographs of Walker Evans, the plays of George Bernard Shaw, the novels of Jane Austen and Italo Calvino, and the sociology of Erving Goffman, provide convincing support for Becker’s argument: that every way of telling about society is perfect—for some purpose. The trick is, as Becker notes, to discover what purpose is served by doing it this way rather than that.

With Becker’s trademark humor and eminently practical advice, Telling About Society is an ideal guide for social scientists in all fields, for artists interested in saying something about society, and for anyone interested in communicating knowledge in unconventional ways.
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Terracene
A Crude Aesthetics
Salar Mameni
Duke University Press, 2023
In Terracene Salar Mameni historicizes the popularization of the scientific notion of the Anthropocene alongside the emergence of the global war on terror. Mameni theorizes the Terracene as an epoch marked by a convergence of racialized militarism and environmental destruction. Both the Anthropocene and the war on terror centered the antagonist figures of the Anthropos and the terrorist as responsible for epochal changes in the new geological and geopolitical world orders. In response, Mameni shows how the Terracene requires radically new engagements with terra (the earth), whose intelligence resides in matters such as oil and phenomena like earthquakes and fires. Drawing on the work of artists whose practices interrogate histories of settler-colonial and imperial interests in land and resources in Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Kuwait, Syria, Palestine, and other regions most affected by the war on terror, Mameni offers speculative paths into the aesthetics of the Terracene.
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Territories and Trajectories
Cultures in Circulation
Diana Sorensen, editor
Duke University Press, 2018
The contributors to Territories and Trajectories propose a model of cultural production and transmission based on the global diffusion, circulation, and exchange of people, things, and ideas across time and space. This model eschews a static, geographically bounded notion of cultural origins and authenticity, privileging instead a mobility of culture that shapes and is shaped by geographic spaces. Reading a diverse array of texts and objects, from Ethiopian song and ancient Chinese travel writing to Japanese literature and aerial and nautical images of the Indian Ocean, the contributors decenter national borders to examine global flows of culture and the relationship between thinking at transnational and local scales. Throughout, they make a case for methods of inquiry that encourage innovative understandings of borders, oceans, and territories and that transgress disciplinary divides.

Contributors. Homi Bhabha, Jacqueline Bhabha, Lindsay Bremner, Finbarr Barry Flood, Rosario Hubert, Alina Payne, Kay Kaufman Shelemay, Shu-mei Shih, Diana Sorensen, Karen Thornber, Xiaofei Tian
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Tijuana Dreaming
Life and Art at the Global Border
Josh Kun and Fiamma Montezemolo, eds.
Duke University Press, 2012
Tijuana Dreaming is an unprecedented introduction to the arts, culture, politics, and economics of contemporary Tijuana, Mexico. With many pieces translated from Spanish for the first time, the anthology features contributions by prominent scholars, journalists, bloggers, novelists, poets, curators, and photographers from Tijuana and greater Mexico. They explore urban planning in light of Tijuana's unique infrastructural, demographic, and environmental challenges. They delve into its musical countercultures, architectural ruins, cinema, and emergence as a hot spot on the international art scene. One contributor examines fictional representations of Tijuana's past as a Prohibition-era "city of sin" for U.S. pleasure seekers. Another reflects on the city's recent struggles with kidnappings and drug violence. In an interview, Néstor García Canclini revisits ideas that he advanced in Culturas híbridas (1990), his watershed book about Latin America and cultural hybridity. Taken together, the selections present a kaleidoscopic portrait of a major border city in the age of globalization.

Contributors. Tito Alegría, Humberto Félix Berumen, Roberto Castillo Udiarte, Iain Chambers, Luis Humberto Crosthwaite, Teddy Cruz, Ejival, Tarek Elhaik, Guillermo Fadanelli, Néstor García Canclini, Ingrid Hernández, Jennifer Insley-Pruitt, Kathryn Kopinak, Josh Kun, Jesse Lerner, Fiamma Montezemolo, Rene Peralta, Rafa Saavedra, Lucía Sanromán, Santiago Vaquera-Vásquez, Heriberto Yépez

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Touched Bodies
The Performative Turn in Latin American Art
Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra
Rutgers University Press, 2019
Shortlisted for the 2020 Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present Book Prize​
Winner of the 2019 Art Journal Prize from the College Art Association

What is the role of pleasure and pain in the politics of art? In Touched Bodies, Mara Polgovsky Ezcurra approaches this question as she examines the flourishing of live and intermedial performance in Latin America during times of authoritarianism and its significance during transitions to democracy. Based on original documents and innovative readings, her book brings politics and ethics to the discussion of artistic developments during the “long 1980s”. She describes the rise of performance art in the context of feminism, HIV-activism, and human right movements, taking a close look at the work of Diamela Eltit and Raúl Zurita from Chile, León Ferrari and Liliana Maresca from Argentina, and Marcos Kurtycz, the No Grupo art collective, and Proceso Pentágono from Mexico. The comparative study of the work of these artists attests to a performative turn in Latin American art during the 1980s that, like photography and film before, recast the artistic field as a whole, changing the ways in which we perceive art and understand its role in society.
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Understanding the Arts and Creative Sector in the United States
Cherbo, Joni Maya
Rutgers University Press, 2008
The arts and creative sector is one of the nation's broadest, most important, and least understood social and economic assets, encompassing both nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, for-profit creative companies, such as advertising agencies, film producers, and commercial publishers, and community-based artistic activities. The thirteen essays in this timely book demonstrate why interest in the arts and creative sector has accelerated in recent years, and the myriad ways that the arts are crucial to the social and national agenda and the critical issues and policies that relate to their practice. Leading experts in the field show, for example, how arts and cultural policies are used to enhance urban revitalization, to encourage civic engagement, to foster new forms of historic preservation, to define national identity, to advance economic development, and to regulate international trade in cultural goods and services.

Illuminating key issues and reflecting the rapid growth of the field of arts and cultural policy, this book will be of interest to students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, to arts educators and management professionals, government agency and foundation officials, and researchers and academics in the cultural policy field.
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Visualities
Perspectives on Contemporary American Indian Film and Art
Denise K. Cummings
Michigan State University Press, 2011
In recent years, works by American Indian artists and filmmakers such as Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, Edgar Heap of Birds, Sherman Alexie, Shelley Niro, and Chris Eyre have illustrated the importance of visual culture as a means to mediate identity in contemporary Native America. This insightful collection of essays explores how identity is created and communicated through Native film-, video-, and art-making; what role these practices play in contemporary cultural revitalization; and how indigenous creators revisit media pasts and resignify dominant discourses through their work. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, Visualities: Perspectives on Contemporary American Indian Film and Art draws on American Indian Studies, American Studies, Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Women’s Studies, and Postcolonial Studies. Among the artists examined are Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie, Eric Gansworth, Melanie Printup Hope, Jolene Rickard, and George Longfish. Films analyzed include Imprint, It Starts with a Whisper, Mohawk Girls, Skins, The Business of Fancydancing, and a selection of Native Latin films.
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Washed with Sun
Landscape and the Making of White South Africa
Jeremy Foster
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008
South Africa is recognized as a site of both political turmoil and natural beauty, and yet little work has been done in connecting these defining national characteristics. Washed with Sun  achieves this conjunction in its multidisciplinary study of South Africa as a space at once natural and constructed.  Weaving together practical, aesthetic, and ideological analyses, Jeremy Foster examines the role of landscape in forming the cultural iconographies and spatialities that shaped the imaginary geography of emerging nationhood.  Looking in particular at the years following the British victory in the second Boer War, from 1902 to 1930, Foster discusses the influence of painting, writing, architecture, and photography on the construction of a shared, romanticized landscape subjectivity that was perceived as inseparable from  “being South African,” and thus helped forge the imagined community of white South Africa.  

 In its innovative approach to South Africa's history, Washed with Sun breaks important new ground, combining the persuasive theory of cultural geography with the material specificity of landscape history.
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What We Made
Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation
Tom Finkelpearl
Duke University Press, 2013
In What We Made, Tom Finkelpearl examines the activist, participatory, coauthored aesthetic experiences being created in contemporary art. He suggests social cooperation as a meaningful way to think about this work and provides a framework for understanding its emergence and acceptance. In a series of fifteen conversations, artists comment on their experiences working cooperatively, joined at times by colleagues from related fields, including social policy, architecture, art history, urban planning, and new media. Issues discussed include the experiences of working in public and of working with museums and libraries, opportunities for social change, the lines between education and art, spirituality, collaborative opportunities made available by new media, and the elusive criteria for evaluating cooperative art. Finkelpearl engages the art historians Grant Kester and Claire Bishop in conversation on the challenges of writing critically about this work and the aesthetic status of the dialogical encounter. He also interviews the often overlooked co-creators of cooperative art, "expert participants" who have worked with artists. In his conclusion, Finkelpearl argues that pragmatism offers a useful critical platform for understanding the experiential nature of social cooperation, and he brings pragmatism to bear in a discussion of Houston's Project Row Houses.

Interviewees. Naomi Beckwith, Claire Bishop, Tania Bruguera, Brett Cook, Teddy Cruz, Jay Dykeman, Wendy Ewald, Sondra Farganis, Harrell Fletcher, David Henry, Gregg Horowitz, Grant Kester, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Pedro Lasch, Rick Lowe, Daniel Martinez, Lee Mingwei, Jonah Peretti, Ernesto Pujol, Evan Roth, Ethan Seltzer, and Mark Stern

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The Work of Art in the World
Civic Agency and Public Humanities
Doris Sommer
Duke University Press, 2014
Celebrating art and interpretation that take on social challenges, Doris Sommer steers the humanities back to engagement with the world. The reformist projects that focus her attention develop momentum and meaning as they circulate through society to inspire faith in the possible. Among the cases that she covers are top-down initiatives of political leaders, such as those launched by Antanas Mockus, former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, and also bottom-up movements like the Theatre of the Oppressed created by the Brazilian director, writer, and educator Augusto Boal. Alleging that we are all cultural agents, Sommer also takes herself to task and creates Pre-Texts, an international arts-literacy project that translates high literary theory through popular creative practices. The Work of Art in the World is informed by many writers and theorists. Foremost among them is the eighteenth-century German poet and philosopher Friedrich Schiller, who remains an eloquent defender of art-making and humanistic interpretation in the construction of political freedom. Schiller's thinking runs throughout Sommer's modern-day call for citizens to collaborate in the endless co-creation of a more just and more beautiful world.
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