Vision and Textuality
Stephen Melville and Bill Readings, eds. Duke University Press, 1995 Library of Congress N380.V58 1995 | Dewey Decimal 707.2
The influence of contemporary literary theory on art history is increasingly evident, but there is little or no agreement about the nature and consequence of this new intersection of the visual and the textual. Vision and Textuality brings together essays by many of the most influential scholars in the field—both young and more established writers from the United States, England, and France—to address the emergent terms and practices of contemporary art history. With essays by Rosalind Krauss, Hal Foster, Norman Bryson, Victor Burgin, Martin Jay, Louis Marin, Thomas Crow, Griselda Pollock, and others, the volume is organized into sections devoted to the discipline of art history, the implications of semiotics, the new cultural history of art, and the impact of psychoanalysis. The works discussed in these essays range from Rembrandt’s Danae to Jorge Immendorf’s Café Deutschland, from Vauxhall Gardens to Max Ernst, and from the Imagines of Philostratus to William Godwin’s novel Caleb Williams. Each section is preceded by a short introduction that offers further contexts for considering the essays that follow, while the editors’ general introduction presents an overall exploration of the relation between vision and textuality in a variety of both institutional and theoretical contexts. Among other issues, it examines the relevance of aesthetics, the current concern with modernism and postmodernism, and the possible development of new disciplinary formations in the humanities.
Contributors. Mieke Bal, John Bender, Norman Bryson, Victor Burgin, Thomas Crow, Peter de Bolla, Hal Foster, Michael Holly, Martin Jay, Rosalind Krauss, Françoise Lucbert, Louis Martin, Stephen Melville, Griselda Pollock, Bill Readings, Irit Rogoff, Bennet Schaber, John Tagg
Faced with an increasingly media-saturated, globalized culture, art historians have begun to ask themselves challenging and provocative questions about the nature of their discipline. Why did the history of art come into being? Is it now in danger of slipping into obsolescence? And, if so, should we care?
In Writing Art History, Margaret Iversen and Stephen Melville address these questions by exploring some assumptions at the discipline’s foundation. Their project is to excavate the lost continuities between philosophical aesthetics, contemporary theory, and art history through close readings of figures as various as Michael Baxandall, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Lacan, and Alois Riegl. Ultimately, the authors propose that we might reframe the questions concerning art history by asking what kind of writing might help the discipline to better imagine its actual practices—and its potential futures.