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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Newly Reviewed Books

Net of Being by Alex Grey (Inner Traditions)

Alex Grey’s painting Net of Being – inspired by a blazing vision of an infinite grid of Godheads during an ayahuasca journey – has reached millions as the cover and interior of the band TOOL’s Grammy award-winning triple-platinum album, 10,000 Days. Net of Being is one of many images Grey has created that have resulted in a chain reaction of uses – from apparel and jewelry to tattoos and music videos. Grey is the author of Sacred Mirrors, Transfigurations, The Mission of Art, and Art Psalms. His work has been exhibited throughout the world. More

Beckmann & America edited by Jutta Schutt, Städel, Museum Frankfurt am Main, foreword by Max Hollein, texts by David Anfam, Karoline Feulner, Ursula Harter, Lynette Roth, Stefana Sabin, Jutta Schutt, Christiane Zeiller, graphic design by Andreas Platzgummer [hardcover. 280 pp., 261 ills.] The catalogue accompanying the Max Beckmann exhibition at the Städel Museum(Hatje Cantz) Max Beckmann (1884-1950) moved to the United States in the late summer of 1947. He would spend the last three years of his life far away from Europe, years that signified a liberating, intense new start for him. The vastness of the foreign continent, its coasts, the atmosphere of its "wild" landscapes, and its big cities all formed a palpable source of inspiration for Beckmann, who had never before had this type of physical experience of space.

Working with incredible energy and productivity, Beckmann produced numerous major works in these few short years. From today's perspective, Beckmann's independence is all the more impressive when seen in relation to the development of abstract art that was taking place in America at the same time. Beckmann retained his link to representationalism and its metaphorical themes, yet still managed to assert himself as a European painter of international status. More

Max Beckmann The Landscapes edited by Bernhard Mendes Bürgi, Nina Peter, texts by Hans Belting, Bernhard Mendes Bürgi, Eva Demski, Nina Peter, Maren Stotz, Beatrice von Bornnann, graphic design by Schott & Schibig [236 pp., c. 135 ills., 115 in color, 25 x 30.7 cm, hardcover] (Hajte Cantz) Highlights from the master's oeuvre—the landscapes.

Max Beckmann is one of the titans of modern art, although he considered himself the last of the Old Masters. This publication examines the artist's landscape paintings, which are not characterized by layers of allegorical meaning, as are his works in other genres, and their splendid painterly qualities are instantly perceptible. One of the foundations for these landscapes is the potent experience of nature. Personal objects belonging to Beckmann frequently appear in the foreground, like remnants of still lifes, making the viewer aware of the artist's presence. On the other hand, the paintings are realistic reproductions of places he visited, for which Beckmann also made reference to photographs or postcards. A third artistic idea came from art itself: flashes of Beckmann's immense knowledge of art history can be seen in his citations of other works. Thus, his landscapes can be regarded as a kind of summation of his understanding of the world. More



The Afterlife of Raphael's Paintings by Cathleen Hoeniger (Cambridge University Press) Raphael is one of the rare artists who have never gone out of fashion. Acclaimed during his lifetime, he was imitated by contemporaries and served as a model for painters through the nineteenth century. Because of the artist's renown, his works have continuously been subject to care, conservation, and restoration. In The Afterlife of Raphael's Paintings, Cathleen Hoeniger, Associate Professor of Art History at Queen's University, focuses on the legacy of Raphael's art: the historical trajectory or afterlife of the paintings themselves. More

Collage, Colour and Texture in Painting by Mike Bernard and Robin Capon (Batsford) From the time I was at art college I have always felt that, rather than aiming to make an image that was completely faithful to the original scene, sketch or inspiration, it was more important to create an interesting painting. By this, I mean that the completed picture should be exciting to look at and have an overall coherence and impact. This does not necessarily preclude it from evoking a particular sense of place, of course, but it will show this with an emphasis on personal interpretation and will have been influenced by things that have happened during the painting process. More

Cold Eye by Dan Burt and Paul Hodgson (Carcanet Press Ltd) Cold Eye" is a collaboration between an artist and a poet to examine the creative process. The work yokes ten images with ten poems and in so doing one explores the other: text uses apposition to excavate image and its genesis, and image illuminates text and its content. Image and text share a sense of doubt which permeates the work and its subjects. The drive to present a clear, cold view of them is always paramount. More

From Hieroglyphics to Isotype: A Visual Autobiography by Otto Neurath (Hyphen, Princeton Architectural Press) From 1943 until his death in December 1945, Austrian sociologist Otto Neurath worked tirelessly on numerous versions of an innovative visual autobiography entitled From Hieroglyphics to Isotype. Now, sixty-five years later, comes the first publication of his full text, carefully edited from the original manuscripts. This edition highlights the important role visual material played in Neurath's life—from his earliest years to his professional work on the Isotype picture language. This engaging and informal account gives a rich picture of Central-European culture around the turn of the twentieth century, seen through the eyes of Neurath's insatiable intelligence, as well as a detailed exposition of the technique of Isotype. From Hieroglyphics to Isotype includes an appendix showing examples from Neurath's extensive collection of visual material. More

Crows, Cranes & Camellias by Amy Reigle Newland (Hotei Publishing, Brill Academic) Little is known about the artist Ohara Koson (1877-1945), whose career bridged the era between the decline of the full-coloured woodblock print (nishiki-e) in the late 19th century/early 20th century and the emergence of the Shin hanga ('new print') movement in the 1910s. An artist principally marketed abroad, Koson's bird-and-flower prints met with great success in the United States and Europe. He has only recently received attention in his native Japan following the discovery of important reference material including original sketches and paintings for his prints. More

Early Buddhist Art of China and Central Asia Part 4: Volume 12.3  by Marylin Martin Rhie  (Handbook of Oriental Studies/Handbuch Der Orientalistik: Brill Academic) This book, third in a series on the early Buddhist art of China and Central Asia, centers on Buddhist art from the Western Ch'in (385-431 A.D.) in eastern Kansu (northwest China), primarily from the cave temples of Ping-ling ssu and Mai-chi shan. A detailed chronological and iconographic study of sculptures and wall paintings in Cave 169 at Ping-ling ssu particularly yields a chronological framework for unlocking the difficult issues of dating early fifth century Chinese Buddhist art, and offers some new insights into textual sources in the Lotus, Hua-yen and Amitabha sutras. Further, this study introduces the iconographpy of the five Buddhas and its relation to the art of Gandhara and the famous five colossal T'an-yao caves at Yün-kang.

This book is for those studying Chinese Buddhist art, religion and history and Gandharan art; it is relevant for libraries, museums, academic institutions and students of Asian art and religion. (460 b/w pp of illustrations) More

RGB: British Graphics by Marc Valli and Richard Brereton (Actor) A comprehensive, up-to-date collection of the most exciting new graphic-design in the United Kingdom. What design scene is as diverse or cosmopolitan, more rich in influences and references, as packed with new trends and original ideas, as teeming with talent and ambition than the UK? To stand out in this competitive arena, British graphic designers have had to make their work ever more clever and polished, better informed. This fuels the distinctive, refined styles of such artists as Mark Farrow, Sea, Spin, Browns, Fuel, James Joyce, Zak, Studio 8 and Bibliotek. The UK (especially urban hotbeds like London, Manchester and Sheffield) is also a greenhouse for new musical styles and youth trends, and a fertile ground for eccentric visual artists like Non-Format, Ben Drury, The Designers Republic; and of course, also a major financial nucleus for studios like William Paul, BB Saunders and Saturday marking their styles and brands across the world. The main question in compiling a book on the best of new British design is not what to put in, but what to leave out. Stylistic novelty and visual distinctiveness are our key parameters. RGB features artists from highly diverse backgrounds, at all different stages in their careers, from household names to the newest young talents. RGB captures the UK s explosively vibrant and unpredictable realm of graphic design, in over 280 pages packed with exciting visual material.
The first question one has to ask is: but is there such a thing as British graphics? What can legitimately be called British, and what cannot? Tricky question. Contemporary Britain is unmistakably cosmopolitan. A selection criteria based purely on nationality, on passports, would not do the trick. Even the idea of focussing on practitioners who reside in the UK was problematic: in the age of broadband, designers can move freely around the world, while continuing to work for British clients and within a British sphere. We therefore decided to use the looser, trickier idea of 'belonging', or 'fellowship', constantly asking the question: how does this work fit into the UK's visual art scene? But that brings us back to our starting point: what is that then? Is there such a thing as British graphics? More

Beethoven's Tempest Sonata: Perspectives of Analysis and Performance edited by P. Berge, W.E. Caplin, and J. D'hoe (Analysis In Context. Leuven Studies In Musicology: Peeters) For music analysts and performers alike, Beethoven's Tempest sonata (1802) represents one of the most challenging pieces of the classical and early romantic piano repertoire. This book is a collection of eleven essays, each dealing with this sonata from a different analytical perspective and investigating the possible connections between music analysis and the practice of performance. Under the editorship of Pieter Berge, Jeroen D'hoe and William E. Caplin, the book presents essays by Scott Burnham (hermeneutics), Poundie Burstein (Schenkerian approach), Kenneth Hamilton (history of performance), Robert Hatten (semiotics), James Hepokoski (Sonata Theory), William Kinderman (source studies), William Rothstein (tempo, rhythm, and meter), Douglas Seaton (narratology), Steven Vande Moortele (20th-century Formenlehre) and the editors themselves (motivic analysis and form-functional approach respectively). More

Design Revolution: 100 Products That Empower People by Emily Pilloton,  Foreword by Allan Chochinov (Metropolis Books) In January of 2008, with a thousand dollars, a laptop and an outsized conviction that design can change the world, rising San Francisco-based product designer and activist Emily Pilloton launched Project H Design, a radical non-profit that supports, inspires and delivers life-improving humanitarian product design. "We need to go beyond 'going green' and to enlist a new generation of design activists," she wrote in an influential manifesto. "We need big hearts, bigger business sense and the bravery to take action now."
Featuring more than 100 contemporary design products and systems--safer baby bottles, a high-tech waterless washing machine, low-cost prosthetics for landmine victims, Braille-based Lego-style building blocks for blind children, wheelchairs for rugged conditions, sugarcane charcoal, universal composting systems, DIY soccer balls--that are as fascinating as they are revolutionary, this exceptionally smart, friendly and well-designed volume makes the case for design as a tool to solve some of the world's biggest social problems in beautiful, sustainable and engaging ways--for global citizens in the developing world and in more developed economies alike. Particularly at a time when the weight of climate change, global poverty and population growth are impossible to ignore, Pilloton challenges designers to be changemakers instead of "stuff creators." Urgent and optimistic, a compendium and a call to action, Design Revolution is easily the most exciting design publication to come out this year. More

Islamic Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass, Volume One by David Whitehouse (Hudson Hills Press) The Corning Museum of Glass houses one of the largest and richest collections of early Islamic glass in the United States. This volume, the first in a projected series of three, presents 595 objects and fragments made (with two possible exceptions) in the Islamic world between the eighth and 11th centuries.

Other Collection Catalogs by the Corning Museum  of Glass:

Roman Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass, Volume One by David Whitehouse [381 pages, 484 color plates, 37 halftones, 607 line drawings, $185] (Hudson Hills Press) 

Roman Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass, Volume Two by David Whitehouse [368 pages, 494 color plates, 384 line drawings, $185] (Hudson Hills Press)

Roman Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass, Volume Three by David Whitehouse [236 pages, 341 color plates, 257 line drawings, $125] (Hudson Hills Press)

Sasanian and Post-Sasanian Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass  by David Whitehouse [112 pages, 74 color plates, 82 line drawings, $65] (Hudson Hills Press)

Islamic Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass, Volume One by David Whitehouse (Hudson Hills Press) The Corning Museum of Glass houses one of the largest and richest collections of early Islamic glass in the United States.

Peter Greenaway: Leonardo's Last Supper (Italian/ English Edition) by Peter Greenaway, Franco Laera (Charta/Change Performing Arts) Since 2006, iconoclastic British filmmaker Peter Greenaway has been engaged in a project to reinvigorate some of the most iconic paintings in the history of art in an attempt to get people to look at them again in a new way. Using audio and projectors, Greenaway barrages the selected paintings with imagery, cinema, poetry and special effects. More Sample pages

On the Human Being: International Photography: 1900-1950 / De Lo Humano Fotografia Internacional, 1900-1950 edited by Ute Eskildsen, essays by Florian Ebner, Ramon Esparza, Christiane Kuhlmann, and Sofia Diez (Turner; Bilingual edition) Featuring work by Cecil Beaton, Brassai, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Raoul Hausmann, Richard Avedon, Man Ray, El Lissitzky, Aleksandr Rodchenko and dozens more of the most outstanding photographers of the twentieth century, this deluxe set is broken into two volumes, each sold separately, that jointly analyze photography as an artistic medium from 1900 to 2000-paying particular attention to the myriad ways that human beings have been portrayed across the years. The first volume collects 114 black-and-white images by the leading photographers and avant-garde artists of the era spanning from 1900-1950. The second features 100 more images, also in black-and-white, that span from 1950-2000. Both volumes are edited by the renowned curator and scholar of historical photography, Ute Eskildsen, who has directed the development of the Photographic Department at the Museum Folkwang, Essen since 1979.

On the Human Being International Photography, 1950-2000 / De Lo Humano Fotografia Internacional, 1950-2000 edited by Ute Eskildsen and Alberto Martin (Turner; Bilingual edition) In his study of photography and the unconscious, Serge Tisseron quotes the following sentence from Walter Benjamin's "Short History of Photography": "At the beginning of photography, no one dared to look at the faces on the plate for too long. They thought those faces were also able to see them." Tisseron goes on to wonder whether we have ever really overcome that illusion. Implicit in this question is the inevitable existence in every portrait photo of a close and powerful bond between the viewer and the subject or subjects appearing therein. This offers a fine definition of the importance, persistence and evolution of that photographic genre over time. That evolution is also largely influenced by a third element that plays a fundamental role in the determinant set of transfers occurring in every portrait: the artist, with his positions and strategies. Portraiture—perhaps photography's epitomic genre—is built on the basis of multiple dialogs between photographer and model, photographer and viewer; and model and viewer. And if there is a period in which the implications and consequences of these complex relations were pushed to the limit, it is the second half of the twentieth century. This is especially evident in photographers" conscious attitude toward their capacity to influence this play of transactions, thus modifying and questioning established roles. More

New Vintage Type: Classic Fonts for the Digital Age by Steven Heller (Watson-Guptill) Retro is the new modern. And nowhere is that fact more evident than in typography, which today uses vintage type in ads, book and magazine design, movies, and everywhere words convey meaning. Viewers may not even realize that the type itself conveys mood, information, and a sense of style, but graphic designers know the power of vintage type. Now the world’s foremost historian of graphic design presents New Vintage Type, a remarkable rethinking and rediscovery of old and classic typefaces for today’s modern needs. Hundreds of amazing, astounding, and obscure examples from around the world are gathered here, organized into five historically and stylistically grouped sections: the Victorian Age, the Woodtype Era, Art Deco Style, Modern Movement, and the Eccentric Movement. With hundreds of lively and one-of-a-kind examples, plus informed, intriguing text, New Vintage Type is the graphic designer’s guide to choosing and using vintage type for maximum impact. More

Manet, Baudelaire and Photography Book 1 & Manet, Baudelaire and Photography Book 2 by Larry Leroy Ligo (Edwin Mellen Press) Professor Ligo s defense and illustration of his claim that Manet s work represents an intelligent and active attempt to embody the modernist aesthetic of his friend, the poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire, makes for absorbing reading. Well aware of the many reasons why Baudelaire may not have been either willing or able to write a full-length essay on Manet in the years 1863-1866 when he knew him best (hard years for Baudelaire, who would die in 1867 and who had lived in Brussels since 1864, in a desperate search for funds and publishers), Professor Ligo fills in the background details both on the friendship between the two men and the artistic life of the times. There are fascinating parallels between specific works by the two artists (Baudelaire’s essay on Wagner s "Tannhauser", for instance, seen in tandem with Manet s "D’jeuner sur l herbe" and particularly interesting arguments about photography and the place of the crowd for both Baudelaire and Manet. Dr. Ligo makes a strong and well-documented case for his conviction that Manet consciously decided to take up the challenge to contemporary painters that Baudelaire sets down in his famous and influential essay, “The Painter of Modern Life”. There is much here for scholars of both Baudelaire and Manet (the parallels enable us to see each in a different light) and for the general reader interested in impressionism, the influence of photography and/or aesthetics more broadly. More

Cézanne in Provence edited by Philip Conisbee and Denis Coutagne (Yale University Press) It was in Paris, not Provence, that Cézanne's art history was made. The centre of the artworld has since been shifted from Paris by the rise of America, but power relations between periphery and centre prevail. The major exhibition that gave rise to this catalogue (available in English and French) would not have been possible without the power of the centre, Washington's National Gallery of Art. The Musée Granet in Aix was thereby able to offer a blockbuster show as a major tourist magnet for the Midi during summer 2006, when the Jas de Bouffan opened to the public. All this is part of a project, 'Cézanne 2006', backed by various development agencies. What is represented for cultural tourism is 'Cézanne's Provence', a short-circuit of nature and painter in which the genius loci of the Aixois landscape supposedly formed Cézanne's approach and the art then forged how we came to see this terrain. More

Mary in Western Art by Timothy Verdon (Hudson Hills Press) No one can doubt Mary's importance in the spiritual history of Europe: every European city has at least one grand church dedicated to her, and, from the fifth century to the present, Christian thinkers have devoted considerable space to her in their reflections. In the visual arts, perhaps not even Christ has had so eminent a role as she. In certain periods images of the Mother indeed outstrip those of her Son both in quantity and in creative originality. The historical identity of Europe's peoples — their self-image across time — in fact seems linked to the ways in which they have venerated, imagined, and depicted Mary. More

The Saturated World: Aesthetic Meaning, Intimate Objects, Women’s Lives, 1890-1940 by Beverly Gordon (University Tennessee Press) Excerpt: This is a book about the way American women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century’s enriched and added meaning to their lives through their "domestic amusements"—leisure pursuits that took place in and were largely focused on the home. They cultivated what I call a "saturated" quality, a kind of heightened experience (state, reality) that was aesthetically and sensually charged and full. These women created self-contained, enchanted "worlds" that helped feed or sustain them, usually by elaborating on their everyday tasks and responsibilities, "making them special" and transforming them into something playful and socially and emotionally satisfying. The story of their activities is in itself quite compelling, abounding with evocative images that push the imagination into high gear. The story is also a largely forgotten part of women's history, worth reclaiming because it helps us understand our foremothers' lives and teaches us to appreciate their intelligence, creativity, and agency. It is my intention to bring these ideas to the fore. More

Heaven on Earth: Art from Islamic Lands contributions by Mikhail Piotrovksy, J. M. Rogers, A. A. Ivanov (Prestel) From the exhibition rooms of The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and the Khalili Collection in London comes this dazzling display of art from the Islamic world. More

Renaissance in China: The Culture And Art of the Song Dynasty by Yuheng Bao, Ben Liao (Edwin Mellen Press) Art historians are much more like horticulturists than government clerks when assigning date to art movement. Events such as births or deaths, treaties, or declarations of hostilities have sufficient witnesses, or evidence, to record not only the year but also the month, the day, even at times, the hour. Whereas the creation of art is a solitary experience that evolves from perception and contemplation. More

The Lighting Cookbook: Foolproof Recipes for Perfect Glamour, Portrait, Still Life, and Corporate Photographs by Jenni Bidner (Photography for All Levels: Advanced: Amphoto Books) The book begins with the first section, "The Well-Stocked Studio," and describes cameras, lighting, and accessories. This is valuable information for a serious photographer wanting to get more advanced, but is overwhelmed at all of the equipment and what it does. Other sections are "Basic Portraiture," "Corporate and Industrial Shots," "Product Shots and Still Lifes," and "Specialized Techniques." Each section presents about a dozen different examples of techniques in that area, detailing the equipment used. Each technique example is covered in a few pages with excellent photographs, a pretty good diagram of the lighting arrangement, and an "ingredients" list. The book is also sprinkled with valuable side notes. More

Icons Of Photography: The 20th Century by Peter Stepan  (Prestel Publishing) (Hardcover) Ninety seminal images by the world’s greatest photographers provide a stunning tour of the twentieth-century’s greatest camera work. More

Abstract Painting: Concepts And Techniques by Vicky Perry (Watson-Guptill Publications) Until now, the techniques used to create great abstract paintings were surrounded by a veil of mystery. Abstract Painting: Concepts and Techniques lifts that veil to reveal the exact methods behind the masterworks. Now students and professional artists can stop guessing and start building on the techniques of the great abstract artists to create their own innovative new work. Two clear, comprehensible sections let artists focus quickly on their specific areas of interest. The first section, on Traditional Painterly Abstraction, using brush and easel, looks at pictorial space, brushwork, paint quality, and collage. The second section, on Post-Painterly Modern Abstraction, considers options ranging from the pour-and-spatter techniques of Jackson Pollock to the staining, scraping, and abrading of modern acrylic artists. Step-by-step recipes for key approaches show artists how to get the best aesthetic results, freeing them to move forward philosophically. More

De Kooning: An American Master by Mark Stevens, Annalyn Swan (Knopf) Willem de Kooning is one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, a true “painter’s painter” whose protean work continues to inspire many artists. In the thirties and forties, along with Arshile Gorky and Jackson Pollock, he became a key figure in the revolutionary American movement of abstract expressionism. Of all the painters in that group, he worked the longest and was the most prolific, creating powerful, startling images well into the 1980s. More

Innovative Promotions That Work: A Quick Guide to the Essentials of Effective Design edited by Lisa L. Cyr (Graphic Workshop: Rockport Publishers) To make their audience stop, look, and listen, creative firms and freelancers should strive to produce memorable promotions that speak to a prospective client's needs in unique and innovative ways. Rather than relying on any one venue, firms should penetrate their target market on many fronts. Building brand recognition and making a long-lasting impact with key clients is possible using such items as image and brand-building initiatives, campaign endeavors, keepsake promotions, publication and newsletter promotions, event invitations, announce­ments, and greeting cards. Whether a creative company is new and embarking on a launch, or a seasoned firm looking to maintain or expand their market share, a distinctive promotion can effectively call attention to what a business has to offer. More

The Joy of Beading: More Than 50 Easy Projects for Jewelry, Flowers, Decor, Accessories by Anna Borrelli (Watson-Guptill Publications) More than 50 exciting projects; Multiple categories for beading—jewelry, decorative flowers, home décor, and personal Iaccessories; Step-by-step techniques will appeal to beginners, beautiful projects will appeal to more advanced crafters More

New Masters of Poster Design: Poster Design for the Next Century by John Foster (Rockport Publishers) In much the way that the CD replaced the album, the poster has waned as a messaging vehicle. The poster has now become a postcard and e-mail blast, leaving many to long for the lost age when posters were not only major promotional vehicles, but also artwork worthy of framing.  More

History of Modern Design by David Raizman (Prentice Hall) Design plays an integral part in our lives, surrounding us at home and in the office. The products of design—whether in the form of household products, packaging, fashion, software, industrial equipment, or promotional images in the mass media—can be seen both as objects of beauty and as the result of creative human endeavors. More

Heaven on Earth: Art from Islamic Lands contributions by Mikhail Piotrovksy, J. M. Rogers, A. A. Ivanov (Prestel) From the exhibition rooms of The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and the Khalili Collection in London comes this dazzling display of art from the Islamic world.

The exhibits, which are of great cultural, religious and aesthetic importance, include Qur’ans, textiles, jewelled objects and hardstones, metalwork, ceramics and paintings, and offer a superb introduction to the fine and decorative arts of the Islamic world. Ranging in date from the ninth to the nineteenth century and covering an area from Spain and the Arab world to Persia and the Indian subcontinent, they are a vivid demonstration of the well-know Muslim tradition: "Verily, God is beautiful and loves all beauty."

Authoritative essays by distinguished Islamic scholars, maps, and more than 150 colour photographs make this exhibition catalogue an indispensable addition to the library of all who are interested in Islamic art and culture.

This book is written for an English-speaking readership. Wherever possible personal names and place names have been given as they appear in standard English works of reference. The geographical and chronological range of the material is, however, so vast, that absolute consistency is impossible. The text inevitably uses various technical terms which, being in Arabic, Persian or Turkish, should properly be transliterated. There are, however, two intrinsic objections to transliteration: there is no completely consistent way of rendering Arabic, Persian and Turkish, so whichever system one adopts is going to displease at least one constituency; and, while the non-specialist is hardly likely to care, the specialist, who knows the original, will be happy to have his prejudices flattered or his hackles raised. For that reason, the only diacriticals which have been retained are for the letters hamza (a vertical apostrophe) and 'ayn, a forward apostrophe. For consistency also, the letter waw in the Arabic alphabet is rendered as w in both Arabic and Persian.

Islam uses a lunar calendar starting from the year 622 AD, the date of the Hijra, the flight of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, which falls behind the solar calendar by a little more than eleven days a year. The result is consider-able discrepancies between Western and Islamic dates. In a work of this type, de-signed for the interested non-specialist, the systematic use of double dating would be otiose, so only the Western date is given. However, when a precise Muslim date appears in the colophon of a manuscript or accompanies a signature on a painting it plainly requires a precise equivalent. In such cases the Hijri date (AH) precedes the AD date.

A book of this sort is essentially a work of compilation and stands solidly on the shoulders of its predecessors. For reasons of space, the Bibliography has been kept to a minimum, so the citation of a volume must serve as an acknowledgment of its use.

Professor Piotrovsky's Introduction was translated by Geraldine Norman. The catalogue entries written by the Hermitage staff were translated by J. M. Rogers, who also translated A. A. Ivanov's essay on the development of the Hermitage collection of Islamic art.

 Vermeer's World: An Artist and his Town by Irene Netta (Prestel) Now available in paperback, this vibrant introduction to the Dutch master brings his singular talent to light in words and brilliantly reproduced pictures. I well-written, through introduction to this master.
A frustrating lack of information has made Vermeer’s life and work the subject of enormous speculation. A mere thirty-five paintings have been ascribed to this seventeenth-century genius, and their incredible luminosity, lyricism and composition make them some of the most beloved and intensely studied artworks in the world.
Focusing on Vermeer’s native city, Delft, the author brings to life a world of Dutch merchants, sea traders, servants, and artists. She reviews the complete catalogue of Vermeer’s oeuvre—presented here in all its astounding color—analyzing his technique and subject matter and comparing him with his contemporaries. The result is a biographical and historical portrait that deepens our understanding of the artistic genius, as it whets our appetite for more information about an elusive man.  


Mechanical Occult: Automatism, Modernism, and the Specter of Politics by Alan Ramon Clinton (Peter Lang) In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, technology and spirituality formed uncanny alliances in countless manifestations of automatism. From Victorian mediums to the psychiatrists who studied them, from the Fordist assembly line to the Hollywood studios that adopted its practices, from Surrealism on the left to Futurism and Vorticism on the right, the unpredictable paths of automatic practice and ideology present a means by which to explore both the utopian and dystopian possibilities of technological and cultural innovation. Focusing on the poetry of T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and William Butler Yeats, Alan Ramon Clinton argues that, given the wide-reaching influence of automatism, as much can be learned from these writers' means of production as from their finished products. At a time when criticism has grown polarized between political and aesthetic approaches to high modernism, this book provocatively develops its own automatic procedures to explore the works of these writers as fields rich in potential choices, some more spectral than others.

If one were pressed to name the most persistent structuring opposition in stud­ies of modernism, the opposition between science/technology and spirituality would definitely contend for top honors. Ezra Pound, who played an important role in setting the stakes for modernist artists, publicly tipped the artistic scales in favor of technology. His soberly titled essay "The Serious Artist," published in 1913, declares that the "arts, literature, poesy, are a science, just as chemistry is a science."' The overt goal of art, in this formulation, is to investigate those elements of humanity that fall outside the scope of other sciences. Pound's unstated aim, as we now understand it, was to grant the arts a status equal to the newly valorized discourses of science and technology. T.S. Eliot, with his description of art, in "Tradition and the Individual Talent," as a process of depersonalization analogous to "the action which takes place when a bit of finely filiated platinum is introduced into a chamber containing oxygen and sulphur dioxide," seems to concur? As much as the poems of these two figures resist formal analysis, their critical writings helped legitimize the scientific ideology that informed the minute dissections of the New Criticism.

In this version of modernism, W.B. Yeats is viewed as a great (many would say the "greatest") poet whose lifelong interest in occultism renders him marginal to the general thrust of the modernist "international style." Futurism, by contrast, may not have produced as memorable a body of art, but was more central to modernism in its investigations of societal mechanization that "had captivated most of the European artistic community." And there has been little, on the critical front, to change this state of things. If New Critical methodologies were challenged by structuralist methods in the 1950s and then the deluge of so-called "literary theory" that entered the English speaking world in the 1970s, the scientific ideologies of the New Criticism were actually reinforced by these imports. The ready incorporation of linguistics, psychoanalysis, and philosophy by English departments, while it inarguably resulted in a number of illuminating collaborations, also signals a desire for the humanities to adopt the systems of highly specialized language one associates with "hard science."

Somewhat ironically, it was the return of the very historical approaches originally displaced by the New Criticism that enabled the dominance of the "international style" to be questioned. Although inspired by an interest in such unabashedly occult figures as Yeats and Strindberg, contributors to the New York Literary Forum of 1980 began to argue for occultism's centrality based upon its ubiquity in turn-of-the-century culture. If "around 1900 Satanism be-became a European craze," then it is the duty of historically-minded critics to investigate such Black Mass appeal' Of course, interest in spiritualities of all kinds had swept through Europe, and so it was only a matter of time before such avatars of the international style as Pound and Eliot were also implicated with the occult. This turn in Modernist studies allowed James Logenbach to look with renewed vigor at the time Yeats and Pound spent together at Stone Cottage, while in The Birth of Modernism Leon Surette made the controversial claim that Eliot sought Pound's help in editing The Waste Land due to Pound's expertise in occult literature! Of course, the New Historicism gave even more ammunition to the technological side of the debate, as evidenced in such encyclopedic works as Cecelia Tichi's Shifting Gears and Lisa M. Steinman's Made in America: Science, Technology, and American Modernist Poets. What neither of these two approaches acknowledged was the truly uncanny nature of science and technology itself, those elements of technology that allowed for spiritualist apprehension at the turn of the century.

In Chapter 1, Clinton addresses this disparity which, although it has received some attention in works such as Avital Ronell's The Telephone Book, R.B. Kershner's work on spirit photography, and Helen Sword's Ghostwriting Modernism, is worthy of further elaboration. Clinton does this by focusing on what Gregory Ulmer calls, citing Gilles Deleuze, a "switch word," which is a word that paradoxically moves between two series. For purposes of bridging the gap between technological and spiritualist approaches to Modernist studies, I find the word-concept of "automatism" to be the most illuminating. Although automatism was once thought to be a fringe element of certain avant-garde and spiritualist circles, the word's roots actually render it equally at home in a Taylorized factory, a séance, or the office of Friedrich Nietzsche, the first philosopher to own a typewriter.

Chapter 2, "The Mechanical Occult," examines the history of occultism's claims to be both a scientific discipline and a politically subversive practice. While its associations with charlatanism and Orientalism complicates these claims considerably, occultism's persistence in popular culture demands its enlistment in any comprehensive program of cultural studies.' In its investigations, this chapter guides the reader through topics such as historian Carlo Ginzburg's investigations into witchcraft and leprosy, French literature's ongoing fascination with all things satanic, and such popular figures as Aleister Crowley and rock star Marilyn Manson. Finally, chapter 2 elucidates the critical methods, including procedures based on the tarot deck and the I-Ching, Clinton uses to reinvestigate the poetic ideologies of Pound, Eliot, and Yeats (Chapters 4—6 respectively), those high modernist poets whose combinations of experimental aesthetics and conservative ideologies (as discussed in Chapter 3) present the greatest challenge to the utopian claims of the avant-garde.

As the fascist, anti-Semitic, and generally conservative ties of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and W.B. Yeats have become more and more commonplace, critics have attempted to explain the apparent discontinuity between closed ideological views and open artistic styles. Most cynically, perhaps, John Strychaz argues that modernist writing possesses the one element shared by all closed professions: a specialized discourse requiring years of training to master.' This hyperbolic view of high modernism has a much broader history than its resurgence in the cultural studies scholarship of the 1980s, even finding one of its strongest expressions in Jean Paul Sartre's What is Literature?! In this work, Sartre makes an argument for so-called "engaged" literature and simultaneously disparages literary practices which a re not engaged. In his insistence that one should always be able to ask a writer, "What is your aim?", Sartre implicitly creates an atmosphere that is hostile to the same types of modernists that Strychaz discusses. The engaged notion that form should not obscure content tends to make Sartre suspicious of more experimental or self-consciously literary forms of writing. At his most vitriolic, Sartre claims that professional critics are "cemetery watchmen" who have sought to escape the real demands of life. In Marxism and Form, Fredric Jameson explains these polemics by reminding us of Sartre's commitment to Marxism, one overlooked by American critics who do not realize that, historically speaking, "in Europe Marxism is an omnipresent, living mode of thought, one with which every intellectual is bound to come into contact." Thus, most of Sartre's great literary and philosophical works were produced concurrently with his studies in Marxism. And, to Sartre's credit, the questions that he asks of literature are part of his larger attempt at a "rectification of [this] idealistic pseudo-Marxism" which, instead of granting a measure of choice to writers in their artistic production, makes essentialist assumptions about the nature of a writer's aesthetic production based upon his or her class affiliations.'° On this level, Sartre's method would seemingly be more applicable to the very writers he disparages, especially those modernists whose stated political views oftentimes seem utterly contrasted with their artistic production. Unfortunately, Sartre's widespread vilifications in What is Literature?, which lack the subtlety of his philosophical writings, not only counteract this specificity, but lend themselves to a more general (in critics such as Strychaz) and thus less effective critique of modernism.

Others explain the failure of the avant-garde to enact sweeping change not in terms of obscurity or difficulty, but in terms of an historical or even fundamental split between aesthetics and politics. In this vein, Peter Burger declares the death of the historical avant-garde in the same breath with which he defines it. Although the avant-garde seeks to erase the divisions between art and everyday life by attacking art as an institution, this attempt is rendered anodyne now that "the protest of the historical avant-garde as institution is accepted as art." Although this latter view may be lauded as a sober antidote to the avant-garde's overly exuberant utopianism, it must ultimately be rejected as self-fulfilling and self-defeating. While Clinton does not pretend that the connections between aesthetics and politics are fundamental or simple, artistic study or production would suffer complete ideological enslavement if the critic did not constantly propose new models for the way in which art and praxis continually produce one another. In Terry Eagleton's words, the study of aesthetics must be taken seriously because, no matter how complex the relationships may be, "the aesthetic is for a number of reasons a peculiarly effective ideological medium: it is graphic, immediate and economical, working at instinctual and emotional depths yet playing too on the very surfaces of perception." Chapter 3, keeping Eagleton's description of a charged aesthetic medium in view, uses a series of vignettes relating the practices of high modernism and Hollywood to suggest how the experimental aesthetics of writers such as Pound, Yeats, and Eliot can actually serve the ends of reactionary politics. Any discussion of "charged" but inherently separate aesthetic media (such as film and literature) owes some debt to Michel Foucault's discussions of the episteme. Foucault's paradoxical notion, which undergirds my investigations of all forms of auto­matism, allows for the historical complexities that can make aesthetic production seem both engaged and utterly separate from other historical occurrences. In describing an historical episteme, Foucault is attempting to chart a "structure of knowledge" that is both limited by its lack of specificity and enabled by its applicability (like a formula) to various situations." In this veinl Foucault's method would seem to possess a high degree of predictability, one that would even justify a mode of criticism which seeks to find direct relationships between literary productions and their historical situations. Unfortunately, Foucault does not describe formulas or templates to which every event is molded, but rather "configurations" of "intrinsic possibility" These possibilities are better understood in terms of the contemporary sciences of probability than in terms of more antiquated notions of causality. As a result, the materialist study of literary products becomes simultaneously more difficult, more mysterious, and more.

Himalaya by Eric Valli (Harry N Abrams) For 20 years, world-renowned photographer Éric Valli traveled through the Himalayan's treacherous terrain with his camera, tirelessly exploring the breathtaking landscape of dramatic peaks and valleys. He became captivated by the region's quiet and dignified inhabitants, learning their languages and forming personal bonds with them.
This stunning collection of Valli's most beautiful photographs from his time in the Himalaya presents the region's spectacular scenery: steep and narrow pathways, lonely high valleys, dramatic passes at 16,000 feet above sea level, and remote villages seemingly untouched by modernity. But the heart of the book is Valli's images of the Himalayan people, who have remained largely hidden from outsiders in their mountainous land. These intimate photographs capture their daily lives: men plowing through the snow with a caravan of yaks and women preparing meals over open fires, as they have done for centuries. Valli also records the predicaments they face in opening their culture to the modern world. Accompanied by an insightful text by cultural anthropologist Anne de Sales, Valli's images document an awe-inspiring human adventure halfway around the world.

Éric Valli lived for many years in the Himalaya and is one of the region's best-known photographers. He is a regular contributor to Géo and National Geographic and the author of numerous books, including Abrams' Himalaya, about the making of his first feature-length film. He now lives in Paris. Anne de Sales is a cultural anthropologist for the CNRS, the national organization for scientific research, in Paris. She spent a decade in Nepal and has written several books on shamanism. 

Turkey from the Air by Janine Trotereau (Harry N Abrams) Acclaimed photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand brings us this book of magnificent aerial photographs of the multifaceted landscapes of Turkey. Eighty-nine lush color images take the reader across some of the most beautiful terrain in the world. From the haunting remains of Hellenistic Greece and the ruins of Byzantium to the glories of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey from the Air provides a virtual magic carpet ride through this enchanting country, including ancient sites that can be viewed only from above.

We see the great city of Istanbul, once the glittering capital of the Byzantine Empire, bristling with the minarets of countless mosques. Here, too, are the ancient cities of Bodrum and Ephesus, the great theater at Aspendus, and the archaeological site Priene. The introduction provides an overview of the country's history, from the time of the Hittites, thousands of years ago, to Turkey today. For anyone who has ever been to Turkey or wishes to experience it from a unique perspective, this book of stunning aerial photography captures its extraordinary beauty. 

A Passion for Trains: The Railroad Photography of Richard Steinheimer by Richard Steinheimer, Jeff Brouws (W. W. Norton & Company) To the true rail fan, Richard Steinheimer is an authentic hero, the best of the best. A pioneer in train photography, Steinheimer lived through and documented the railroad's heyday and its decline. He is one of very few photographers who appreciate the aesthetics of all locomotives, from steam engines to the latest diesel-powered behemoths. He has a particular fondness for the landscape of the American West, and many of his images situate trains in the larger geography and culture of the time. Known for taking pictures at night, in bad weather, and from risky perches on top of moving train platforms, Steinheimer has an enormous creativity and productivity. This, the first full-length celebration of his work, presents 160 of his duotone images, with an introduction by Jeff Brouws.

Zen Brushwork: Focusing the Mind With Calligraphy and Painting by Tanchū Terayama, translated by Thomas F. Judge & John Stevens (Kodansha International) With its bold strokes and mystic aura, Zen calligraphy has fascinated Westerners for decades, yet it remains an abstract, rarely practiced form of expression outside of Asia . Now, in Zen Brushwork, master calligrapher Tanchu Terayama, professor at Nishogakusha University , explains the techniques behind this subtle art and offers step-by-step instructions for practicing it on a professional level.

Sho, the art of brush calligraphy, has always been highly regarded as an art form in the Far East . Although the hand of the artist can be seen in any work of art, it has long been said that sho is the artist. The pliant hairs of the brush, the life force of the carbon that constitutes the ink, and the spontaneity of the brushed letters all work together to express the spirit of the calligrapher.

The calligrapher must become one with the brush if the brush is to come to life. The ink can be thought of as a subtle substance that expresses life and death, and the brushstroke as an opportunity for expression that embodies the whole of the artist.

To become one with the brush means eliminating the self and infusing the ink with the spirit to make each brushstroke resonate with vital energy. The ability to manifest one's strength comes only through dedicated practice….from the Introduction

After introducing the basics, Terayama presents a unique meditative warm-up to establish the proper mental attitude needed to release one's creative energies. Next, the power of the brushed line is explained and demonstrated. What makes a good line or a bad one, an expressive effort or an unfocused one? Lessons on brushing symbolic Japanese characters follow, including those for "emptiness," "nothingness," and "flower." The painting section shows readers how to draw the spare yet elegant pictorial themes of this classic art: bamboo, plum blossoms, Mount Fuji , and the inspirational Zen priest Daruma.

If the exercises are the heart of the book, the Appreciation section is the soul. This chapter introduces classic works from renowned priests and other historical figures, including Miyamoto Musashi, the celebrated swordsman and author of The Book of Five Rings; Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido; Jigoro Kano, the father of judo; and Zen priest Hakuin. Each work is accompanied by penetrating commentary on the strengths and salient features of the work.

Rarely has Zen calligraphy been demonstrated and discussed with such candor and insight. Illuminating yet another side of Zen, Zen Brushwork will be an invaluable source to those interested in meditation, Zen, Buddhism, the martial arts, and Oriental traditions in general. The book was translated by Thomas F. Judge, a Japanese-English translator and author of books on calligraphy and John Stevens, Professor of Buddhist Studies and Aikido Instructor at Tohoku Fukushi University .

Children's Art by Antje Tesche-Mentzen, Herlinde Koelbl (Prestel USA ) What can we learn from children's paintings and drawings? An extraordinary amount, as this charming and disarming volume of creations by young artists reveals. This wondrous collection of paintings and drawings by children ages two to sixteen is compiled by a leading expert in teaching painting to children. From blobs and streaks in vibrant hues to pictures of people, buildings, and animals, to entire worlds precisely rendered, these paintings and drawings give shape to children's imagination and feelings. More

The Weaver's Craft: Cloth, Commerce, and Industry in Early Pennsylvania by Adrienne D. Hood (Early American Studies: University of Pennsylvania Press)

Schirmer Encyclopedia of Art (4-Volume Set) edited by Ann Landi (Gale Group) The past decade or so has seen a tremendous increase of interest in the visual arts. Museum attendance is steadily on the rise; galleries devoted to the art of our times and the art of the past are flourishing; and there are probably more artists of note today than at any other point in the history of humankind. In New York alone, it has been estimated that there are some 60,000 practicing artists. As the contemporary painter and sculptor Frank Stella noted recently, with some astonishment, "Until now, there weren't even 60,000 artists since the beginning of time." More

Comedy After Postmodernism: Rereading Comedy from Edward Lear to Charles Willeford by Kirby Olson (Texas Tech University Press)  Author note: I wrote about six authors who I think should be reevaluated after the advent of postmodernism. Before this, Lear, Gregory Corso, Philippe Soupault, P.G. Wodehouse, Stewart Home, and Charles Willeford, were thought to be throwaway lightweights. Now, thanks to Gilles Deleuze and J.-F. Lyotard, I believe these authors can be reevaluated. More

Living Images: Japanese Buddhist Icons in Context edited by Robert H. Sharf, Elizabeth Horton Sharf (Arc: Asian Religions and Cultures: Stanford University Press) The "enlightened" scholarly view that canonical Buddhism did not sanction the worship of images, or that, at the very least, did not sanction the view of images as numinous spiritual entities, was confirmed by a host of modern Asian apologists, many of whom were urbanized intellectuals educated in Western science and philosophy.
The essays that comprise this volume join other recent attempts to look anew at the nature and function of Buddhist images, focusing on a small but significant sampling drawn from the Japanese tradition. The sculptures and paintings discussed in the chapters below were all sanctioned and revered by members of the clerical elite. Some were central to monastic ritual; others played pivotal roles in the lives of eminent masters, or in the evolution, legitimation, and dissemination of new teachings. Each chapter draws on a variety of materials in order to reconstruct the historical and institutional context surrounding specific icons and in the process contributes to the reevaluation of the status and function of the image within the Buddhist tradition. More

Religion and Media edited by Hent De Vries and Samuel Weber (Cultural Memory in the Present: Stanford University Press) Any inquiry into the relationship between religion and media must begin by pursuing several central questions and interrelated areas of research. More

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