Courageous Vulnerability: Ethics and Knowledge in Proust, Bergson, Marcel, and James by Rosa Slegers (Studies in Contemporary Phenomenology: Brill Academic Publishers) This work develops the ethical attitude of courageous vulnerability through the integration of Marcel Proust's novel In Search of Lost Time and the philosophies of Henri Bergson, William James, and Gabriel Marcel. Central to the discussion is the phenomenon of involuntary memory, taken from common experience but "discovered" and made visible by Proust. Through the connection between a variety of themes from both Continental and American schools of thought such as Bergson's phenomenological account of the artist, James' "will to believe," and Marcel's "creative fidelity," the courageously vulnerable individual is shown to take seriously the ethical implications of the knowledge gained from involuntary memories and similar "privileged moments," and do justice to the "something more" which, though part of our experience of ourselves and others, escapes rigid philosophical analysis. More
An Unprecedented Deformation: Marcel Proust and the Sensible Ideas by Mauro Carbone (SUNY Series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy: State University of New York Press) French novelist Marcel Proust made famous "involuntary memory," a peculiar kind of memory that works whether one is willing or not and that gives a transformed recollection of past experience. More than a century later, the Proustian notion of involuntary memory has not been fully explored nor its implications understood. By providing clarifying examples taken from Proust's novel and by commenting on them using the work of French philosophers Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Gilles Deleuze, Italian philosopher Mauro Carbone interprets involuntary memory as the human faculty providing the involuntary creation of our ideas through the transformation of past experience. This rethinking of the traditional way of conceiving ideas and their genesis as separated from sensible experience--as has been done in Western thought since Plato--allows the author to promote a new theory of knowledge, one which is best exemplified via literature and art much more than philosophy. More
Encyclopedia of Aesthetics: 4-volume Set edited by Michael Kelly (Oxford University Press) many encyclopedias no matter how extensive or learned the articles, often leave the curious reader with a sense of flatness, to which there is no depth, no questions left unanswered. The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics however has avoided this pitfall. The articles are extensive, well-written and leave of this reader with a sense of engagement, even practical knowledge, so that I might listen to a piece of music with more perception, enjoy a painting in new ways, and even be so delighted as to hunt down some of the titles listed in the bibliographies at the end of the articles. This encyclopedia could and should enjoy a wide readership because it more than provides the scope of aesthetics today; it also invites readers into the participation and recognition of beauty.
Excerpt: Aesthetics is uniquely situated to serve as a meeting place for numerous academic disciplines and cultural traditions. While it is a single branch of philosophy concerned with art, aesthetics is also a part of other disciplines—such as art history, literary theory, law, sociology—that reflect equally, if differently, about art in its natural and cultural contexts. At the same time, aesthetics is an eighteenth-century European development that has not been duplicated anywhere else. Of course, all other cultures around the world have their own "art," and most also have traditions of reflecting philosophically about it. To the extent that they have developed such reflection, whatever they have chosen to call it, these cultures are engaged in a practice related to Western aesthetics. So aesthetics is, in academic terms, both singular and general, and, in cultural terms, both local and global. To capture these multiple dimensions, the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics has been created using a definition of aesthetics as "critical reflection on art, culture, and nature."
The purpose of this encyclopedia is to contribute to a discursive public sphere in which people representing the disciplines and traditions engaged in aesthetics will be able to articulate their perspectives on the field, thereby fostering dialogue and, where possible, constructing common ground without imposing consensus. To this end, the encyclopedia, which is the first English-language reference work on this scale devoted to aesthetics, offers a combination of historical reference material and critical discussions of contemporary aesthetics intended for general readers and experts alike.
HISTORY OF AESTHETICS
The term aesthetics is derived from the ancient Greek word aisthesis (also spelled aesthesis), which means perception or sensation. In its original usage, the word was related to perceptual or sensory knowledge, usually in contrast to conceptual or rational knowledge, but had little or no specific relevance to art. The initial lack of connection between aesthetics and art reflects the fact that, at the time, there was no word for what Westerners now regard as art; the Greek word for art, techne, is closer to the English word craft. Of course, the philosophy of art existed in Plato and Aristotle's age, just as there was Greek "art." Nevertheless, aesthetics did not become connected to art until the eighteenth century. Developments within art and philosophy—as well as within other disciplines concerned with art—account for the eventual link between aesthetics and art that is the historical subject of this encyclopedia.
From the classical era to the Middle Ages, reflection on art developed through the work of philosophers such as Augustine, Plotinus, Aquinas, and others. During the Renaissance, when art flourished in unparalleled ways, such reflection also experienced a revival as many classical aesthetic ideas were rediscovered and developed in new directions. What was most common during these periods, however, were treatises about individual arts, such as painting, music, or poetry, rather than any theory about art in general. There was also considerable discussion about whether it was possible to distinguish art from craft. Finally, when people wrote about the arts, they typically did so without philosophically analyzing the principles of criticism they were implicitly invoking. In short, aesthetics proper had not yet emerged.
All of this changed in the eighteenth century, mostly in France, Germany, and Great Britain. There was a historical coincidence between a new-found tendency on the part of writers to generalize about the arts and a heightened concern in philosophy for sensory knowledge independent of logical knowledge. The distinction of types of knowledge, inspired in part by the birth of modern science based on empiricism, introduced aesthetics into philosophy; but, following the lead of Alexander Baumgarten, aesthetics still had little to do with art. This was a strange development indeed in the inaugural century of aesthetics: those beginning to generalize about art did not use the term aesthetics, while those practicing aesthetics were not principally interested in art. It was not until Immanuel Kant's Critique of judgment (1790) that these two tendencies were systematically united, setting the agenda for aesthetics ever since.
Although this union was unquestionably an important step in the early and subsequent history of aesthetics, overemphasis on it tends to obscure an equally important dimension of this history, which is central to the rationale for the encyclopedia. Although it is true that aesthetics emerged in the eighteenth century within philosophy, this would not have been possible without developments in art and cultural criticism that had been evolving since at least the Renaissance. Critics—whether philosophers, poets, or writers—began writing about art in general rather than just about the individual arts. Some compared the different arts, as was the case in the "Ut pictura poesis" ("as a painting, so a poem") tradition, whereas others argued that each art form could be properly understood only on individual terms: painting is independent of poetry, which is independent of music, and so on. In its first century, aesthetics was thus marked by a fundamental philosophical disagreement about whether generalizing about art was an advancement in the understanding of the arts. It is this disagreement, rather than just the tendency toward generalizations, that separated Western aesthetics in the eighteenth century from its prior history as well as from other cultural traditions.
In that same period, the individual arts in Europe were becoming more accessible to the public than they had ever been before, for they were no longer so closely tied to religion and politics once the church and monarchy ceased being the exclusive patrons of the arts. There was, in short, a secularization and democratization of the arts and culture in the eighteenth century that contributed to the formation of a cultural public sphere. Criticism was the term most widely used to characterize discussions about the arts and culture; in fact, the term critique, which Kant transformed in his Critique of Pure Reason, began in part as the German translation of the English word criticism. This transformation marks the birth of aesthetics as a part of philosophy, but it also highlights the fact that philosophical aesthetics emerged out of a broader cultural context.
From its inception until the present, aesthetics has continued to be distinguished by both its philosophical and cultural roles, even though some theorists have at times at-tempted to restrict aesthetics to just one of its roles. Moreover, the fact that aesthetics has always had these dual roles has made the present encyclopedia both possible and necessary: possible, because the entries here could not have been written unless there were people in various disciplines outside of philosophy writing philosophically about art, culture, and nature; and necessary, because aesthetics remains incomplete if its cultural role is not developed. The goal of the Encyclopedia of Aesthetics is to trace the genealogy of aesthetics in such a way as to integrate these two roles.
The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics has been created, and may now be received, in a skeptical environment. It is important to address this skepticism here because it is based on a misconception of aesthetics that the encyclopedia aims to correct in an effort to revitalize the field.
Many people concerned with art and culture today seem to want to distance them-selves from aesthetics. Ask students or general readers what aesthetics is, and most will say that it has something to do with beauty (an impression reinforced by the colloquial use of aesthetic to mean "beautiful") and that it is a thing of the past. Artists, as a group, rarely express any more interest in aesthetics than Barnett Newman did when he remarked that aesthetics is for artists what ornithology is for birds. Art historians and anthropologists typically do not identify with aesthetics either, unless their research involves art created in periods when aesthetics was still considered relevant. Finally, others involved with con-temporary art—critics, legal theorists, sociologists—also do not generally see themselves as concerned with aesthetics, since they regard it as part of philosophy rather than of their own fields.
Why do these diverse groups of people distance themselves from aesthetics, even though they all are involved with art and culture? What they typically object to is the idea that art can be understood according to a set of universal principles about its immutable properties; the term aesthetics suggests this idea to them. It is seen as a branch of philosophy that effectively died once modern art began to challenge the classical view of art as the imitation, often in the guise of beauty, of the universal qualities of nature or reality. So aesthetics is thereby relegated to the history of art and philosophy prior to modernism.
Ask contemporary aestheticians what they do, however, and they are likely to respond that aesthetics is the philosophical analysis of the beliefs, concepts, and theories implicit in the creation, experience, interpretation, or critique of art. It would be unusual for them to include beauty as one of their major research topics; they talk more often about the problems of meaning or representation in connection with works of art. Moreover, most aestheticians—both analytic (Anglo-American) and continental (European, exclusive of Great Britain) alike—would agree that there are no universal properties of art and that art can be defined, if at all, only in historical (if still philosophical) terms. In fact, both analytic and continental aesthetics in the last fifty years have been dominated by anti-essentialism: the view either that art has no essence or that it is impossible for us to ascertain what its essence is. This means that nearly all contemporary aestheticians are equally critical of the idea of aesthetics that is rejected by nonphilosophers.
Moreover, not only is it a misconception to identify contemporary aesthetics with the universalist idea of aesthetics, the history of aesthetics is replete with critiques of that same idea and alternatives to it. These critiques were evident even in the eighteenth century. For example, although there was considerable discussion of beauty at that time, aesthetics emerged only once beauty lost its status as an objective or transcendental property, which it virtually had since Plato. Modern philosophers argued that beauty is not a property of objects (e.g., works of art) experienced or judged as beautiful; rather, it is a relational property between subjects and objects. So aesthetics began, in part, with the following problem: How is it possible to speak with any objectivity about matters of taste if beauty is subjective? The question of the universality of taste arose in this same context. Whereas some philosophers argued that taste is universal despite being subjective, others were doubtful that universality was possible again after the subjective turn in our understanding of beauty. This debate was not resolved at the time, nor has it been since. This means, however, that the conventional view of aesthetics held by its critics (and some of its sup-porters) is as imprecise relative to the history of aesthetics as it is to its present state. So the skepticism about aesthetics is best addressed by reevaluating the meaning and history of aesthetics; such reevaluation is what this encyclopedia offers.
There is also a prevailing skepticism today about encyclopedias that should be`discussed here as well. One of the marks of our present age, which is typically characterized as postmodern, is a skepticism toward any claims about philosophical systems or historical grand narratives (i.e., ones that emphasize the unity and ultimate goal of historical development). Many people today believe that, in principle, such systems are incomplete and all historical narratives impose a false unity while they exclude certain cultures' perspectives. In the interest of pluralism, we are encouraged to abandon any and all systems and narratives. The publication of an encyclopedia, especially one that gives philosophy a central role, may seem to violate these postmodern injunctions, though only if it is thought to venture a narrative or system of aesthetics. Because of this attitude, it was even suggested that we exclude the word encyclopedia from the title of this work.
Our response to this skepticism was to incorporate the contemporary doubts about the encyclopedia into its very structure. This has been achieved in various ways, principally by including the following among the entries themselves: (1) critiques of aesthetics; (2) discussions of postmodernism; (3) composite (multi-article) entries so topics could be analyzed from several perspectives; and (4) representations of virtually all the disciplines involved with art and culture, even though people in these fields may not see themselves as being engaged in aesthetics. In none of these cases was any effort made to shape a system or a grand narrative of aesthetics. Efforts were made to be comprehensive, however, though here comprehensive means as complete a representation as possible of all the competing ideas about aesthetics.
GENERAL STRUCTURE OF THE ENCYCLOPEDIA
The encyclopedia includes more than six hundred essays, alphabetically arranged, on approximately four hundred individuals, concepts, periods, theories, issues, and movements in the history of aesthetics. The entries range from the most ancient aesthetic traditions around the world to the Greco-Roman era, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Modernism, and Postmodernism, up to the present. The central historical focus, however, is the genealogy of Western aesthetics from its inception in the early eighteenth century in Europe to the present. How was the Western understanding of art and culture transformed during that period? How has it developed since then? What is its present status? Specifically, how have key aesthetic concepts and issues—such as appropriation, autonomy, beauty, genius, iconology, ideology, metaphor, originality, semiotics, sexuality, taste, and truth—evolved?
The entries in the encyclopedia have been written by more than five hundred philosophers, art historians, literary theorists, psychologists, feminist theorists, legal theorists, sociologists, anthropologists, and others who reflect critically on art, culture, and nature. The range of contributors is important because of the interdisciplinary nature of aesthetics, both now and throughout its history. For example, one cannot understand Romanticism and appreciate its aesthetic significance without studying what it means in philosophical and literary terms as well as how it manifested itself differently in the visual arts and in music. There are numerous topics of such conceptual or historical complexity in the encyclopedia that can be fully understood only if they are approached through multiple disciplines.
The goal, however, is not to impose or legitimate any single discipline's way of under-standing aesthetics. Philosophy, for example, certainly occupies a central position in the encyclopedia; its important task is to clarify the terms, principles, concepts, and theories employed by the disciplines (including philosophy) engaged in aesthetics. But philosophy is also just one of many disciplines, evidenced by the fact that a majority of the encyclopedia entries were written by nonphilosophers. Moreover, the purpose of the work is not to resolve the differences among the various disciplines; rather, it is to provide, as a good encyclopedia should, a comprehensive catalog of what these differences are, how they originated, what the disciplines may have in common, and what is at stake in the conflicting views contributors espouse. Our aim has been to provide as much reliable information as we could assemble so that readers can make informed decisions about how best to understand "Beauty," the "Origins of Aesthetics," "Popular Culture," the "Comparative Aesthetics" of the African and Western traditions, "Kant," or any of the other topics included in the encyclopedia.
At every moment of its history, aesthetics has been related in complementary and critical ways to the art of its timen So there is considerable discussion in the encyclopedia of major art periods (e.g., the Renaissance), movements (Modernism), and issues (perspective) in the history of art. Such discussions range from Greco-Roman, Baroque, or Impressionist art to the most contemporary art forms, such as conceptual, installation, or performance art. The focus in these entries is both historical and theoretical so readers will understand what is unique about each art-historical issue and how it has influenced aesthetic theory.
While the aesthetic history and art periodization utilized here are largely Western, comparisons are made throughout the encyclopedia with non-Western art forms and their distinct aesthetic traditions. Such comparisons are made in two ways: (1) by having overview essays on each of these traditions (e.g., Chinese, Indian, Islamic, Latin American) and, where possible, (2) by integrating non-Western perspectives into discussions of central aesthetic concepts, principles, and issues (e.g., Japanese appreciation of nature). The first measure helps readers to understand these other traditions, which in some cases have greatly influenced their Western counterparts or have been shaped by them. The second measure is important so that non-Western ideas of aesthetics are not isolated from their Western counterparts. The two practices combined serve, in effect, to historicize the tradition of Western aesthetics by demonstrating that it is, after all, just one of many traditions.
The emphasis in the entries on key figures (e.g., Plato, Kant, Heidegger) is theoretical rather than biographical. The contributors explain the subjects' ideas about aesthetics, while clarifying the historical and conceptual contexts for these ideas. References to clarify these contexts are provided in the bibliographies, along with biographical titles, where possible. In addition to the lengthy entries on major thinkers, there are short (five-hundred-word) entries on some significant but lesser-known figures (e.g., Charles Batteux and Moses Mendelssohn). The aim here is to paint a comprehensive picture of the historical background of modern and contemporary aesthetics.
Coverage of many central individuals and concepts in aesthetics and most major art forms (e.g., architecture, dance, photography) has been arranged in composite entries, that is, several separate articles arranged under one headword. The rationale for this type of entry is to give voice to: (1) extensive histories of a specific topic (e.g., beauty or landscape) too broad to be handled by one contributor; (2) independent philosophical views of a single central issue (e.g., metaphor or autonomy); (3) individual perspectives on a topic (e.g., historicism) that is important in each of several disciplines (e.g., aesthetics, art
history, literary theory); (4) several accounts of an activity (e.g., criticism) that is practiced differently in the particular arts (e.g., music, art, dance); (5) individuals (e.g., Kant) who are central in the history of aesthetics because of their influential accounts of key aesthetic concepts; and (6) other cases where there are significantly diverse aspects or ac-counts of a single aesthetic issue.
Each composite entry combines conceptual and historical overviews with in-depth analyses of particular issues or ideas. For example, the entry on Immanuel Kant begins with an overview essay explaining who Kant was, what he wrote, and what he wrote particularly on aesthetics. This is followed by essays on Kant's concepts of beauty, the sub-lime, and nature; a brief history of Kantian aesthetics; essays on Kant's reception in art history, on the hermeneutic reading of Kant, and on the feminist critique of Kant; and, finally, an essay on the connection between Kant and Marcel Duchamp in terms of the concept of judgment. The combined essays offer a wide range of interpretations to the general reader and allow those possessing more advanced understanding to pursue the finer points of aesthetics. The contributors of articles in these entries were not asked to discuss each others' work directly; rather, they were invited to articulate their own positions on the selected issues as clearly and forcefully as possible, knowing that other points of view would be similarly represented in the same entry. (Such representation of diverse perspectives on key issues in aesthetics is what I have referred to as a discursive public sphere.)
CRITERIA FOR THE INCLUSION OF ENTRIES
Topics were chosen according to the following general criteria: (1) philosophical or critical significance in the histories of aesthetics, art, or fields related to aesthetics or art; (2) relevance to contemporary aesthetics; and (3) historical or contemporary importance in non-Western cultures. In the entries devoted to particular cultural traditions (e.g., Islamic, Latin American), the contributors were asked to address the following questions: What difference do their sovereign cultural histories make to their conceptions of aesthetics in comparison to their Western counterparts? Do they have unique ways of thinking about aesthetics as well as original art? Does their critical reflection on art and culture provide evidence of a universal aesthetic or, on the contrary, does it confirm the radical historicist's claim that aesthetics, like art, is fundamentally different in each culture?
The topics of the composite entries were selected (1) because of their significance in the history of aesthetics, or (2) because of ongoing debates among experts in the relevant specialties who represent diverse disciplinary, philosophical, or cultural perspectives. The aim of this structure is to achieve with these entries the comprehensiveness one expects from encyclopedia entries, but also to make the rich variety of ideas about individual aesthetic topics more accessible to one another.
With these criteria in mind, the encyclopedia has aimed to have historical depth and representative breadth to encompass (1) the key centuries (eighteenth to twentieth) and countries (Germany, France, Great Britain, United States) in the history of Western aesthetics; (2) the different disciplinary perspectives (e.g., philosophy, art history, law, sociology) on the key topics; (3) the various cultures (e.g., African, Indian, Latin American) that have a history of thinking critically on their "art" and culture without necessarily calling such thinking "aesthetics"; (4) many of the arts, traditional and new, that have had a defining impact on aesthetics; (5) various historical and contemporary critiques of aesthetics (e.g., Romanticism, hermeneutics, anti-essentialism, feminism); and (6) the few disciplines that have emerged, in part, as the result of critiques of aesthetics (e.g., cultural studies).
There are undoubtedly some missing topics, and there are several reasons for this. In some instances we planned an entry but either could not find a suitable contributor or the contributor was not able to respond in a timely fashion; we considered some additional entries but decided in the end that they were not appropriate, given the overall goals of the encyclopedia; finally, despite all our efforts to be inclusive and thorough, we regrettably have overlooked certain possible entries. Every encyclopedia has its limitations when it comes to the list of entries; for, as critics are likely to point out, the categorization of entries in an encyclopedia is arbitrary. But the choices and ordering of categories can be intelligible and reasonable nonetheless. We have tried to be comprehensive without being systematic, and we have stated the criteria for the selection of entries as clearly as possible so that readers will know how and why we have made the choices embodied in the encyclopedia. Readers are asked to remember that the encyclopedia is intended as the beginning rather than the end of critical discussion about the genealogy and contemporary practice of aesthetics within philosophy and related disciplines.
Entries are alphabetically arranged, strictly letter by letter. In order to explain the structure and content of the composite entries, each of them begins with an editorial headnote. Brief headnotes are also occasionally present in cases where the entry comprises a single essay (e.g., "Gaze," "Theory, History of") to clarify the topic or offer a rationale for its inclusion for the general reader.
In order to maximize the interconnections among the entries and to guide the reader to related discussion, numerous cross-references have been included throughout the work. These are located within individual articles (mostly at the end of the discussion) as well as in the headnotes to the composite entries. In addition, within the alphabetical order of headwords, there are numerous "blind entries" that provide cross-references to the articles where the subject is discussed. Blind entries are used for alternate spellings and synonyms (e.g., "Ekphrasis. See Ecphrasis"; "Cinema. See Film") as well as in cases where in-stead of an independent entry devoted to a subject, there is a significant discussion within another article ("Boas, Franz. See Anthropology and Aesthetics") or, for broad topics (e.g., painting), spread among several articles. The comprehensive index at the end of volume 4 provides additional connections among the topics and disciplines for readers interested in further research.
The illustration program is modest if it is compared to art reference works, but generous if compared to reference works in philosophy, which typically have few or no images. We have tried to strike a balance between these extremes. While we could not possibly offer a complete representation of the history of art because this is an encyclopedia of aesthetics, we wanted to make it clear that aesthetics is intimately related to the history of art. At the same time, it is important that we have some imagery so that it does not seem that words are taking the place of art. The relationship between aesthetics and art is a very sensitive issue within aesthetics, as it assuredly is for those who criticize aesthetics for being iconoclastic. The presence of some images here makes it clear that this relationship is open-ended: aesthetic theory is always responding to art rather than supplanting it. The illustrations are also intended to reflect a wide spectrum of different art traditions and cultures (e.g., African, Pre-Columbian, Indian), as well as the historical depth (e.g., Greek, Modern), stylistic breadth (e.g., Gothic, Surrealist), and diversity of art mediums (e.g., sculpture, film) within art.
Parkett #63: Collaborations Tracey Emin, William Kentridge, Gregor Schneider (Parkett Publishing) This German and English annual showcases current artists work with a consistency that has set a standred among galleries and collectors. Presenting unique and in-depth collaborations and editions with leading contemporary artists, Parkett has been the foremost international journal on contemporary art for nearly two decades. Issue #63 features collaborations with Tracey Emin, William Kentridge, and Gregor Schneider, three artists whose highly personal works affect viewers in an evocative manner, yet through strikingly different means. Emin bares her soul from the inside out, in her confessional multimedia photographs, drawings, videos, and installations. Kentridge's highly-charged films, drawings, sculptures, and theatrical productions analyze the history of his native South Africa and the implications and legacy of apartheid. And finally, Schneider's inside-out abodes turn the seemingly cozy and reassuring context of "home" into a haunting maze of opened and closed rooms, claustrophobic corridors and tunnels, and impenetrable windows and doors. Each of these artists draws us into their private worlds, diminishing the boundaries between artist and audience.
Parkett #64: Collaborations: Olafur Eliasson, Tom Friedman, Rodney Graham (Parkett Publishing) features collaborations with Olafur Eliasson (Denmark), Tom Friedman (United States), and Rodney Graham (Canada), three artists whose investigations of the seemingly mundane draw viewers into their imaginative musings on everyday life. Olafur Eliasson makes ambitious indoor and outdoor projects that incorporate ephemeral and elemental materials such as water, fire, ice, light, and wind, and also documents these elements and their effects on land and nature in his photographs of Iceland . Tom Friedman uses common everyday materials in his intensely-crafted sculptures and objects, imaginatively transforming "fugitive materials" into sly commentaries and investigations of the meditative and contemplative aspects of the household object. Rodney Graham's videos, photographs, and audio works incorporate repetition and a Chaplin-esque deadpan humor as a means of commenting on and philosophizing about life and its many foibles. Each of these artists takes conceptual art to a new level and gives us an alternative view on the often-overlooked small wonders of day-to-day life. For the issue, contributing writers include Ina Blom and Jessica Morgan on Eliasson; Dan Cameron, John Waters, and Midori Matsui on Friedman; and Lynne Cooke and Matthew Hale on Graham. Also in this issue, noted novelist A.M. Homes interviews artist and photographer Chris Verene, Hakan Nilsson explores the video work of Swedish artist Annika Larson, Christine Vegh writes on Czech artist Markéta Othova, and Veronique d'Anzac writes about the French multi-media artist Xavier Veilhan. Plus, the issue features a special "Parkett Inquiry: Learning from Documenta?" Parkett editors asked museum curators and directors and art professionals around the globe to respond to the current state of museums, exhibition policies, outreach, and other relevant topics related to presenting a successful exhibition of contemporary art.
The Shape of a Pocket by John Berger (Pantheon) The pocket in question is a small pocket of resistance. A pocket is formed when two or more people come together in agreement. The resistance is against the inhumanity of the new world economic order. The people coming together are the reader, me and those the essays are about — Rembrandt, Palaeolithic cave painters, a Romanian peasant, ancient Egyptians, an expert in the loneliness of certain hotel bedrooms, dogs at dusk, a man in a radio station. And unexpectedly, our exchanges strengthen each of us in our conviction that what is happening to the world today is wrong, and that what is often said about it is a lie. I’ve never written a book with a greater sense of urgency. —John Berger
Selected Essays by John Berger, edited by Geoff Dyer (Pantheon)
On the occasion of his seventyfith birthday, Pantheon is publishing
a gathering of John Berger's most insightful and provocative
writings on art over the past forty years.
Selected Essays brings together a comprehensive array of writings from Berger's previous collections: Toward Reality, The Moment of Cubism, The Look of Things, About Looking, The Sense of Sight, and Keeping a Rendezvous. From Piero to Pollock, from Kokoschka to La Tour, from mass demonstrations to museums–the ideas in these essays are as fresh and compelling as they were when first published. Polemical, meditative, radical, always original, they display a remarkable continuity of thoughtful inquiry and political engagement.
Ways of Seeing by John Berger (Viking Press) What do we see when we look? What makes us look in the first place? This book from the 1970s is a classic about what makes art and what attracts the eye. It has become a bit outdated, as others have noted -- it is almost 30 years old. The typography dates the book. Perhaps it is time for a second edition? The book was based on a BBC TV series. I can't recall if it had been shown here in the US . Regardless, it's time for a rerun.
Writers on Artists: A collection of Great Writing on Art by Some of the World’s Leading Novelists, Poets, Critics, and Artiists from the Pages of Modern Painters Magazine (DK) Featuring 50 of the century's greatest artists, Writers on Artists brings together the best and brightest of the art and literary worlds. Covering the gamut of modern art the collection includes essays by David Bowie on Tracey Emin, A.S. Byatt on Patrick Heron, David Hockney on Picasso, Sister Wendy Beckett on Salvador Dali, and Julian Barnes on Edgar Degas. This stimulating anthology features rare interviews and over 350 stunning full-color reproductions of many rarely seen works.
This work is especially strong on the lustrous cast of writers, struggling to make sense of modern art, framed with colorful illustrations. Recommended.
The Natural Order and Other Texts: Reconstructing Philosophy from the Artist's Viewpoint by Asger Jorn, translated by Peter Shield (Ashgate Translations in Philosophy, Theology and Religion: Ashgate) International recognition and economic success came to the Danish artist Asger Jorn towards the end of the fifties. Yet in 1961, at the age of 47, he cut down on his artistic activities and began what he called `the first complete revision of the existing philosophical system'. This was not his first attempt at theoretical work. In the late forties he had spent much time putting together a comprehensive `organic' theory of art which reconciled his materialist and monist beliefs with his spontaneous, primitive approach to art. Although this work ran to hundreds of pages of manuscript and typescript, the resultant book was not published until 1971. Jorn's polemic with the Swiss architect Max Bill about the resurrection of Bauhaus ideals in the mid‑fifties also led to a series of articles collected in the book Pour la forme in 1957. Here the main point of contention was whether the craft ideals or those of artists like Klee and Kandinsky had been the primus motor of the original movement. Bill's attitude that the artists had only an instrumental role in relation to the main craft purpose of the Bauhaus particularly infuriated Jorn.
Ironically, Jorn entered into the same situation in 1957 when he become a co-founder and strong influence on the Situationniste Internationale (SI) with Guy Debord. Jorn had been attracted to the SI by its attitudes to the increasing sterility of the urban environment and the oppression of political and economic systems. At this early stage, the SI was offering techniques rather than extreme solutions, for example, various aspects of `play', such as the derive, a purposeless but intense drift through urban situations, and the detournement, the subversion of pre‑existent aesthetic elements for propaganda purposes. The re‑establishment of contact with the newer Parisian currents through Debord, who was 17 years younger, was one of Jorn's initial motives for approaching him. However, Debord could not accept Jorn's belief that the activity of the artist had its own rules and legitimacy which could not be subordinated to the demands of revolutionary theory. After some three years, about the time he usually spent with the groupings he created or joined, Jorn amicably disengaged himself from the SI.
This break with the SI appears to have had two effects. Jorn turned back to some favourite Scandinavian projects and he undertook an audit of the contradictions in his life and evolved a philosophical approach to accommodate them. To provide an organization for both these activities, Jorn founded a Scandinavian Institute for Comparative Vandalism (SISV, from its Danish initials). The various strands of Jorn's life, his upbringing in a strict Protestant sect with its abhorrence of all things Catholic, the liberal Christian Scandinavianism of his years of higher education, a hypercritical view of the Marxism to which he was initially committed, the action of the national in or against the international, the imperatives of an artistic life, the complications of his relations with women, and many other aspects, are all examined both instinctively and in the light of the incredible amount of theoretical reading Jorn got through in this short period (1961‑1964). When the SISV was wound up, his library of some 1,600 books was deposited at the Silkeborg Art Museum , and there one can judge the effect of various thinkers from the amount of marginal notes and underlinings, some almost obliterating the original text.
In 1961 in Paris , Jorn had also been made a member of the College of Pataphysics , a spoof academic organization with elaborate nonsense titles for its members. Pataphysics was invented and defined by Alfred Jarry as `the science of imaginary solutions'. Jorn, whilst thoroughly enjoying the jokes and anti‑establishment pranks, realized that `an imaginary solution' was also a definition of the art work, and the idea of a `science' to cover this became incorporated into his thinking.
Jorn's deliberations were published in five paperback `Reports from the Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism '. The first volume, The Natural Order (1962), merged insights from the Copenhagen Interpretation of the theory of complementarity and Marxian dialectical materialism into what Jorn called triolectics. In the unresolved Heraclitan flux of ideas there is nevertheless structure, a way the human brain naturally organizes thought. Jorn's attempt to uncover this `natural order' reveals a great philosophical image: a chaosmos of radiant triolectic or tridialectical conceptual domains bursting from points upon the rays from other domains, and radiating in turn ever outwards from the centre, whilst others, losing brilliance or relevance, shrink back into points. It is a major part of Jorn's thesis that this is a particularly Scandinavian way of thinking. The second volume, Value and Economy (1962), utilizes for its first section an earlier critique of Marxian economics that also postulates a category of artistic value, whilst the second part outlines the necessary conditions for a `creative elite' to take over from the current power elite. Luck and Chance from 1953, furnished with a new long introduction, places Jorn's ideas about `extreme aesthetics' in this context. By 1963‑64, Jorn had gathered together a large mass of material intended originally to form one more book. This was impracticable because of its size and he abstracted one volume, Thing and Polis, from it, dealing mainly with an attempt to define the Danish national culture. This volume is the nearest that torn comes to direct Situationist detournement in his writing, as 50% of it consists of extended quotations from Danish authors, one of them with the paragraphs drastically rearranged. He then prepared Alpha and Omega to proof stage from the rest. This fifth volume dealt mainly with Jorn's highly imaginative creation myth, mixing science and mythology, and a number of miscellaneous subjects. Perhaps because it also reveals his current deep misogyny and a certain exasperation, it was only published posthumously. In 1966, a German translation and revision of The Natural Order and Luck and Chance in one volume incorporated yet more material without, however, substantially altering or adding to Jorn's thought.
The greatest difficulty with all of Jorn's texts is finding a consistent line, for he was a willful and willing transgressor of any accepted mode of thinking. He wrote as he thought, darting off into bye‑ways, pausing to savor an alliteration or an irony, drawing in analogies and analyses from all sides and quoting sources appositely and arbitrarily in equal measure, before then shooting off in a completely new direction. He lectures his readers on elementary philosophical or scientific points and then leaps without explanation into the most complex speculations about esoteric subjects. He transgresses the boundaries of any discipline, seeing no reason not to use the methods of one upon the material of another. He finds logical analysis and artistic vision equally I suited to his purposes and switches from one to another in mid‑argument. His method is thus neither that of the scientific enquirer nor of the philosopher but of the thinker artist. His own position on all this, `Rather a tangled and chaotic truth than a four‑square, beautiful, symmetrical and finely chiselled lie', could just as well have been applied to his approach to painting.
Why did Jorn take all this trouble to develop these theories? He himself states that they are a kind of catharsis so that he could get on with his artistic work. However, there is a strong didactic tone in much of the theorizing, and an exasperation about the lack of response, which suggests that it was as much directed externally as internally. Perhaps it was therefore an overarching project, an imaginary solution even, an attempt to create a world in which his works of art and, indeed, his life as an artist would be part of the natural order.
Here Jorn proposes a marriage between Marxian dialectics and the wider philosophical implications of the theory ofcomplementarity. He approaches this through a not always apparent critique of a popular English science book by Werner Heisenberg, in language that apes him to the extent that it is difficult to know whether we have Heisenberg in translation, paraphrase or Jorn's own exegesis. As almost always with Jorn, the text gives the impression of having been written at great speed, with a fair amount of redundancy and overuse of particular words. The translator has added, in an appendix, some diagrams from a slighter later work which elaborate the graphic representation of the triolectic concept. Jorn also used some of them in the 1966 edited German translation of The Natural Order in Gedanken eines Kfinstlers. Except for those in the appendix, all the diagrams are facsimiles of Jom's originals.
Value and Economy consists of two unequal parts. The first is a concise critique of apparent contradictions in Das Kapital which Jorn uses to prepare the ground for a discussion of how the work of `the creative elite' can have `value' in any future society aligned on communist principles. This was originally published in French by the Situationniste Internationale in 1959 and is the most straightforward and least discursive of all Jorn's texts, probably because Guy Debord had a hand in the editing. It may therefore seem a little perverse to translate the later Danish version to English, but Jorn, in his usual manner, intervened again and made small adjustments and additions and added a new final chapter, which aligned it to the second part.
Part 2 is three times as long and goes through a long polemic against contemporaneous Russian revisionism and the failed attempt by Denmark and Britain to join the Common Market, before coming to Jorn's main proposal, an economically independent international `creative elite' adopting typical Scandinavian institutions to realize `artistic value' for the greater universal good. He also attempts to reconcile the unique and individual position of the `creative elite' with his socialist principles. Here, the asides from the point of view of `one' or `we', when Jom is discussing `the intelligentsia' or `the creative elite', seem to be unconscious switches between objective and subjective modes. In contrast to the first part, this section appears to have been written hastily and rushed into print. Rather than make a polished translation here, I have attempted to reproduce the awkward immediacy of the original.
The first edition of Luck and Chance was Jorn's first published book, issued privately to subscribers in 1952. It was written during his convalescence from a serious attack of tuberculosis aggravated by malnutrition and scurvy, as his encounter with the possibility of death spurred him to a reckoning with his aesthetic ideas. Later in the process, it also became intended as a doctoral dissertation. As the reader will discover, this was doomed from the start, as the text is anything but academically oriented. Nevertheless, the professor of philosophy at Copenhagen University , Bent Schultzer, received it sympathetically and with some insight. `The book is well‑written and witness to talent. Note, however, that I am using a word which it is more reasonable to use in the characterization of a work of art than in the evaluation of scientific work. You seem to me to be an artist, a splendid artist, but are you a scientist? You answer this question yourself on p. 93 of part 2 and I am afraid that I have to agree with your answer. The strength and weakness of the book is precisely that you are completely unfamiliar with (or disregard) scientific method.'* However, he was willing to forward it to the philosophy faculty if Jorn so wished, but after a friendly exchange of letters, this project was dropped.
There is an inclination towards thinking in triads, though nothing like as systematic as a decade later. Therefore, when he re‑issued Luck and Chance as the third of his SISV reports, Jorn added a substantial new introduction and several small insertions, clearly marked in the text, but left the original text untouched, except to omit the final chapter. The introduction reconciles the discussion of extreme aesthetics in the book to an aesthetic triolectic of the beautiful, the sublime, the extreme.
During his convalescence at Silkeborg Sanatorium, Jorn had read extensively, particularly in Kierkegaard, and Luck and Chance is, amongst other things, a critique of this philosopher's triad of aesthetic, ethical and religious stages, and of his definition of truth. Another powerful influence appears to be present in ghostly form, for Jorn hardly mentions him. Nietzschean ideas are treated with distaste throughout the book, although the frequent passage in italics, the wordplay and the exclamatory tone of some parts demonstrate a certain emulation, as do the descriptions of national characteristics (French, German, English), which are reminiscent of parts of Beyond Good and Evil. Perhaps the biggest gift of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to Jorn was, however, the perception that a philosophy could be founded on aesthetic premises.
Aesthetic Subjects edited by Pamela R. Matthews, David McWhirter (University of Minnesota Press) (Hardcover) Recent calls for a return to aesthetics occur precisely at a moment when it is increasingly evident that nothing concerning aesthetics is self-evident anymore. Determined to recover the value of aesthetic experience for artistic, cultural, and social analysis, the contributors to this volume-prominent scholars in literature, philosophy, art history, architecture, history, and anthropology-begin from a shared recognition that ideological readings of the aesthetic have provided invaluable insights, in particular, that analyses of aesthetics within historical and social contexts tell us a great deal about the experience of aesthetic encounters.
From multiple and complementary perspectives, the contributors address topics as varied as Nabokov and Dickens, Caravaggio and Shelley Winters, gender and sexuality, advertising and AIDS. Taken together, their essays constitute a sustained and multifarious effort to resituate aesthetic pleasure in the mixed, impure conditions characteristic of every social practice and experience, however privileged or marginalized, and to ask what happens to the aesthetic if we consider it apart from-or at least in tension with-its historically dominant discursive formulations. As such, this volume establishes a renewed sense of aesthetic discourse and its usefulness as a tool for understanding culture.
Contributors: Leo Bersani, U of California, Berkeley; Susan Bordo, U of Kentucky; Bill Brown, U of Chicago; Beatriz Colomina, Princeton U; Ulysse Dutoit, U of California, Berkeley; Lee Edelman, Tufts U; Maureen Harkin, Reed College; Howard Horwitz, U of Utah; Audrey Jaffe, U of California, Santa Cruz; Martin Jay, U of California, Berkeley; Kay Bea Jones, Ohio State U; Robert Kaufman, Stanford U; Alphonso Lingis, Pennsylvania State U; Joseph Litvak, Tufts U; Douglas Mao, Cornell U; Barbara Stafford, U of Chicago; Kathleen Stewart, U of Texas; Kathryn Bond Stockton, U of Utah; Judith Stoddart, Michigan State U; Michael Taussig, Columbia U. Pamela R. Matthews and David McWhirter are associate professors of English at Texas A&M University.
Excerpt: "In that which is called philosophy of art, usually one thing is missing: either Philosophy or Art." Schlegel's remark, intended by Adorno as the epigraph for his Aesthetic Theory, suggests how our commitment to re-situating aesthetics involves a willingness to disturb the term's comfort-able reference to a well-defined strand of traditional philosophical discourse. The essays collected in Part I, "Locating Aesthetic Experience: Sites, Situations, Discourses," offer multidisciplinary perspectives on the "places" one might look for understanding aesthetic experience.
Those places are sometimes the symbolic spaces of intellectual inquiry inviting us to look again at the relationship between aesthetic experience and the work of art. Martin Jay, for example, in "Drifting into Dangerous Waters," cautions against separating aesthetic experience from the work of art. Jay calls for a revised account of aesthetics that respects the distinction between artwork and lifeworld and recognizes subjects and objects as irreducible to—but not isolated from—one another. Enacting the very confusion of art and life that worries Jay, Alphonso Lingis in "Armed Assault" finds the space formed at the intersection of unlikely aesthetic subjects (two prisoners and lovers, middle-aged junkies, one a transvestite, both HIV-positive, one already sick with AIDS) and the aesthetically aware scholarly account that foregrounds those subjects a productive site for exploring aesthetic experience. In the process, he radically redefines prevailing concepts of beauty and sublimity. The space Kay Bea Jones considers in "Reinventing the Wall" is the more literally apprehended material space of several structures designed (and, less often, built) by architect Zaha Hadid. Hadid's conceptually porous walls serve as metaphor for an architecture that questions notions of demarcated space by merging inside with outside, building with site, urban setting with the world beyond it—even abstract design with built object. Jones finds in Hadid's liberated spaces (as well as in her implicit challenges to a masculine architectural status quo) an example of a "well-ordered," yet flexible and indeterminate, postmodern world.
In Judith Stoddart's "Pleasures Incarnate," the space for productive inquiry into aesthetics is not contemporary architectural space but the ideological space of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century institutions: museums, exhibitions, the bodies of viewers, and the sentimental as a conceptual tool. Working to recover a chapter of art history judged aesthetically wanting by the standards of a privileged modernism, Stoddart reminds us of Pierre Bourdieu's dictum that there is no "natural" response to art, only particular cultural competencies shaped by powerful but contingent institutions. In "Caravaggio's Secrets," Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit suggest, moreover, that categories such as aesthetic value remain unstable because aesthetic experience is the name we give to a fundamentally enigmatic desire. Bersani and Dutoit read through and beyond the erotic solicitations of Caravaggio's paintings, arguing that the aesthetic is not the royal road to the "secret" of the unconscious, or to a concealed interiority. Rather, and more radically, it opens on a disseminated and "unmappable extensibility of being" that may be incompatible with both sexuality and life itself.
Does the aesthetic necessarily promote, create, or partake of justice? Finding the experience of aesthetics in what once might have been seen as all the wrong places, the authors of the five essays in Part II, "Aesthetics in Social Contexts: Economies and Ethics," explore the ways in which the aesthetic is bound up with ethical and political questions, especially the ethics of representation. In considering such questions, and by at-tending to individuals and groups of people usually left out of discussions of aesthetics, these authors understand that there's no such thing as "just aesthetics": what once could be regarded as pure aesthetic experience cannot be recovered so easily after the insights of ideological critiques have demonstrated the complex play of power relations in that experience. At the same time, representation is an ethical problematic: depending as it does upon the absence of the represented, representation always distorts its own attempt at representativeness. That is, in speaking for those marginalized by and in the history of taste, the contributors to Part II know that in the effort to represent, justice may be undercut as much as served. The origins of aesthetics in the body, these essays suggest, has become a more complicated issue than one of sensation versus conception; bodies are difficult to represent justly. For Susan Bordo in "The Moral Content of Nabokov's Lolita," textual and visual representations of Lolita by Nabokov (1955), Kubrick (1962), and Lyne (1998) help us read cultural shifts in attitudes toward the bodies of "girl-children." Arguing that what looks to be individual can be cultural (although not, importantly, universal), Bordo unmasks the larger theoretical issue Nabokov in particular helps her make: divorcing aesthetic pleasure from ethical consciousness is dangerous to actual people. Locating aesthetic and ethical considerations not in the body of Bordo's girl but rather in that of a mature woman, Joseph Litvak in "The Aesthetics of Jewishness" argues that the figure of actress Shelley Winters exemplifies a counteraesthetic of Jewish performance. As an actor in and against the aesthetic codes defining beauty, sexiness, and ridiculousness, Winters—by modeling "a Jewish mannerism of bad manners, a formalism of bad form—not just aesthetic vulgarity, but an aesthetics of vulgarity"—helps Litvak theorize ethnic identification and disidentification, and challenge reigning definitions of aesthetic pleasure.
Shifting the social context to eighteenth-century Europe , Maureen Harkin in "Theorizing Popular Practice in Eighteenth-Century Aesthetics" returns to the scene of the crime: the origins of aesthetics as a separate category of inquiry. Focusing on the now relatively unknown aesthetic theories of Lord Kames and Alexander Gerard, Harkin argues that the presence of disempowered or socially marginal figures (variously incarnated as foreigners, the young, the uneducated, and, especially, women and the lower classes) offers deviations from the standard of taste by introducing the disturbance of social diversity into a discourse otherwise invested in managing difference in an emerging bourgeois culture. Human beauty is messier than the beauty of art or nature, Douglas Mao observes in "The Labor Theory of Beauty," in part because the incommensurability between "comeliness" and moral goodness questions the traditional assumption of an unproblematic link between ethics and aesthetics. Reminding us that aesthetics began, in Kant and others, as a discourse of the body, Mao discerns in today's beauty industry—plastic surgery, cosmetics, and gym culture, for example—the signs of an effort to reconnect the rewards of beauty with labor.
In "Sinthomosexuality," Lee Edelman turns to queer theory and practice to situate ethical choices within economies of aesthetics and sexual desire. Through Dickens's A Christmas Carol and George Eliot's Silas Marner in particular, Edelman reads gay sexuality as the Lacanian sinthome (the "irreducible" symptom of jouissance). The displaced figure for the antithesis of aesthetic idealization, the homosexual, Edelman argues, has an ethical imperative to resist the lure of aesthetic sublimation and to embody its very opposite, thus opening a space of internal resistance to heterosexual culture's destructive fetishization of "futurity" in the figure of the child. Here, as in the other essays in Part II, what once might have seemed a given—a natural conjunction between the beautiful and the good—has become a much more vexed question of the complex relationship between ethics and aesthetics.
The four essays gathered in Part III, "Aesthetic Subjects: Bodies, Minds, Identities," explore the varied implications of aesthetics for understanding the nature, formation, and instantiation of selves and identities. Does aesthetic experience reveal—or perhaps produce—the subject in ways not duplicated by other modes of experience? And if aesthetics does offer privileged or unique access to the subject, what kind of subject are we talking about? A Kantian subject, at once individual and universal? A Freudian subject of unconscious desires? A Foucauldian self-regulating subject, simultaneously autonomous and subject to repressive law? A decentered postmodern subject with no illusions about individual agency? If, as many have argued, aesthetics from Kant onward has always been concerned fundamentally with the relation between the perceptive or receptive subject and the object—what Eagleton calls the "drama of subject and object" whose "couplings and splittings, matchings and misalliances, have so consistently dominated the modern philosophical stage""—in what ways and to what extent does the aesthetic encounter still work to constitute a self, however we might define it?
Barbara Maria Stafford's subject is constituted through, and explanatory of, what she calls "The Combinatorial Aesthetics of Neurobiology." If understanding itself occurs when disparate things are compelled to converge, the imaging arts have much to contribute to the study of human consciousness in fields as disparate as analytic philosophy, cognitive science, computer programming, and neurobiology. The "sophisticated workings" of analogy, according to Stafford , offer no less than a visual rhetoric for constructing and understanding selfhood.
In "Cloth Wounds," Kathryn Bond Stockton focuses on a "queer aesthetics of debasement"—what she calls the "divine humiliation" of a devotion to cloth and clothing—as a means of exploring the constitution of queer identities. Constellating Freud and Bataille with texts by Radclyffe Hall, Leslie Feinberg, and Jean Genet, Stockton traces a trope of "sartorial sacrifice" in which clothing emerges as the fabric that fosters group fantasy and sets the group apart in an aestheticized sociality. For Audrey Jaffe reading The Picture of Dorian Gray in "Embodying Culture," Wilde's late-nineteenth-century fantasy of the beautiful, desirable individual-become-group representative (in this case, representative of an emergent homosexual identity) reveals and predicts the aesthetic foundations of modern symbolic politics of identity. Identity politics, viewed by cultural conservatives as the antithesis of aesthetic appreciation, paradoxically is grounded in a paradigmatic aesthetic difference, the difference between beauty and ugliness.
In "Bad Taste, the Root Evil," Howard Horwitz explores the aesthetic underpinnings of the "postnational subject" theorized by postcolonial critics such as Homi Bhabha. Horwitz views Bhabha's hybrid subject as repeating, ironically, the "ontological idealism" of I. A. Richards's aesthetic formalism and questions our continuing preoccupation with the idealized aesthetic subject: whether we understand it as unified (Richards) or multiple (Bhabha), the subject so conceived is, Horwitz argues, irrelevant and counterproductive to our understanding of the relationship between aesthetic and political or social experience.
Perhaps in part because the traditional (and still-pervasive) language of aesthetics seems inadequate or distorting or even obstructionist for exploring aesthetics now, the contributors to Part IV, "Rethinking Aesthetics: Secrets and Magic, the Gift and the Child," approach the aesthetic through a surprising array of metaphors: secrets, magic, the gift, and the imagined imagination of the child. Not coincidentally, they also apprehend aesthetic experience not in its traditional associations with "high" art or sublime encounters, but in its ordinary and everyday manifestations, apart from (yet aware of) Marxist-inspired notions of commodity and exchange.
In "The Gift," for example, Beatriz Colomina understands the architectural work of Charles and Ray Eames as grounded in an aesthetics of celebration, play, and gift giving. Displacing the single eye (and I) of the historical avant-garde with multiple eyes, the Eameses shifted modern design practices, including but not limited to architecture, away from a Miesian focus on the exterior and toward an emphasis on the interior as a space for intersubjective encounters with the objects and people of everyday existence. In "What Is Construction, What's the Aesthetic, What Was Adorno Doing?" Robert Kaufman uses Jameson's reading of Adorno's reading of Kant to argue that Adorno understood what many theorists now overlook: that the aesthetic, typically formulated as being opposed to the material, the historical, and the social, does not prevent critique but enables it. Rethinking the assumptions behind ideological critiques of the aesthetic, Kaufman finds in Adorno the potential for "mak[ing] the aesthetic's case from within a Marxian vocabulary and syntax."
In an essay focused on Virginia Woolf's short story "Solid Objects," Bill Brown explores "The Secret Life of Things," which, like the artifacts in the Eames house, matter outside the usual subject/object dyad or systems of consumption and/or exchange. Reading Woolf in the context of World War II scarcity and economic depression, Brown argues that the story resists through aesthetic display the utilitarian trajectory of government mandates: aesthetically apprehended objects cannot be merely "reassembled" as they had been before the war. The actors in "Arresting Images," Kathleen Stewart's performative narrative of an addicted, stigmatized underclass in search of redemption and public recognition, act out the ways in which aesthetic destruction and defacement become, in class terms, attempts to imagine the secrets of an unimagined existence. Challenging abstract notions of the aesthetic, Stewart theorizes a concrete aesthetics and explores the dreams and necessities that promote its daily reenactments.
In the volume's concluding essay, Michael Taussig undertakes an ethnography of what he calls "The Adult's Imagination of the Child's Imagination." Exploring cultural sites ranging from contemporary media, state propaganda, and secret societies to "The Emperor's New Clothes" and the phenomenon of Santa Claus, Taussig argues that the child's imagination constitutes a "vast cultural resource" for adult fantasy. In the child who "still loves secrets, as gifts to be unwrapped, as secrets to be spent," adults recognize the public secrecy that grounds social intercourse: the "knowing unknowing" where aesthetics and ethics meet.
The Aesthetics of Mimesis: Ancient Texts and Modern Problems by
Stephen Halliwell (Princeton University Press) (HARDCOVER)
Mimesis is one of the oldest, most fundamental concepts in Western
aesthetics. This book offers a new, searching treatment of its long
history at the center of theories of representational art: above
all, in the highly influential writings of Plato and Aristotle, but
also in later Greco-Roman philosophy and criticism, and subsequently
in many areas of aesthetic controversy from the Renaissance to the
twentieth century. Combining classical scholarship, philosophical
analysis, and the history of ideas--and ranging across discussion of
poetry, painting, and music--Stephen Halliwell shows with a wealth
of detail how mimesis, at all stages of its evolution, has been a
more complex, variable concept than its conventional translation of
"imitation" can now convey.
Far from providing a static model of artistic representation, mimesis has generated many different models of art, encompassing a spectrum of positions from realism to idealism. Under the influence of Platonist and Aristotelian paradigms, mimesis has been a crux of debate between proponents of what Halliwell calls "world-reflecting" and "world-simulating" theories of representation in both the visual and musico-poetic arts. This debate is about not only the fraught relationship between art and reality but also the psychology and ethics of how we experience and are affected by mimetic art.
Moving expertly between ancient and modern traditions, Halliwell contends that the history of mimesis hinges on problems that continue to be of urgent concern for contemporary aesthetics.
With wide-ranging erudition, bold philosophical insight, and a vibrant aesthetic sensibility, Stephen Halliwell demonstrates that the ancient Greek tradition of arguing about mimesis is not the crude and single-minded defense of literal copying that many have seen in it. It is, rather, a highly complex tradition of debate and contestation, in which questions of foundational importance about artistic meaning are repeatedly confronted. Moving with graceful assurance from Plato and Aristotle to contemporary reworkings of the tradition by Brecht and Adorno, Barthes and Derrida, Halliwell shows us the depth and fertility of classical arguments. A stunning achievement, which will define the subject for many generations." (Martha C. Nussbaum, The University of Chicago )
"Halliwell addresses central topics in the history of aesthetics with continuing echoes in current debates. The scholarship is impeccable, the writing is clear, the histories are illuminating, the theoretical views are intriguing, and the scope is most impressive. I do not know of any comparable book that succeeds at combining scholarship with history and original thought." (Cynthia Freeland, University of Houston )
"We have not seen a comprehensive study of the classical concepts
of mimesis, nor has anyone shown the place of mimesis in the history
of aesthetics, nor has anyone argued generally for the usefulness of
the concept to contemporary theory. Art and philosophy in the
twentieth century were hostile to the idea that art is mimesis, and
ancient Greek theories have seemed quaint to modern eyes. Halliwell
may, through this book, be on the cutting edge of a revolution in
thinking." (Paul Woodruff, University of Texas, Austin)
"With wide-ranging erudition, bold philosophical insight, and a vibrant aesthetic sensibility, Stephen Halliwell demonstrates that the ancient Greek tradition of arguing about mimesis is not the crude and single-minded defense of literal copying that many have seen in it. It is, rather, a highly complex tradition of debate and contestation, in which questions of foundational importance about artistic meaning are repeatedly confronted. Moving with graceful assurance from Plato and Aristotle to contemporary reworkings of the tradition by Brecht and Adorno, Barthes and Derrida, Halliwell shows us the depth and fertility of classical arguments. A stunning achievement, which will define the subject for many generations." (Martha C. Nussbaum, The University of Chicago )
"Halliwell addresses central topics in the history of aesthetics with continuing echoes in current debates. The scholarship is impeccable, the writing is clear, the histories are illuminating, the theoretical views are intriguing, and the scope is most impressive. I do not know of any comparable book that succeeds at combining scholarship with history and original thought." (Cynthia Freeland, University of Houston )
"We have not seen a comprehensive study of the classical concepts of mimesis, nor has anyone shown the place of mimesis in the history of aesthetics, nor has anyone argued generally for the usefulness of the concept to contemporary theory. Art and philosophy in the twentieth century were hostile to the idea that art is mimesis, and ancient Greek theories have seemed quaint to modern eyes. Halliwell may, through this book, be on the cutting edge of a revolution in thinking." (Paul Woodruff, University of Texas , Austin )
Stephen Halliwell is Professor of Greek at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. His books include Aristotle's Poetics, the new Loeb translation of the Poetics, Plato: Republic 10, Plato: Republic 5, and Aristophanes: Birds and Other Plays.
Philosophy Goes to the Movies: An Introduction to Philosophy by Christopher Falzon (Routledge) is a new kind of introduction to philosophy that makes use of the movies to explore philosophical ideas and positions. From art-house movies like Cinema Paradiso to Hollywood blockbusters like The Matrix, the movies we have grown up with provide us with a world of memorable images, events and situations that can be used to illustrate, illuminate and provoke philosophical thought. Christopher Falzon introduces and discusses central areas of philosophical concern, including:
Falzon draws from the ideas of a diverse selection of thinkers, from Plato and Descartes to Marcuse and Foucault.
Ideal for the beginner, this book guides the student through philosophy using lively and illuminating cinematic examples including Total Recall, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Antz and Wings of Desire. It will also appeal to anyone interested in the philosophical dimensions of cinema.
Philosophy Through Fiction and Film by Burton F. Porter (Prentice Hall) offers a fresh approach to philosophy using literary and film narratives along with standard philosophic works to introduce readers to`the basic branches of the field. This book covers the fundamental problems of philosophy including epistemology, physics, ethics, religion, and politics. For anyone interested in a lively, engaging, and complete introduction to philosophy.
Philosophy Through Fiction and Film was written to introduce students to philosophy by means of literature and films as well as the systematic works of philosophers. The book therefore incorporates the perspectives of creative writers and film directors who express philosophic ideas. Through this multi-dimensional approach, the student is better able to understand philosophy, for the concepts are presented in a more immediate and lively way, one that shows various facets of ideas and appeals to different learning styles.
The works that are anthologized and summarized from philosophy, literature, and moving pictures are grouped under the major branches of philosophy, each in a separate chapter. Substantial introductions describe each of the branches and critically evaluate the basic concepts and theories within them. At the end of each chapter an extensive bibliography is provided for further exploration; this should be especially valuable for identifying films that contain philosophic themes.
The book therefore covers the major fields of philosophy including epistemology or theory of knowledge; metaphysics, the study of the nature of reality; ethics, the evaluation of our life purpose, conduct, and character; philosophy of religion, the critical analysis of religious belief; and political philosophy, theories of the ideal state. The introductions, as well as the headnotes preceding each selection, interpret the literature or film, explaining the rationale for grouping them under the various headings. In the case of film, synopses are provided that explain the philosophic points that they express. Study questions follow each selection to further point up the philosophic themes.
The principal of selection that was used is that of effectiveness in presenting fundamental philosophic ideas and high quality by world standards. As might be expected, employing this principle resulted in a diverse and multicultural group of selections from twelve countries including Russia, Japan, Canada, Nigeria, Ireland, Greece, Scotland, the United States, and so forth. Both men and women are represented, different races, and the ancient, Medieval, modern, and contemporary world. The bibliographies contain an even broader array of works from North America , South America , Europe , Africa , and Asia .
To view philosophy through literature can place the ideas within a human context. Philosophy and literature often have similar concerns, so the novel, play, or short story can offer a rich source for reflection, showing the basic issues of human life in a moving way. At the same time, all great literature is inherently philosophical, as George Santayana wrote, so the reading of literature can be illuminated by an awareness of its philosophic content.
In a similar way, films offer a unique and engaging introduction to philosophy. Movies are extremely prevalent in today's culture, resonating strongly with audiences, so their inclusion in summary form makes the philosophic ideas more current, personal, and accessible. Many students will be more familiar with the films than with either the literary or philosophic works, and the expositions will show the philosophic meaning of the movie.
Nevertheless, students who read the summary and excerpt from the screenplay should then view the film itself (or review it) whenever possible. For the impact of seeing the film far exceeds that of the synopsis or script, just as the musical score is meant to be performed and the written play takes on additional depth when staged in a theater. Classes can watch a film together in a viewing room in the library, or videotapes can be made available for viewing at home. This is especially valuable for long films and when class time is better used for explication and discussion. Additional viewing assignments could also be valuable in under-standing philosophy through film. Students could watch 2 or 3 outside films during the term, drawn from the bibliography or current releases, and report on the philosophic ideas they contain. These could be individual or group projects, for presentation in class or in written form.
Philosophy Through Fiction and Film therefore offers an original approach to philosophy using literary and film narratives along with standard philosophic works. The fundamental fields of philosophy are covered but in a fresh way, using a wide range of sources and a variety of viewpoints. As Thomas Mann wrote, "All subject matter is boring unless ideas shine through it." The fiction and film enrich the philosophic dialogue, linking traditional philosophy to our contemporary experience, while the philosophic works ground the issues, showing their deeper significance. The result is that philosophy comes alive as something vivid and compelling.
Media, Sex, Violence, and Drugs in the Global Village edited by Yahya R. Kamalipour and Kuldip R. Rampal (Rowman & Littlefield) Prominent media scholars such as Herbert Schiller have long noted the implications of Western-especially American-cultural influence on peoples of the developing Third World. Media, Sex, Violence, and Drugs in the Global Village provides a multicultural analysis of the impact of globalized Western media, including movies, syndicated radio programs, the Internet, and satellite and cable television programs. Looking specifically at themes of sex, violence, and drugs, an international cast of media scholars offers case studies of countries grappling with the influences of both Western cultural imports and similar local productions. For example, the authors examine the extent to which Hollywood 's methods are copied by producers outside the United States and whether or not these result in more sex-, violence-, or drug-oriented themes in indigenous productions. The book further proposes a framework for understanding the political, social, and economic problems that face media policy makers in an age of globalization.
The Great Movies by Roger Ebert (Broadway) For the past five
years Roger Ebert, the famed film writer and critic, has been
writing biweekly essays for a feature called "The Great Movies," in
which he offers a fresh and fervent appreciation of a great film.
The Great Movies collects one hundred of these essays, each one
of them a gem of critical appreciation and an amalgam of love,
analysis, and history that will send readers back to that film with
a fresh set of eyes and renewed enthusiasm–or perhaps to an avid
first-time viewing. Ebert’s selections range widely across genres,
periods, and nationalities, and from the highest achievements in
film art to justly beloved and wildly successful popular
entertainments. Roger Ebert manages in these essays to combine a
truly populist appreciation for our most important form of popular
art with a scholar’s erudition and depth of knowledge and a sure
aesthetic sense. Wonderfully enhanced by stills selected by Mary
Corliss, film curator at the Museum of Modern Art , The Great Movies
is a treasure trove for film lovers of all persuasions, an unrivaled
guide for viewers, and a book to return to again and again.
The Great Movies includes: All About Eve • Bonnie and Clyde • Casablanca • Citizen Kane • The Godfather • Jaws • La Dolce Vita • Metropolis • On the Waterfront • Psycho • The Seventh Seal • Sweet Smell of Success • Taxi Driver • The Third Man • The Wizard of Oz • and eighty-five more films.
Art, Culture, and Education: Artful Teaching in a Fractured
Landscape by Karel Rose, Joe L. Kincheloe (Counterpoints: Peter
Art, Culture, and Education about culture, education and the
arts. In August 2001, the authors thought that they had reached some
temporary closure on these topics and their interrelationships. Then
September 11, 2001 , happened! What now to say about culture,
education and the arts? What do we tell the children? What has gone
wrong in a world that breeds such atrocities with regularity? How
can the powers of art help us to understand, cope and heal? Maybe
we should just scoop up the remains of the day and listen to Mozart?
Or should we attend to our potter's wheel and fashion both a pot and
a quiet center within ourselves? We describe in ensuing chapters
aesthetic cries of pain in literature, visual arts and in
ceremonies that involve dance and music. We write about the
importance of sacred spaces and how people gather to share their
communal grief at makeshift street memorials as well as at grander
structures that honor those who died in the Holocaust and the many
conflagrations that have besieged the world. We have tried to show
that when Billy Holiday sings, "Strange Fruit," jazz and blues may
open an aesthetic window onto our anguished history. Each culture
does it differently, but the imaginative power of the arts has often
played a role in helping people give a form to their disbelief
enabling them to slowly climb out of the depths of grief.
After the bombing of the World Trade Center , there was not only a hole in the New York skyline but a hole in our hearts for those who had been consumed by the fires that humanity's shameful history has perpetuated.
As the smoke slowly clears, it is apparent that we must come to terms with what it means to live in the world together, whether in the next town or across continents. Now more than ever we need the insights and imagination of artists from all cultures to help us see better in this new political terrain.
For some time, it has been apparent to those of us whose lives are spent on college campuses that many students are disengaged from the world outside their immediate concerns. Their goals are narrowly restricted to climbing into the realm of the affluent or retaining their birthrights. Many studies document that on the more prestigious campuses students are even less connected to the world outside their personal zip codes than their counterparts in public institutions. Maybe September 11 will change all that and students and their professors will recognize that the economic template is not the yardstick by which we can measure success or even power. Violations against race, gender, ethnicity and class begin in the home and the classroom and then play out in the larger society. Educators and artists, though some feel that the latter may be entitled to their indifference, need to labor as tirelessly as the rescue workers at the World Trade Center to contribute to the ideas, dialogue and contemplations that could save our children and ultimately the world. Yes, educators have a mission now more than ever.
In Art, Culture, and Education we talk about the power of the arts to simultaneously touch our feelings and intellect. Over two thousand years ago, Aristotle noted that as rational animals we have political agendas. He believed that this power of rationality should guide conduct to create what he called the good community. Time has proved him both right and wrong. Classrooms as well as boardrooms are the places where we model this conduct as we listen to each other, negotiate, share our songs and stories and decide about teaching everyone that the "other" is indeed us. On the cutting edge of this new time, teachers need to demonstrate the courage necessary for creating a new world community. Some of us will do it through words, others with images, while many will sing and dance their joy and pain. We agree with the Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz when he says, "What is poetry. . .which does not save nations?"
The arts are a double-edged sword; they point and simultaneously are pointed at. Democratic values may emerge from or be obscured by the form and content of a work of art or from its interpreters. The artist may send out multiple voices or be indifferent about the message. Teachers, however, are committed to questioning the script and do not have the luxury of indifference. Teaching has never been a neutral activity. Despite their pale public persona, teachers can be tigers who wield considerable power. Who doesn't remember a teacher who made a difference? What child hasn't said to a parent with new authority, "My teacher told me so."
Teachers change the world one student at a time. At their best, teachers inspire human concern, advocate for universal rights and obligate students to participate in the social fabric of their time. We worry that many teachers feel voiceless and "dumbed down" by their own educations and teach much in the way that they have been taught. Throughout this book, we have noted how art, an intellectually rigorous activity, encourages higher order thinking and scholarship in both teachers and their students.
We anticipate that diverse and richer encounters with art will help educators to think outside the cardboard container and challenge positive notions of an unchanging and essential body of knowledge. In the light of modern history, it is critical that we conceptualize teaching from multiple perspectives and learn from the art of Africa , the Middle East , Native Americans and indigenous artists from around the world. Catching the bus of multiple perspectives prepares us to historicize our insights with understandings about sociocultural divisions and the power relations that inscribe them. Encounters with art provide us with the cognitive benefits of viewing a phenomenon from a number of vantage points that confront difference. We can no longer languish in the comfort of a home furnished with zip-coded ways of thinking which pander to a cognitive agoraphobia. We hope our readers will disrupt their thinking long enough to consider whether their house is a mausoleum of assumptions about teaching, diversity and justice. In every chapter of this book, we ask you to unpack your suitcases. Artists can assist you in this task. There is no such thing as "outsider" art if it opens your eyes. The term itself is a cultural construction.
We raise questions about how the artist challenges ethical values, rather than notions of "good" and "bad," "beautiful" and "ugly." It was the "Sensation" exhibit in 1999, one of the most written about U.S. art events of the twentieth century, and our own teaching responsibilities that provided us with the rationale for this book. "Sensation" changed our thinking and it changed many of our students. As a result, we braid together with even greater fervor the worlds of aesthetics, arts and culture into our teaching. We encourage teachers and students to engage the challenges and terrors that contemporary life brings forth and that art reflects upon. We encourage teachers and students to consider the feelings and, moral issues that emerge from world events so that complex ethical questions suffuse classroom conversations. We refrain from making the distinction between what is "good" and what is "right." The bloodiest wars are often fought in the name of what is "right." Our thinking is informed by the writing of William H. Gass, who notes that ethics are always present in behaviors. Hatred, brutality and killing result not because of the absence of ethics (everyone has ethics), but because of the "others"' blindness to the "right" beliefs or the "right" acts.
We describe how we have visited museums with our students so that they may appreciate that school is only one of many educational settings. We want them to recognize that museums are not tombs but living repositories of cultural movements and events with educational intentions. All people, not just those with political or aesthetic authority, need to claim the privilege of making artistic and cognitive judgments. Museums, theaters and even the streets are learning centers. They are places where students can spend the day, even the night. (The Denver Art Museum has sleepovers for elementary schoolchildren.) The Seattle Art Museum invites schoolchildren to curate exhibits. Museums, like schools, can be artful, communal places which cater to a personal and public self-awareness bringing together people and artifacts from different sociocultural contexts. A museum experience can be likened to the difference between watching a video at home or "going to the movies" where others are present and integral to the experience.
As we write, the controversy over what is art and who decides is being waged with new fervor. Art can be dangerous because it makes us think in new ways. Someone is always calling for censorship, for "decency" panels, for the curbing of freedoms. The artist is publicly taken to task, but it is really the message of the artist that frightens the censor. Notwithstanding, artists because of their sensitivity are often impelled to respond to the happy moments and joyful rites of passage as well as the violent and shameful crimes against humanity. At the site, where the World Trade Center stood, dozens of people have managed to set up easels. Others sit writing poetry and many continue to photograph what they find hard to believe. It is the way in which they can best make sense of an atrocious tragedy. People have many dimensions, and a single event may catalyze new understandings. Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City , for example, whose policies about artistic freedom and censorship disturbed us, did show a truly heroic persona demonstrating courage and empathy throughout the Twin Towers ' catastrophe. We extend to him our greatest respect in this matter.
Art has always had a role interpreting the social and political events of our time. Protest art about the Holocaust, the African Diaspora, apartheid and ethnic cleansing as well as feminist art cries out against silence and scripting providing examples of the ways artists mediate between an abstract world and individual needs. The media are artful and so are the propaganda machines for all regimes which deliver a highly specific agenda. It is our view that teachers, as the storytellers of the culture, are powerful mediators. For this reason, educators need to continue to read the books of the "other" as sacred texts, dialogue with "outsiders," gather in circles to tell stories, paint, sing, dance and perpetuate grand conversations in classrooms and in public spaces so that all voices are included.
The Philistine Controversy edited by Dave Beech, John Roberts (Verso) Questions on art, which were once seen as overloaded with liberal sentiment, are now being taken seriously by the philosophical Left in the English-speaking world. Ideas of subjectivity, judgement, freedom and truth have recently been explored by art critics and philosophers, in the hope of reinvigorating the conjuncture of ethics and aesthetics. In this fascinating study, Dave Beech and John Roberts enter and explore this debate from the controversial starting point of what is excluded from this recent writing. They maintain that, in their pursuit of art and judgement, recent philosophical enquiries have failed to register and connect pleasures from the wider world of culture ‑ and as such have effectively repeated historic exclusions in their privileged world of judgment. Defending the philistine and the voluptuous as the concrete expression of those ideas suppressed by the philosophy of aesthetics, Beech and Roberts seek to take pleasure out of the realms of ethical abstraction into the contingencies and conflicts of the everyday. They develop what they call a 'counter‑intuitive' notion of the philistine, claiming that what the philistine tells us about cultural division and exclusion is more persuasive than the theories of the popular and the 'otherly-cultured' in cultural studies and postmodernism. The 'counter‑intuitive' philistine, they contest, returns the cultural debate to the problems of the persistence of power, privilege and symbolic violence.
Asserting that the relations between power and art have been undertheorized in recent studies, and countering the tendency to see art as worthy, noble or even being the greatest preoccupation of humanity, Beech and Roberts find their critical resources in the least likely place: not in 'the best of things', but in that which has 'no proper place'.
Conventionally, the philistine is assumed to have no value for art and culture. But in this fascinating re-evaluation of its excluded identity, Dave Beech and John Roberts address the philistine not as an empirical phenomenon but as a relational category that operates between art and anti-art, aesthetics and anti-aesthetics, arguing that the philistine cuts to the very core of the predicament of art in a divided culture. In this they develop what they call a 'counter-intuitive' notion of the philistine, claiming that what the philistine tells us about cultural division and exclusion is more persuasive than the theories of the popular and the 'otherly-cultured' in cultural studies and postmodernism. The 'counter-intuitive' philistine, they contest, returns the cultural debate to the problems of the persistence of power, privilege and symbolic violence. Asserting that the relations between power and art have been undertheorized in recent studies, Beech and Roberts find their critical resources in the least likely place: not in the 'best of things,' but in that which has 'no proper place.'
In this fascinating study, Dave Beech and John Roberts develop what they call a `counter‑intuitive' notion of the philistine, claiming that what the philistine tells us about cultural division and exclusion is more persuasive than the theories of the popular and the 'otherly-cultured' in cultural studies and postmodernism. The `counter-intuitive' philistine, they contest, returns the cultural debate to the problems of the persistence of power, privilege and symbolic violence. Asserting that the relations between power and art have been undertheorized in recent studies, Beech and Roberts find their critical resources in the least likely place: not in the 'best of things', but in that which has 'no proper place'.
The Philistine Controversy also includes several in‑depth responses to the Beech and Roberts thesis by leading scholars in the field of cultural theory, together with the authors' replies to their critics.
Ordinary Enchantments: Magical Realism and the Remystification of Narrative by Wendy B. Faris (Vanderbilt University Press) Ordinary Enchantments investigates magical realism as the most important trend in contemporary international fiction, defines its characteristics and narrative techniques, and proposes a new theory to explain its significance. In the most comprehensive critical treatment of this literary mode to date, Wendy B. Faris discusses a rich array of examples from magical realist novels around the world, including the work not only of Latin American writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but also of authors like Salman Rushdie, Gunter Grass, Toni Morrison, and Ben Okri.
In addition to describing what many consider to be the progressive cultural work of magical real-ism, Faris also confronts the recent accusation that magical realism and its study as a global phenomenon can be seen as a form of commodification and an imposition of cultural homogeneity. And finally, drawing on the narrative innovations and cultural scenarios that magical realism enacts, she extends those principles toward issues of gender and the possibility of a female element within magical realism.
Excerpt: In this book I investigate magical realism in contemporary literature. The term magical realism, coined in the early twentieth century to describe a new, neo-realistic, style in German painting, then applied to Latin American fiction, now designates perhaps the most important contemporary trend in international fiction. Magical realism has become so important as a mode of expression worldwide, especially in postcolonial cultures, because it has provided the literary ground for significant cultural work; within its texts, marginal voices, submerged traditions, and emergent literatures have developed and created masterpieces.
Why has it been able to do this? Magical realism radically modifies and replenishes the dominant mode of realism in the West, challenging its basis of representation from within. That destabilization of a dominant form means that it has served as a particularly effective decolonizing agent. Very briefly defined, magical realism combines realism and the fantastic so that the marvelous seems to grow organically within the ordinary, blurring the distinction between them. Furthermore, that combination of realistic and fantastical narrative, together with the inclusion of different cultural traditions, means that magical realism reflects, in both its narrative mode and its cultural environment, the hybrid nature of much postcolonial society. Thus the mode is multicultural in its very nature, but because it achieved that distinction before that now-ubiquitous term was current, it has played a significant role in the development of a multicultural literary sensibility.' In other words, magical realism occupies a pivotal position, both reflecting the cultural moment of postcolonialism and achieving substantial work within it. In addition, because of its discursive heterogeneity, magical realism has also contributed to the growth of a postmodern literary sensibility.' Indeed, it constitutes a point of convergence between postmodernism and postcolonialism. We should note at the outset, however, that magical realism is not just a postcolonial style. It also represents innovation and the re-emergence of submerged narrative traditions in metropolitan centers. In turn, that phenomenon can be understood in part in the context of literary globalization as a writing back from the peripheral colonies, but only in part.
Magical realism's widespread distribution means that in attempting to define the term and explain the particular power of the mode we need a theoretical perspective that includes the study of formal characteristics spanning different traditions but one that also takes account of interactions between different cultures. My approach, then, combining close analysis of narrative technique with ideas from postcolonial theory, permits an increased under-standing of the formal characteristics and cultural work of magical realism, and most important, of the relationship between them, of the ways in which literary forms develop in response to cultural conditions.' It illustrates how modifications of realistic narrative technique in magical realism are both an index and a result of its cultural situation.'
In developing my ideas about magical realism, the novels on which I have focused include (in chronological order) Juan Rulfo, Pedro Paramo (1955), Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum (1959), Wilson Harris, Palace of the Peacock (1960), Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Robert Pinget, That Voice (1975), Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior (1976), Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1979), Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children (1980), Carlos Fuentes, Aura (1962) and Distant Relations (1980), D. M. Thomas, The White Hotel (1981), Isabel Allende, The House of the Spirits (1982), William Kennedy, Ironweed (1983), Patrick Suskind, Perfume (1985), Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987), Ben Okri, The Famished Road (1991), Ana Castillo, So Far from God (1993), and Marie Darrieussecq, Pig Tales (1996).6 Other eminent precursors and contemporaries I recall more peripherally are Nikolai Gogol, Henry James, Franz Kafka, Alejo Carpentier, Jorge Luis Borges, Octavio Paz, Julio Cortazar, Andre Schwarz-Bart, John Updike, Lawrence Thornton, Jose Saramago, Francine Prose, Louise Erdrich, Abby Frucht, Laura Esquivel, and Cristina Garcia. There are many more; the list is constantly growing.' Although magical realism has been most widespread in Latin America , my aim here is to continue the critical trend that extends the mode beyond that region, beyond "el boom," which popularized the term. For that reason I have included relatively few Latin American examples. That
Voice appears partly for shock value, because it is not ordinarily considered magical realist writing and is not very similar to its canonical texts. Yet for those very reasons, given its significant points of contact with magical realism through its creation of material metaphors, and its use of voices from beyond the grave, it underscores ways in which magical realism is interwoven with many strands of contemporary fiction. As the preceding list suggests, while I claim to discuss magical realism as a worldwide phenomenon, except for Midnight 's Children and The Famished Road, I have followed my own limitations and confined myself to texts from Europe , the United States , and Latin America . A truly comprehensive study of magical realism in world literature would need to range much more widely and, I suspect, could be extended into other literatures, especially in the Near and Far East.'
I begin my investigation of magical realism by formulating a brief working definition of the mode. In Chapter 1 I propose five characteristics of magi-cal realism and locate it at the intersection of modernism and postmodern-ism, engaging both sets of agendas and aesthetics. Working from that basis, in Chapter 2, I then discuss the way in which magical realism destabilizes realistic representation by means of what I call its "defocalized" narrative. As I explain in more detail there, because it reports events that it does not empirically verify through sensory data, within a realistic, empirically based, fiction, the narrative voice seems to be of uncertain origin, and the narrative is "defocalized." In addition, because it witnesses and reports events that humans ordinarily do not, and therefore suggests the existence of forces that are not encompassed by reference to ordinary human perceptions of a strictly material reality, magical realism is also imbued with a certain visionary power. Thus the mode constitutes what we might term a remystification of narrative in the West.
In Chapter 3 I propose a textual poetics for magical realism by investigating a series of narrative techniques that it employs. Because magical real-ism is important as an international style, even though I consider the subject matter of magical realist fictions, my primary concern here is to study how this mode operates as discourse, irrespective of specific thematic content. This approach to magical realism thus corresponds in a comparative context to the kind of cultural analysis James Clifford proposes in studies of cultural identity: an investigation of "what processes rather than essences are involved."
After discussing narrative strategies in magical realism, I next investigate the cultural politics of the mode. Because magical realism is frequently a cultural hybrid, it exemplifies many of the problematic relations that exist between selves and others in postcolonial literature. And because its narrative mode destabilizes the dominant mode of realism, it implicitly attempts to abolish the ethnographic literary authority of Western representation. How-ever, a study of its cultural assumptions and narrative practices reveals that it is also a living record of the difficulties and failures of that attempt, because it cannot help being caught in the very appropriation it seeks to destroy. Such is the case with much of modern and postmodern literature and art. This is the issue I investigate in Chapter 4, on the postcolonial dynamics of alterity. The chapter deals with the continuing process of literary decolonization, and the complex project of speaking of/with/for cultural others that it entails.
The processes that contribute to the decolonizing force of magical realism can also be seen to operate in relation to gender. In that context, magical real-ism continues the process of patriarchal culture's disenchantment with itself and its dominant forms of realistic representation begun by surrealism. It has therefore adopted what can be regarded in this context as various tradition-ally female ways of being and knowing. For example, feminist theoreticians, including Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, and Elaine Showalter, among others, have proposed that to speak with a voice that "is not one" within patriarchal culture is a female strategy, so that the multivocal and defocalized narrative of magical realism, which bridges the diverse worlds of realism and fantasy, is double-voiced in the way that female voices have been, integrating both a dominant and a muted mode in a given text. However, like surrealism, magical realism also perpetuates some of patriarchal culture's stereotypes, using female bodies as a bridge to the beyond, for instance. Because of the importance of these gender issues, in Chapter 5 I investigate whether it is possible to discern the presence of a female voice in magical realism. In addition to considering novels by women, I also investigate the use of women as narrative enablers in the texts of male magical realists.
In short, my basic aims in this study are to explore the importance of magical realism in contemporary literature and its power as a postcolonial narrative style by describing the characteristics that define, the techniques that enable, and the cultural issues that traverse it. Throughout this discussion, I suggest connections between magical realist practices and various strands of contemporary thought, most notably with selected accounts of postmodernism, with postcolonial theory, and (in Chapter 5) with several issues in feminist theory and criticism, but, clearly, a thorough investigation of such connections would be a whole other book.
Emotion As Meaning: The Literary Case for How We Imagine by Keith M. Opdahl (Bucknell University Press) Emotion as Meaning offers a new model of the mind based upon a new understanding of emotion. It resolves the debate between the Imagists and propositionalists by tracing the translation of language into vicarious
experience, showing that the mind represents Its imagined world by means of not only image and idea but emotion. Emotion as Meaning surveys existing theories of mental representation and demonstrates its thesis by analyzing the mind's construction of several literary texts.
How does the reader of a novel (or a person remembering or daydreaming) construct that internal, imagined world that extends over time and seems to occupy a space of its own? Until twenty years ago, most believed that we imagine within the medium of language. Then psychologists like Allan Paivio and Stephen Kosslyn showed that we think also by means of Images, triggering a debate between the propositionalists, who define thought in terms of idea (or word), and the imagists, who insist we think in picture-like ways. Opdahl shows that emotion repesents elements that elude those two codes: relationships, intangible mental states, large entities like cities or eras, and-always context or background Emotion provides the primary mode of the identifying reader, as he or she shares the emotions of the protagonist Although the affective code is ignored today, it is natural and even inevitably-a process we know even if we are not aware of it Emotion is meaning because it represents first the significance of the object and then the qualities that create that significance: the object itself
Some readers will appreciate this book as an analysis of several novels or as a definition of an affective criticism, as it studies the function of emotion in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady, John Updike's The Centaur, and Toni Monison's Beloved. Opdahl shows that an emotion criticism is practical, effective, and illuminating.
Other readers will appreciate this book as a survey of the literature on emotion and mental representation, noting its solution of a major problem. How freeze an otherwise fleeting emotion long enough to examine it? How make what is exquisitely private public? The answer lies in the work of literature, which stabilizes human emotion on the page, for all to see.
For all readers, however, the ultimate point must be the demonstrated existence of the affective code. Emotion not only gives voice to our feelings but stands for something other than itself: it is depictive as well as expressive, serving as an effective mode of thought. To understand this fact is to revise the currently accepted models of the mind, shared by aesthetic critics and cognitive scientists alike. It is also to understand the important contribution the humanities can make to our understanding of the processes of thought.
Narrative Dynamics: Essays on Time, Plot, Closure, and Frames by Brian Richardson (The Theory and Interpretation of Narrative: Ohio State University Press) This anthology brings together essential essays on major facets of narrative dynamics, that is, the means by which "narratives traverse their often unlikely routes from beginning to end." It includes the most widely cited and discussed essays on narrative beginnings, temporality, plot and emplotment, sequence and progression, closure, and frames. The text is designed as a basic reader for graduate courses in narrative and critical theory across disciplines, including literature, drama and theatre, and film.
Narrative Dynamics includes such classic exponents as E. M. Forster on story and plot; Vladimir Propp on the structure of the folktale; R. S. Crane on plot; Boris Tomashevsky on story, plot, and motif; M. M. Bakhtin on the chronotope; and Gerard Genette on narrative time. Richardson highlights essential feminist essays by Nancy K. Miller on plot and plausibility, Rachel Blau DuPlessis on closure, and Susan Winnett on narrative and desire; these are complemented by newer pieces by Susan Stanford Friedman on spatialization and Robyn Warhol on serial fiction. Other major contributions include Edward Said on beginnings, Hayden White on historical narrative, Peter Brooks on plot, Paul Ricoeur on time, D. A. Miller on closure, James Phelan on progression, and Jacques Derrida on the frame. Recent essays from the perspective of cultural studies, postmodernism, and artificial intelligence bring this collection right up to the present.
From editor’s introduction: This anthology draws from every major tradition of narrative theory as well as more general critical theories that have been employed in narrative analysis in the twentieth century: Russian formalism, the Chicago School, archetypal criticism, structuralism, Freudian theory, feminist poetics, hermeneutics, deconstruction, and cognitive science. It should also be observed that in the introductions to the different sections below, I have tried to resist conventional narrative form with its regular linear trajectory, sleek plot lines, avoidance of messy subplots, and overall teleological shape. If the history of science includes long periods of "normal science" followed by a major revolution that definitively overthrows the dominant explanatory paradigm, then the history of literary criticism and theory is more like a never‑ending series of coups d'etat in an isolated province, in which deposed rulers and dynasties come back, decades later, in different guises and bearing new names and arms. Consequently, I have preferred to use the form of the chronicle to depict the often messy succession of leading ideas that are almost never deposed for good, but are instead being refashioned and reintroduced at repeated (if irregular) intervals.
This does not mean that significant patterns are not present in the development of modern narrative theory; a number of larger designs can definitely be made out. We may first remark that its origins coincide with the origins of modernist fiction, and many of its principal early practitioners‑James, Ford, Wharton, Woolf, Forster‑were innovative creative writers themselves (it might be further noted that this interaction continues to this day in the figures of Helene Cixous, David Lodge, and Christine Brooke‑Rose). Prominent attempts to make literary study less subjective and more scientific were launched by the Russian Formalists in the twenties and again in the fifties and sixties by a number of different groups. Political and other ideological approaches (also important in the thirties) become dominant from the late seventies to the early nineties. Feminism, the most significant intellectual movement of the second half of the twentieth century, transformed the study of literature and critical theory‑and most other fields as well. Where narrative study will go next is impossible to predict, though several different types of telos seem to be beckoning.
A final general tendency needs to be pointed out, and that is the growth and development of narrative theory itself over the course of the century. It has not proceeded along a straight line, but traverses a more wayward path. Begun by creators and expositors of early modernist fiction, it has seen many backtrackings and golden ages, dead ends and rebirths. It is nevertheless safe to say that the last dozen years or so has produced a body of theoretical work on narrative that is unparalleled in its range, depth, subtlety, and sophistication. We now know more about narrative than at any other time; insofar as narrative is being recognized as fundamental to so many other basic disciplines, there has never been a better time to have and to use this knowledge.
In my introductions to the different sections I have tried to cast my net widely, situating the selections in this book within their critical and historical contexts, and pointing to many other significant contributors to the theoretical debates. I also should point out that many of the key terms deployed by major theorists below are not entirely synonymous, and may at times differ considerably from scholar to scholar. This is particularly true of the divergent meanings imposed on the term "plot" by those who emphasize entirely heterogenous aspects of the relation between events in a sequence. The term "frame" likewise can cover anything from a story within a story to conceptual or generic features that circumscribe a work or guide its interpretation. Rather than impose any single set of definitions, I have chosen to let the theorists speak for themselves and set forth their own best case for a particular definition. Those who wish to see such constructs compared may consult useful reference works like Wallace Martin's Recent Theories of Narrative, Gerald Prince's A Dictionary of Narratology; or the theorists themselves as they attempt to situate their own work within the existing critical discourse.
The Visual Arts: A History (6th Edition) by Hugh Honour, John
Fleming (Prentice Hall) An authoritative, balanced, and enlightening
history of world art, this new Sixth Edition of The Visual Arts: A
History is a worthy successor to the critically acclaimed earlier
editions. From a 30,000-year-old statuette to digital art of the
21st century, this book offers the most up-to-date and wide-ranging
history of art available in a single volume.
The Visual Arts is international in scope, encompassing the arts of Asia , Africa , Oceania , Europe , and the Americas . More than 1,400 superb illustrations, some 650 in full color, and the inclusion of architectural plans and maps, bring the artworks discussed to life. New contemporary art, as well as the latest discoveries and developments in prehistoric, non-Western, and Western art, and completely rewritten coverage of African art, make this new Sixth Edition a welcome addition to any library.
History of Art: The Western Tradition (Revised Sixth Edition) by H. W. Janson & Anthony F. Janson (Pearson Prentice Hall) Better known as “Janson” to art students, History of Art is the classic survey of Western art – it has been the benchmark for art history surveys since it was first published in 1962. Written by H. W. Janson, teacher, scholar, legendary name in art history, and, since 1986, by his son, art historian Anthony F. Janson, History of Art upholds high standards of scholarship and art reproduction. The Revised Sixth Edition is updated in detail and simplified in its writing. Above all, the text is supported by brilliant illustrations: 1,276 captioned pictures in all, with 789 in color, 377 in black and white, and 110 line drawings.
A feature new to this edition, The Primer of Art History, sets out the most basic terminology, vocabulary, and concepts used by art historians and critics in writing about art. In the text, the traditions of art history are represented by another new feature – captions to 24 illustrations throughout the book with excerpts from the writings of the twentieth century's most interesting and important art historians. These discuss specific works of art from a variety of viewpoints. Significant new scholarship appears in Chapter Fourteen, renamed The Late Renaissance in Italy, which offers a different view of mannerism from previous editions.
All the elements that make History of Art a total resource have been retained. These include 104 primary source readings keyed to the text; 29 illustrated cross-disciplinary essays on music and theater; and 13 sidebars with concentrated information on such topics as Greek and Roman mythology, Christian iconography, Western medieval guilds, monastic orders, the graphic arts, and the materials of modern architecture. For the first time, terms defined in the glossary are called out in boldface type in the text, and as before the definitions themselves include figure references to specific works of art in the text.
Also included are four maps, four illustrated timelines, bibliography, glossary, discography, art and architecture Website directory and an index.
The digital image CD-ROM, Art History Interactive has been expanded and is included with the text. An unparalleled resource for both students and instructors, Art History Interactive features 1,000 of the finest digital images available, along with a powerful suite of tools for learning and teaching:
For The Instructor
For The Student
The Companion Website accompanies History of Art Revised Sixth Edition and offers unique tools and support for both instructors and students. Instructors will find lecture hints, class activities, and a testbank, all coordinated to the chapters of the text. Students will find a comprehensive resource featuring a variety of learning tools coordinated to every chapter of the text.
For accuracy and subtlety, the quality of this book's color reproductions and black-and-white photographs far surpasses that found in any other survey. Printed on high-quality matte-coated stock, History of Art is both a superlative artbook and an indispensable resource on how the actual objects really look. Above all, History of Art has the integrity of undiluted authorship, offering unmatched intellectual authenticity with an unerring sense of quality and style in art, making it the definitive text for a survey course in art history.
19th Century European Painting: David to Cezanne (Revised Edition) by Lorenz Eitner (Westview) This new revised edition of an established survey of 19th century European painting from David through Cézanne includes new chapters with fifteen new illustrations on four notable women artists-- Angelika Kauffmann, Elizabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Berthe Morisot, and Mary Cassatt. This edition also contains further text revisions and updates to the bibliographies. The focus of 19th Century European Painting remains on the important artists and movements of the period with chapters on each artist's life and work, characteristics of style, and the relationship of the artistic movements to historical and intellectual currents of the time.
Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Academics and Salon Painters, and Impressionism are covered and the following artists receive substantial treatment: David and his followers, Goya, Ingres, Géricault, Delacroix, Corot, Courbet, Millet and the Barbizon painters, Manet, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro, and Cézanne. There are 435 illustrations, suggested readings and references, and an index.
The Arts in Mind: Pioneering Texts of a Coterie of British Men of Letters edited by Ruth Katz, Ruth Hacohen (Transaction) this anthology records a major shift in critical attitudes toward the arts that took place in the eighteenth century. The fine arts were now looked upon as a group, divorced from the sciences and governed by their own rules. The century abounded with treatises that sought to establish the overriding principles that differentiate art from other walks of life as well as the principles that differentiate them from each other. This burst of scholarly activity resulted in the incorporation of aesthetics among the classic branches of philosophy, heralding the cognitive turn in epistemology. Among the writings that initiated this turn, none were more important than the British contribution. The Arts in Mind brings together an annotated selection of these key texts.
A companion volume to the editors' Tuning the Mind, which analyzed this major shift in world view and its historical context, The Arts in Mind is the first representative sampling of what constitutes an important school of British thought. The texts are neither obscure nor forgotten, although most histories of eighteenth-century thought treat them in a partial or incomplete way. Here they are made available complete or through representative extracts together with an editor's introduction to each selection providing essential biographical and intellectual background. The treatises included are representative of the changed climate of opinion which entailed new issues such as those of perception, symbolic function, and the role of history and culture in shaping the world.
Contents include: Anthony Ashley Cooper, Third Earl of Shaftesbury, "Characteristics"; Francis Hutcheson, "Inquiry Concerning Beauty, Harmony and Design"; Hildebrand Jacob, "Of the Sister Arts: An Essay"; James Harris, "On Music, Painting and Poetry"; Charles Avison, "An Essay on Musical Expression"; James Beattie, "Essay on Poetry and Music as They Affect the Mind"; Daniel Webb, "Observations on the Correspondence between Poetry and Music"; Thomas Twining, "On Poetry Considered as an Imitative Art," "On the Different Senses of the Word Imitative as Applied to Music by the Antients and by the Moderns"; Adam Smith, "Of the Nature of that Imitation which Takes Place in What are Called the Imaginative Arts."
Exposed: The Victorian Nude by Alison Smith (Watson-Guptill) The epitome of high culture or an assault on public morality? The nude figure was one of the most controversial issues in Victorian art. It was also one of the most conspicuous categories for the visual image at every level, from elite paintings for the Royal Academy to mass-produced photographs and magazine illustrations. Exposed: The Victorian Nude provides a fascinating overview of the nude figure-both male and female-and the intriguing role it played in Victorian art. While it concentrates on painting, sculpture, and drawing, this beautifully illustrated reference also explores the depiction of the naked body in other media-including photography, popular illustration, advertising, and caricature-and discusses the issues of morality, sexuality, and desire that are relevant even today. Since nudes were an important subject for most Victorian artists, Exposed: The Victorian Nude showcases dazzling artwork from such legendary masters as Millais, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Whistler, and Sargent, as well as pivotal figures of early English modernism. Cutting across the conventional categories of style and period, this guide offers a fresh, engrossing vision of Victorian art and culture unmatched anywhere else.
Women, Art, and Patronage from Henry III to Edward III: 1216-1377 by Loveday Lewes Gee (Boydell & Brewer) In Britain in the high middle ages women played an active and significant role as artistic patrons. This study considers who these women were, their social status, the sources of their wealth and their motives for acting as they did, in addition to examining the various buildings, tombs and artefacts that they chose to spend their money on and the practical details involved. Questions are raised concerning the nature of female patronage as well as the means by which their aims were achieved. Focusing on the activities of women from different social strata as patrons of a range of artistic enterprises has revealed much, not only about their artistic intentions, but also about their individual piety, interests and concerns, and about the cultural and social context of their lives.
Surviving buildings, tombs, manuscripts and seal impressions provide the evidence on which this investigation has been based, together with relevant wills, documents and contemporary texts. The period chosen, from the accession of Henry III in 1216 to the death of Edward III in 1377, has provided an opportunity to assess the evolving impact of religious and social developments over several generations on the women concerned with artistic patronage.
Medieval culture was intensely visual. Although this has long been recognised by art historians and by enthusiasts for particular media, there has been little attempt to study social display as a subject in its own right, although display goes directly to the heart of the values, aspirations and, indeed, anxieties of past societies.
Contents: Maurice Keen: Introduction; David Crouch: The Historian, Lineage and Heraldry, 1050-1250; Peter Cross: Knighthood, Heraldry and Social Exclusion in Edwardian England; Caroline Shenton: Edward III and the Symbol of the Leopard; Adrian Ailes: Heraldry in Medieval England: Symbols of Politics and Propaganda; Frederique Lachaud: Dress and Social Status in England before the Sumptuary Laws; Marian Campbell: Medieval Founders' Relics: Royal and Episcopal Patronage at Oxford and Cambridge Colleges; Brian & Moira Gittos: Motivation and Choice: The Selection of Medieval Secular Effigies; Nigel Saul: Bold as Brass: Secular Display in English Medieval Brasses; Fionn Pilbrow: The Knights of the Bath : Dubbing to Knighthood in Lancastrian and Yorkist England ; Caroline Barron: Chivalry, Pageantry and Merchant Culture in Medieval London ; John Watts: Looking for the State in Later Medieval England
American Art Deco: An Illustrated Survey edited by R. L. Leonard and C. A. Glassgold ( Dover ) Unabridged Dover republication of Annual of American Design 1931 by the American Union of Decorative Artists and Craftsmen, originally published by Ives Washburn, New York , 1931. Over 200 black-and-white illustrations. 176pp.
One of the most popular forms of twentieth-century design, the Art Deco style dominated the decorative arts in the 1920s and 30s. Championed by progressive architects and inspired by such diverse influences as the industrial age and Native American art, it became a form of artistic self-expression for nearly three decades. This volume includes scores of photographs and important articles that describe the aesthetics of this distinctive style.
An introduction by architectural critic Lewis Mumford is followed by commentaries by such notables as Frank Lloyd Wright on design principles; theatrical and industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes on outfitting business interiors; and Edward Steichen on commercial photography.
A fascinating glimpse of an exciting and innovative period in the history of American design, this book will appeal to a wide audience—from interior decorators and graphic artists to students of art and lovers of the Art Deco style.
Wallpaper in Interior Decorations by Gill Saunders (Watson-Guptill) From modest beginnings, wallpaper developed to become a common element of a home's interior-whether it be a castle or cottage. From the printed lining papers of the early 16th century to the computer-aided limited editions of today, wallpaper has played a key role in interior decoration. Chosen to complement the furnishings, it is often used as a way to transcend or enhance the immediate environment. It also reflects the tastes and aspirations of successive generations, as well as the technical innovations of its time. Wallpaper in Interior Decoration offers a fascinating overview of the history of wallpaper. From 18th-century flocks, the exquisite hand painted papers imported from China, and dramatic French scenic decorations to the always-popular designs of William Morris, the washable machine-printed wallpapers from the late-19th century, and embossed wall coverings, this guide covers all the major styles and influences, displayed in magnificent, full-color illustrations. Part social history, part idea book, part decorative art book, part graphic design reference, Wallpaper in Interior Decorations informs, inspires, and is sure to delight anyone interested in the decorative arts and the best of interior design.
Fabrics: A Handbook for Interior Designers and Architects by Marypaul Yates (W.W. Norton) A comprehensive, illustrated reference for those who choose fabrics for interiors. Fabrics provides designers with the information they need to make their fabric specifications easy, informed, and appropriate to the job at hand, considering aesthetics, performance, and green design. Fabrics describes and illustrates the many fibers, construction techniques, processes, finishes, styles, and applications of cloth for furniture and window-, wall-, and floor coverings. 300 color
Exploring Textile Arts (Creative Publishing International) The
ultimate guide to manipulating, coloring and embellishing fabrics.
Experimentation with various fabric manipulation methods is one of
the hottest trends pursued by creative sewers and textile artists
alike. Purchased fabric is merely an open canvas, waiting for an
inspired hand to alter its character and define its purpose. In this
book, you'll find nearly 50 fabulous techniques for creating
one-of-a-kind designer fabrics using your imagination as the guide.
Step-by-step photography leads the fabric artist through the various processes used to create decorative fabrics suitable for quilting, wearable art garments, home decor, or simply to be admired.
Exploring Textile Arts was created by 30 of the nation's leading designers who provided artwork for inspiration and professional tips for success. Illustrations.
Joan Almond: The Past in the Present duotone photographs by Joan Almond, essay by Roberto Tejada, introduction by Karen Sinsheimer (St. Anne’s Press) Whether in the play of shadows cast on a rock by drying leaves, or in the strength of a woman's crossed forearms covered in marriage tattoos, Joan Almond's photographs maintain an exceptional sobriety of form and treatment. Shot in Morocco , Algeria , India , and Jerusalem , her photographic images focus on family traditions still strong in North Africa and the Middle East but long lost in her native America , documentary photographer Joan Almond displays an amazing and impressive photographic journey. Brief thoughts and a short essay are interspersed between the lengthy sections of captivating photographs. An extraordinary look at the human culture and the daily quest to survive and prosper Traveling to and working in villages and homes where few photographers have tread, Almond manages to show human beings with remarkable dignity and resilience, despite their sometimes impoverished personal circumstances. This first monograph of Almond's work is printed in tritone to replicate the platinum printing process so integral to the viewing of her photographs.
River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West by Rebecca Solnit (Viking) The world as we know it today began in California in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. This extraordinary assertion is at the heart of Rebecca Solnit's brilliant new work of cultural history. Weaving together biography, history, and fascinating insights into art, technology, landscape, and philosophy, Solnit has created a boldly original portrait of America on the threshold of modernity.
Over the past ten years, West-coast based author Rebecca Solnit
has won a reputation as an elegant stylist who has produced a wide
range of inventive, thought-provoking books dealing with issues of
landscape, place, and environment, among them Wanderlust: A History
of Walking and, most recently, As Eve Said to the Serpent: On
Landscape, Gender, and Art, which was a finalist for the National
Book Critics Circle Award. Solnit excels at making connections
across disciplines and genres, and that is nowhere more evident than
in her new book,
River of Shadows which weaves together biography, history, and
fascinating insights into art, technology, landscape, and
photography to create a boldly original portrait of America on the
threshold of modernity.
In River of Shadows, Solnit uses the life of the photographer Eadweard Muybridge as a lens to look at what it was about California after the Civil War that enabled it to become such a center of cultural and technological innovation. During a period of feverish creativity that commenced in 1872, Muybridge began photographing the railroad baron Leland Stanford's racehorse in motion, succeeding for the first time in capturing high-speed motion photographically - the crucial breakthrough that made movies possible. He also continued his work as one of the great landscape photographers of the American West, made negatives of Yosemite and the Sierra nearly two feet across, served as official photographer of the Modoc War, California's most dramatic Native American conflict, created the seventeen-foot long, 360 degree panorama of San Francisco widely regarded as the greatest achievement of its era in that genre, and, in a blaze of publicity, stood trial for the murder of his wife's lover.
During a period of feverish creativity that commenced in 1872, Eadweard Muybridge succeeded for the first time in capturing and reanimating high-speed motion on film-the crucial breakthrough that made movies possible. He also continued his series of breathtaking photographs of the monumental landscape of the American West, served as official photographer of the grueling war against the Modoc Indians, and, in a blaze of publicity, stood trial for the murder of his wife's lover. In Solnit's taut, compelling narrative, Muybridge's life becomes a lens for a larger story about the transformation of time and space in the nineteenth century. With dazzling erudition and a rare mastery of the interlocking histories of art, technology, politics, and commerce, Solnit shows how the peculiar freedoms and opportunities of post-Civil War California led directly to the two industries-Hollywood and Silicon Valley-that have most powerfully defined the contemporary world.
For Solnit, Muybridge is at the center of a much larger story about the transformation of time and space in the nineteenth century, by railroads, by telegraphy, by photography and myriad other contributions to the acceleration and industrialization of everyday life. With dazzling erudition and a mastery of the interlocking histories of art, technology, politics, and commerce, she shows how the peculiar freedoms and opportunities of postCivil War California led directly to "the two industries California is most identified with, the two that changed the world" - Hollywood and Silicon Valley . Muybridge's patron, Leland Stanford, was one of the "Big Four" who built the Central Pacific Railroad - the western half of the transcontinental railroad whose completion in 1868 made it possible to "go around the world in eighty days," shrinking the globe for travel and commerce. Solnit traces a line directly from Stanford, who believed in the union of science and business and used the money he garnered from railroad building to found the university that bears his son's name, to the modern computer industry.
To Rebecca Solnit, "Muybridge's trajectory ripped through all the central stories of his time - the relationship to the natural world and the industrialization of the human world, the Indian wars, the new technologies and their impact on perception and consciousness. He is the man who split the second, as dramatic and far-reaching an action as the splitting of the atom." River of Shadows includes many previously unpublished images by Muybridge and significantly revises and expands what is known about this extraordinarily eccentric man. The chronology of his many name changes, the revelation by his assistant about the moment of the motion-studies breakthrough, the detailed account of the murder, the details on the Yosemite pictures and the panoramas all break new ground in Muybridge scholarship.
River of Shadows is Solnit's most captivating book yet-wide- ranging in its allusions, daring in its connections, always surprising in its conclusions.Art and Society in a Highland Maya Community: The Altarpiece of Santiago Atitlan by Allen J. Christenson ( University of Texas Press ) Allen J. Christenson offers us in this wonderful book a testimony to contemporary Maya artistic creativity in the shadow of civil war, natural disaster, and rampant modernization. Trained in art history and thoroughly acquainted with the historical and modern ethnography of the Maya area, Christenson chronicles in this beautifully illustrated work the reconstruction of the central altarpiece of the Maya Church of Tz¹utujil-speaking Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala . The much-loved colonial-era shrine collapsed after a series of destructive earthquakes in the twentieth century. Christenson¹s close friendship with the Chávez brothers, the native Maya artists who reconstructed the shrine in close consultation with village elders, enables him to provide detailed exegesis of how this complex work of art translates into material form the theology and cosmology of the traditional Tz¹utujil Maya. With the author¹s guidance, we are taught to see this remarkable work of art as the Maya Christian cosmogram that it is. Although it has the triptych form of a conventional Catholic altarpiece, its iconography reveals a profoundly Maya narrative, replete with sacred mountains and life-giving caves, with the whole articulated by a central axis mundi motif in the form of a sacred tree or maize plant (ambiguity intended) that is reminiscent of well-known ancient Maya ideas. Through Christenson¹s focused analysis of the iconography of this shrine, we are able to see and understand almost firsthand how the modern Maya people of Santiago Atitlán have remembered the imagined universe of their ancestors and placed upon this sacred framework their received truths in time present." Gary H. Gossen
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