Beads, bones, rags, straw, leather, pottery, fur, feathers and blood—these are the raw materials of vodun artworks. The power of these images lies not only in their aesthetic, and counter-aesthetic, appeal but also in their psychological and emotional effect. As objects of fury and force, these works are intended to protect and empower people and cultures that have long been oppressed.
In this first major study of its kind, Suzanne Preston Blier examines the artworks of the contemporary vodun cultures of southern Benin and Togo in West Africa as well as the related voudou traditions of Haiti, New Orleans, and historic Salem, Massachusetts. Blier employs a variety of theoretically sophisticated psychological, anthropological, and art historical approaches to explore the contrasts inherent in the vodun arts—commoners versus royalty, popular versus elite, "low" art versus "high." She examines the relation between art and the slave trade, the psychological dynamics of artistic expression, the significance of the body in sculptural expression, and indigenous perceptions of the psyche.
Throughout, Blier pushes African art history to a new height of cultural awareness that recognizes the complexity of traditional African societies as it acknowledges the role of social power in shaping aesthetics and meaning generally. This book will be of critical importance not only to those concerned with African, African American, and Caribbean art, but also to anthropologists, African diaspora scholars, students of comparative religion and comparative psychology, and anyone fascinated by the traditions of voudou and vodun.
"An extraordinary tour de force."—Choice
"Extraordinarily detailed....Blier's examination of the entire, often mysterious history of vodun is...in a word, definitive."—Booklist
"A serious study that concentrates on the hidden power of objects and the meaning behind that potency is long overdue. Welcome Susan Blier's African Vodun....Certainly a must for...those concerned with the psychology of art."—Janet L. Stanley, Art Documentation
"[Blier] is usually sensitive to the need to resist imposing Western artistic values and academic methodologies inappropriately upon such art. But she offers the reader a gift even more precious; she offers rare insights into how various art forms—sculpture and home architecture in particular—yield meanings for the African users of such art.—Norman Weinstein, Boston Book Review
Antony Gormley on Sculpture
Antony Gormley University of Chicago Press, 2015 Library of Congress NB497.G65A35 2015 | Dewey Decimal 730.92
One of the most exciting sculptors of our time, Antony Gormley is the creator of breathtaking public installations. Even casual fans will recognize Event Horizon, a collection of thirty-one life-size casts of the artist’s body that have been installed atop buildings in places like London’s South Bank and New York’s Madison Square, and Field, formed by tens of thousands of standing clay figurines overflowing across a room’s floor. Projects like these demonstrate Gormley’s ongoing interest in exploring the human form and its relationships with the rest of the material world, and in Antony Gormley on Sculpture, he shares valuable insight into his work and the history of sculpture itself.
Combining commentary on his own works with discussions of other artists and the Eastern religious traditions that have inspired him, Gormley offers wisdom on topics such as the body in space, how to approach an environment when conceiving an installation, bringing mindfulness and internal balance to sculpture, and much more. Lavishly illustrated, this book will be of interest to not only art lovers, curators, and critics, but also artists and art students. Dynamic and thought-provoking, Antony Gormley on Sculpture is essential reading for anyone fascinated by sculpture and its long and complex history as a medium.
In the first contemporary single-volume survey of the three arts of Venice—painting, sculpture, and architecture—Norbert Huse and Wolfgang Wolters offer an important counterbalance to the traditional orientation toward painting as the city's preeminent art by focusing on architecture as the essential Venetian art. They begin their study in 1460, when Venice was one of the key powers of Italy, and end with the death of Tintoretto in 1594, a period of waning international power. In the process, they define the distinctly Venetian terms by which the city and its culture should be understood. With over three hundred illustrations and an exhaustive bibliography, this volume makes an impressive contribution to art historical scholarship.
"The historical aspect of this book is splendid, but where it excels is in its fearless and thought-provoking critical judgements. . . . it will lead both beginners and experts to new joys."—David Ekserdjian, Times Literary Supplement
Cosa, a small Roman town, has been excavated since 1948 by the American Academy in Rome. This new volume presents the surviving sculpture and furniture in marble and other stones and examines their nature and uses. These artifacts provide an insight into not just life in a small Roman town but also its embellishment mainly from the late Republic and through the early Empire to the time of Hadrian. While public statuary is not well preserved, stone and marble material from the private sphere are well represented; domestic sculpture and furniture from the third century BCE to the first CE form by far the largest category of objects. The presence of these materials in both public and private spheres sheds light on the wealth of the town and individual families. The comparative briefness of Cosa’s life means that this material is more easily comprehensible as a whole for the entire town as excavated, compared for instance to the much larger cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Edited by Julie Rodrigues Widholm and Madeleine Grynsztejn University of Chicago Press, 2015 Library of Congress NB379.S25A4 2015 | Dewey Decimal 730.92
A mountain of chairs piled between buildings. Shoes sewn behind animal membranes into a wall. A massive crack running through the floor of Tate Modern. Powerful works like these by sculptor Doris Salcedo evoke the significance of bearing witness and processes of collective healing. Salcedo, who lives and works in Bogotá, roots her art in Colombia’s social and political landscape—including its long history of civil wars—with an elegance and poetic sensibility that balances the gravitas of her subjects. Her work is undergirded by intense fieldwork, including interviews with people who have suffered loss and endured trauma from political violence. In recent years, Salcedo has become increasingly interested in the universality of these experiences and has expanded her research to Turkey, Italy, Great Britain, and the United States.
Published to accompany Salcedo’s first retrospective exhibition and the American debut of her major work Plegaria muda, Doris Salcedo is the most comprehensive survey of her sculptures and installations to date. In addition to featuring new contributions by respected scholars and curators, the book includes over one hundred color illustrations highlighting many pieces from Salcedo’s thirty-year career. Offering fresh perspectives on a vital body of work, Doris Salcedo is a testament to the power of one of today’s most important international artists.
Winner of the 2014 Jean-Pierre Barricelli Prize for Best Book on Romanticism
In Fugitive Objects, Catriona MacLeod examines the question of why sculpture is both intensively discussed and yet rendered immaterial in German literature. She focuses on three forms of disappearance: sculpture’s vanishing as a legitimate art form at the beginning of the nineteenth century in German aesthetics, statues’ migration from the domain of high art into mass reproduction and popular culture, and sculpture’s dislodging and relocation into literary discourse. Through original readings of Clemens Brentano, Achim von Arnim, Adalbert Stifter, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, and others, MacLeod reveals that if sculpture has disappeared from much of nineteenth-century German literature and aesthetics, it is a vanishing act that paradoxically relocates the statue back onto another cultural pedestal, attesting to the powerful force of the medium.
The work of German sculptor Isa Genzken is brilliantly receptive to the ever-shifting conditions of modern life. In this first book devoted to the artist, Lisa Lee reflects on Genzken’s tendency to think across media, attending to sculptures, photographs, drawings, and films from the entire span of her four-decade career, from student projects in the mid-1970s to recent works seen in Genzken’s studio.
Through penetrating analyses of individual works as well as archival and interview material from the artist herself, Lee establishes four major themes in Genzken’s oeuvre: embodied perception, architecture and built space, the commodity, and the body. Contextualizing the sculptor’s engagement with fellow artists, such as Joseph Beuys and Bruce Nauman, Lee situates Genzken within a critical and historical framework that begins in politically fraught 1960s West Germany and extends to the globalized present. Here we see how Genzken tests the relevance of the utopian aspirations and formal innovations of the early twentieth century by submitting them to homage and travesty. Sure to set the standard for future studies of Genzken’s work, Isa Genzken is essential for anyone interested in contemporary art.
Inspired by a classical education, wealthy Romans populated the glittering interiors of their villas and homes with marble statuettes of ancestors, emperors, gods, and mythological figures. In The Learned Collector, Lea M. Stirling shows how the literary education received by all aristocrats, pagan and Christian alike, was fundamental in shaping their artistic taste while demonstrating how that taste was considered an important marker of status. Surveying collections across the empire, Stirling examines different ways that sculptural collections expressed not only the wealth but the identity of their aristocratic owners.
The majority of statues in late antique homes were heirlooms and antiques. Mythological statuary, which would be interpreted in varying degrees of complexity, favored themes reflecting aristocratic pastimes such as dining and hunting. The Learned Collector investigates the manufacture of these distinctive statuettes in the later fourth century, the reasons for their popularity, and their modes of display in Gaul and the empire.
Although the destruction of ancient artwork looms large in the common view of late antiquity, statuary of mythological figures continued to be displayed and manufactured into the early fifth century. Stirling surveys the sculptural decor of late antique villas across the empire to reveal the universal and regional trends in the late antique confluence of literary education, mythological references, aristocratic mores, and classicizing taste. Deftly combining art historical, archaeological, and literary evidence, this book will be important to classicists and art historians alike. Stirling's accessible writing style makes this an important work for scholars, students, and anyone with an interest in Roman statues of this era.
Lea M. Stirling is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Manitoba and holds a Canada Research Council Chair in Roman Archaeology. She co-directs excavations at the ancient city of Leptiminus, Tunisia.
Whereas twelfth-century pilgrims flocked to the church of St-Lazare in Autun to visit the relics of its patron saint, present-day pilgrims journey there to admire its superb sculpture, said to have been created by the artist Gislebertus whose name is inscribed above one of the church doors. These two cults, of sculptor and of saint, form points of departure and arrival for Linda Seidel's study.
Legends in Limestone reveals how "Gislebertus, sculptor" was discovered and subsequently sanctified over the course of the last century. Seidel makes a compelling case for the identification of the name with an ancestor of the local ducal family, invoked for his role in the acquisition of the precious relics. With the aid of evidence drawn from the richly carved decoration of the building, she demonstrates how medieval visitors would have read a different holy narrative in the church fabric, one that constructed before their eyes an account of their patron saint's life.
Legends in Limestone, an absorbing study of one of France's most revered medieval monuments, provides fresh insights into modern and medieval interpretive practices.
Leo Steinberg was one of the most original and daring art historians of the twentieth century, known for taking interpretative risks that challenged the profession by overturning reigning orthodoxies. In essays and lectures that ranged from old masters to contemporary art, he combined scholarly erudition with an eloquent prose that illuminated his subject and a credo that privileged the visual evidence of the image over the literature written about it. His works, sometimes provocative and controversial, remain vital and influential reading.
For half a century, Steinberg delved into Michelangelo’s work, revealing the symbolic structures underlying the artist’s highly charged idiom. This volume of essays and unpublished lectures explicates many of Michelangelo’s most celebrated sculptures, applying principles gleaned from long, hard looking. Almost everything Steinberg wrote included passages of old-fashioned formal analysis, but here put to the service of interpretation. He understood that Michelangelo’s rendering of figures as well as their gestures and interrelations conveys an emblematic significance masquerading under the guise of naturalism. Michelangelo pushed Renaissance naturalism into the furthest reaches of metaphor, using the language of the body and its actions to express fundamental Christian tenets once expressible only by poets and preachers—or, as Steinberg put it, in Michelangelo’s art, “anatomy becomes theology.”
Michelangelo’s Sculpture is the first in a series of volumes of Steinberg’s selected writings and unpublished lectures, edited by his longtime associate Sheila Schwartz. The volume also includes a book review debunking psychoanalytic interpretation of the master’s work, a light-hearted look at Michelangelo and the medical profession and, finally, the shortest piece Steinberg ever published.
Doris Salcedo, a Colombian-born artist, addresses the politics of memory and forgetting in work that embraces fraught situations in dangerous places. Noted critic and theorist Mieke Bal narrates between the disciplines of contemporary culture in order to boldly reimagine the role of the visual arts. Both women are pathbreaking figures, globally renowned and widely respected. Doris Salcedo, meet Mieke Bal.
In Of What One Cannot Speak, Bal leads us into intimate encounters with Salcedo’s art, encouraging us to consider each work as a “theoretical object” that invites—and demands—certain kinds of considerations about history, death, erasure, and grief. Bal ranges widely through Salcedo’s work, from Salcedo’s Atrabiliarios series—in which the artist uses worn shoes to retrace los desaparecidos (“the disappeared”) from nations like Argentina, Chile, and Colombia—to Shibboleth, Salcedo’s once-in-a-lifetime commission by the Tate Modern, for which she created a rupture, as if by earthquake, that stretched the length of the museum hall’s concrete floor. In each instance, Salcedo’s installations speak for themselves, utilizing household items, human bones, and common domestic architecture to explore the silent spaces between violence, trauma, and identity. Yet Bal draws out even deeper responses to the work, questioning the nature of political art altogether and introducing concepts of metaphor, time, and space in order to contend with Salcedo’s powerful sculptures and installations.
An unforgettable fusion of art and essay, Of What One Cannot Speak takes us to the very core of events we are capable of remembering—yet still uncomfortably cannot speak aloud.
For many Westerners, the veil is the ultimate sign of women’s oppression. But Elizabeth Bucar’s take on Muslim women’s clothing is a far cry from this attitude. She invites readers to join her in three Muslim-majority nations as she surveys pious fashion from head to toe and shows how Muslim women approach the question “What to wear?” with style.
This collection of essays is the first of its kind to focus on issues concerning sculpture and reproduction, and to explore their theoretical and practical consequences. What does it mean for a sculpture to be reproduced? Does it diminish or add to the authenticity and authority of the original?
Ranging from the Ancient to the Modern world, and investigating the function of artistic reproduction in cultures as diverse as the Catholic Spain of the Golden Age and the avant-garde of early twentieth century Germany, these essays significantly add to our understanding of a number of major sculptors, including Michelangelo, Rodin and Brancusi.
With essays by Ed Allington, Malcolm Baker, Anthony Hughes, Neil McWilliam, Miranda Marvin, Alexandra Parigoris, Martin Postle, Erich Ranfft and Marjorie Trusted.
Public sculpture is a major draw in today’s cities, and nowhere is this more the case than in New York. In the Big Apple, urban art has become synonymous with the municipal “brand,” highlighting the metropolis as vibrant, creative, tolerant, orderly, and above all, safe. Sculpture in Gotham tells the story of how the City of New York came to be committed to public art patronage beginning in the mid-1960s. In that era of political turbulence, cultural activists and city officials for a time shifted away from traditional monuments, joining forces to sponsor ambitious sculptural projects as an instrument for urban revitalization.
Focusing on specific people, agencies and organizations, and both temporary and permanent projects, from the 1960s forward, Michele H. Bogart reveals the changing forms and meanings of municipal public art. Sculpture in Gotham illustrates how such shifts came about at a time when art theories and styles were morphing markedly, and when municipalities were reeling from racial unrest, economic decline, and countercultural challenges—to culture as well as the state. While sculptural installations on New York City property took time and were not without controversy, Gotham’s processes and policies produced notable results, providing precedents and lessons for cities the world over.
Sculpture in Wood was first published in 1950. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In simple every-day language and with lavish use of photographs, a noted sculptor takes you, step-by-step, through the process of wood sculpture and explains how to appreciate and use this kind of art in your own home. The how-to-do-it section contains information on the tools needed, the various woods and their qualities, and finishes. Photographs showing examples of the author's work and that of other contemporary sculptors illustrate his points clearly. The beginner will find this book opens the way to a rewarding hobby; the serious artist will be challenged by Mr. Rood's forceful ideas on art.
The Sculpture of Robyn Horn
Robyn Horn University of Arkansas Press, 2018 Library of Congress NB237.H577S38 2018 | Dewey Decimal 730.92
In Robyn Horn’s thirty years as a wood sculptor, her work has evolved from small, lathe-turned objects to ten-foot-high redwood compositions like her Already Set in Motion #1170, which graces a garden at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. In creating these forms that rise from the earth at improbable angles, Horn’s primary tool is the chainsaw, and yet a tenderness for her medium reveals itself in the delicate balance of planes that allows her sculptures to both loom and flow, visually indicating that they are precarious when in fact they are sturdy.
The essays and images in The Sculpture of Robyn Horn sketch the industrious career of this Little Rock, Arkansas-based sculptor, illuminating her attention to geometry, physics, and the philosophy of design, and exploring the context and origin of the various series—Geodes, Millstones, Standing Stones, and Slipping Stones, among others—that characterize her body of work.
"The eye that gathers impressions is no longer the eye that sees a depiction on a surface; it becomes a hand, the ray of light becomes a finger, and the imagination becomes a form of immediate touching."—Johann Gottfried Herder
Long recognized as one of the most important eighteenth-century works on aesthetics and the visual arts, Johann Gottfried Herder's Plastik (Sculpture, 1778) has never before appeared in a complete English translation. In this landmark essay, Herder combines rationalist and empiricist thought with a wide range of sources—from the classics to Norse legend, Shakespeare to the Bible—to illuminate the ways we experience sculpture.
Standing on the fault line between classicism and romanticism, Herder draws most of his examples from classical sculpture, while nevertheless insisting on the historicity of art and of the senses themselves. Through a detailed analysis of the differences between painting and sculpture, he develops a powerful critique of the dominance of vision both in the appreciation of art and in our everyday apprehension of the world around us. One of the key articulations of the aesthetics of Sturm und Drang, Sculpture is also important as an anticipation of subsequent developments in art theory.
Jason Gaiger's translation of Sculpture includes an extensive introduction to Herder's thought, explanatory notes, and illustrations of all the sculptures discussed in the text.
Sculpture with a Torch was first published in 1963. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
John Rood, a sculpture and former professor of art at the University of Minnesota, provides in this book a practical, how-to-do-it discussion of the technique of welded metal sculpture. In addition to serving as an instruction manual for students and artists working with welded sculpture, the book will be helpful to art critics, connoisseurs, and others, who will gain greater insight into this kind of art by knowing something of the processes involved. In an introductory chapter the author discusses welded sculpture as an art form. In separate chapters he considers oxyacetylene welding, equipment, finishes, brazing, techniques, and arc-welding. He gives a step-by-step account of the making of a piece of welded sculpture for an architectural setting. A chapter on the making of sketches and a list of safety rules conclude the text, and there is a brief bibliography. The book is profusely illustrated with photographs showing the author's own metal sculpture, works of other artists, and tools and equipment.
John Rood is also the author of Sculpture in Wood, and his art is critically discussed and portrayed in John Rood's Sculpture by Bruno Schneider, both published by the University of Minnesota Press.