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What should our buildings look like? Or is their usability more important than their appearance? Paul Guyer argues that the fundamental goals of architecture first identified by the Roman architect Marcus Pollio Vitruvius - good construction, functionality, and aesthetic appeal - have remained valid despite constant changes in human activities, building materials and technologies, as well as in artistic styles and cultures. Guyer discusses philosophers and architects throughout history, including Alberti, Kant, Ruskin, Wright, and Loos, and surveys the ways in which their ideas are brought to life in buildings across the world. He also considers the works and words of contemporary architects including Annabelle Selldorf, Herzog and de Meuron, and Steven Holl, and shows that - despite changing times and fashions - good architecture continues to be something worth striving for. This new series offers short and personal perspectives by expert thinkers on topics that we all encounter in our everyday lives.
Thirty leading women philosophers draw on the rich heritage of the philosophical tradition to explore topics of pressing interest for today. Women of Ideas is edited by Suki Finn and based upon lively interviews with David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton, from Philosophy Bites, the world's foremost philosophy podcast. These conversations illuminate diverse aspects of being human: personal, social, and political. The contributors discuss the relations between men and women, between humans and animals, between cultures, and between nations. They look at things wrong with our world, such as injustice, deprivation, and bias; they consider the role of civility, trust, and consent in our interactions. There are reflections on the history of philosophy from Plato to Foucault, and a discussion of philosophy in Africa. The volume concludes by investigating how philosophy works, whether it can make progress, and its role in public life. Anyone interested in philosophical reflection on our world will find much to stimulate them here.
Very Short Introductions: Brilliant, Sharp, Inspiring For thousands of years humanity has engaged in creative expression, allowing us to relate to other people, contribute to shared culture, build an identity, and give meaning to our existence. From the painted caves in Lascaux and the invention of the first tools to modern day advertising campaigns and inventors' labs, creativity has a long past but a short history. The word 'creativity' emerged in the English language in the 19th century and only become popular from the mid-20th century. This Very Short Introduction explores the history, theory, and practice of creativity from a psychological perspective. Vlad Glaveanu considers the nature and development of the creative process, and analyzes the reasons why we produce creative work. Offering a sociocultural reading of this phenomenon, he discusses how we can understand creative people and their creations within the social, material, and historical context that made them possible. In doing so, he demonstrates how we can address the meaning and value of creativity beyond its contribution to economic growth and personal well-being. Finally Glaveanu focuses on the future of creativity and creativity research, reflecting on technological development, the evolution of society and, ultimately, on our place in a world populated by creative beings, ideas, and encounters. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
From the bestselling author of Purple Cow and This is Marketing comes an elegant little book that will inspire artists, writers, and entrepreneurs to stretch and commit to putting their best work out into the world.
Creative work doesn't come with a guarantee. But there is a pattern to who succeeds and who doesn't. And engaging in the consistent practice of its pursuit is the best way forward.
Based on the breakthrough Akimbo workshop pioneered by legendary author Seth Godin, The Practice will help you get unstuck and find the courage to make and share creative work. Godin insists that writer's block is a myth, that consistency is far more important than authenticity, and that experiencing the imposter syndrome is a sign that you're a well-adjusted human. Most of all, he shows you what it takes to turn your passion from a private distraction to a productive contribution, the one you've been seeking to share all along.
With this book as your guide, you'll learn to dance with your fear. To take the risks worth taking. And to embrace the empathy required to make work that contributes with authenticity and joy.
William Hazlitt (1778-1830) is among the most brilliant critics and essayists to have ever written in the English language. Combative and insightful, he was close to two generations of romantic poets. His early friendship with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth as a young man inspired him to a literary career, but he became disillusioned with them as apostates from the cause of liberty he associated with the French Revolution. As a mature writer, he inspired John Keats and contributed to his thinking about imagination and poetic character. A forceful commentator on contemporary London, he was also a committed radical, whose 'What is the People?' is an almost visionary statement of a new democratic politics. The Spirit of Controversy collects together Hazlitt's most coruscating and influential essays, using versions as they first appeared, including those that originally found their way into print in the cut and thrust of the newspapers and magazines of his day.
Whether it's sleek leather pants, a shiny new Apple computer, or a designer toaster, we make important decisions as consumers every day based on our sensory experience. Sensory appeals are everywhere, and they are intensifying, radically changing how Americans live and work. The twenty-first century has become the age of aesthetics, and whether we realize it or not, this influence has taken over the marketplace, and much more.
In this penetrating, keenly observed book, Virginia Postrel makes the argument that appearance counts, that aesthetic value is real. Drawing from fields as diverse as fashion, real estate, politics, design, and economics, Postrel deftly chronicles our culture's aesthetic imperative and argues persuasively that it is a vital component of a healthy, forward-looking society.
Intelligent, incisive, and thought-provoking, The Substance of Style is a groundbreaking portrait of the democratization of taste and a brilliant examination of the way we live now.
In "Venus in Exile" renowned cultural critic Wendy Steiner explores
the twentieth century's troubled relationship with beauty.
Disdained by avant-garde artists, feminists, and activists, beauty
and its major symbols of art--the female subject and
ornament--became modernist taboos. To this day it is hard to
champion beauty in art without sounding aesthetically or
politically retrograde. Steiner argues instead that the experience
of beauty is a form of communication, a subject-object interchange
in which finding someone or something beautiful is at the same time
recognizing beauty in oneself. This idea has led artists and
writers such as Marlene Dumas, Christopher Bram, and Cindy Sherman
to focus on the long-ignored figure of the model, who function in
art as both a subject and an object. Steiner concludes "Venus in
Exile" on a decidedly optimistic note, demonstrating that beauty
has created a new and intensely pleasurable direction for
contemporary artistic practice.
'We live within a spectacle of empty clothes and unworn masks' In this series of remarkable pieces from across his career, John Berger celebrates and dissects the close links between art and society and the individual. Few writers give a more vivid and moving sense of how we make art and how art makes us. One of twenty new books in the bestselling Penguin Great Ideas series. This new selection showcases a diverse list of thinkers who have helped shape our world today, from anarchists to stoics, feminists to prophets, satirists to Zen Buddhists.
Paul de Man - literary critic, literary philosopher, "American deconstructionist" - changed the landscape of criticism through his rigorous theories and writings. Upon its original publication in 1988, Christopher Norris' book was the first full-length introduction to de Man, a reading that offers a much-needed corrective to the pattern of extreme antithetical response which marked the initial reception to de Man's writings. Norris addresses de Man's relationship to philosophical thinking in the post-Kantian tradition, his concern with "aesthetic ideology" as a potent force of mystification within and beyond that tradition, and the vexed issue of de Man's politics. Norris brings out the marked shift of allegiance in de Man's thinking, from the thinly veiled conservative implications of the early essays to the engagement with Marx and Foucault on matters of language and politics in the late, posthumous writing. At each stage, Norris raises these questions through a detailed close reading of individual texts which will be welcomed by those who lack any specialised knowledge of de Man's work.
Paul de Man - literary critic, literary philosopher, "American deconstructionist" - changed the landscape of criticism through his rigorous theories and writings. Upon its original publication in 1988, Christopher Norris' book was the first full-length introduction to de Man, a reading that offers a much-needed corrective to the pattern of extreme antithetical response which marked the initial reception to de Man's writings.
Norris addresses de Man's relationship to philosophical thinking in the post-Kantian tradition, his concern with "aesthetic ideology" as a potent force of mystification within and beyond that tradition, and the vexed issue of de Man's politics. Norris brings out the marked shift of allegiance in de Man's thinking, from the thinly veiled conservative implications of the early essays to the engagement with Marx and Foucault on matters of language and politics in the late, posthumous writing. At each stage, Norris raises these questions through a detailed close reading of individual texts which will be welcomed by those who lack any specialised knowledge of de Man's work.
Walter Benjamin is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic intellectual figures of this century. Not only was he a thinker who made an enormous impact with his critical and philosophical writings, he shattered disciplinary and stylistic conventions. This collection, introduced by Susan Sontag, contains the most representative and illuminating selection of his work over a twenty-year period, and thus does full justice to the richness and the multi-dimensional nature of his thought. Included in these pages are aphorisms and townscapes, esoteric meditation and reminiscences of childhood, and reflections on language, psychology, aesthetics and politics.
How does something as potent and evocative as the body become a relatively neutral artistic material? From the 1960s, much body art and performance conformed to the anti-expressive ethos of minimalism and conceptualism, whilst still using the compelling human form. But how is this strange mismatch of vigour and impersonality able to transform the body into an expressive medium for visual art? Focusing on renowned artists such as Lygia Clark, Marina Abramovic and Angelica Mesiti, Susan Best examines how bodies are configured in late modern and contemporary art. She identifies three main ways in which they are used as material and argues that these formulations allow for the exposure of pressing social and psychological issues. In skilfully aligning this new typology for body art and performance with critical theory, she raises questions pertaining to gender, inter-subjectivity, relation and community that continue to dominate both our artistic and cultural conversation.
'Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life' The two works brought together here, 'The Decay of Lying' and 'The Critic as Artist', are Oscar Wilde's wittiest and most profound writings on aesthetics, in which he proposes that criticism is the highest form of creation and that lying, the telling of a beautiful untruth, is the ultimate aim of art. One of twenty new books in the bestselling Penguin Great Ideas series. This new selection showcases a diverse list of thinkers who have helped shape our world today, from anarchists to stoics, feminists to prophets, satirists to Zen Buddhists.
Most of us live our lives in our clothes without realizing their power. But in the hands of artists, garments reveal themselves. They are pure tools of expression, storytelling, resistance and creativity: canvases on which to show who we really are. In What Artists Wear, style luminary Charlie Porter takes us on an invigorating, eye-opening journey through the iconic outfits worn by artists, in the studio, on stage, at work, at home and at play. From Yves Klein's spotless tailoring to the kaleidoscopic costumes of Yayoi Kusama and Cindy Sherman; from Andy Warhol's signature denim to Charlotte Prodger's casualwear, Porter's roving eye picks out the magical, revealing details in the clothes he encounters, weaving together a new way of understanding artists, and of dressing ourselves. Part love letter, part guide to chic, and featuring generous photographic spreads, What Artists Wear is both a manual and a manifesto, a radical, gleeful, inspiration to see the world anew-and find greater pleasure and possibility in the clothes we all wear.
How does a novel entice or enlist us? How does a song surprise or seduce us? Why do we bristle when a friend belittles a book we love, or fall into a funk when a favored TV series comes to an end? What characterizes the aesthetic experiences of feeling captivated by works of art? In Hooked, Rita Felski challenges the ethos of critical aloofness that is a part of modern intellectuals' self-image. The result is sure to be as widely read as Felski's book, The Limits of Critique. Wresting the language of affinity away from accusations of sticky sentiment and manipulative marketing, Felski argues that "being hooked" is as fundamental to the appreciation of high art as to the enjoyment of popular culture. Hooked zeroes in on three attachment devices that connect audiences to works of art: identification, attunement, and interpretation. Drawing on examples from literature, film, music, and painting--from Joni Mitchell to Matisse, from Thomas Bernhard to Thelma and Louise--Felski brings the language of attachment into the academy. Hooked returns us to the fundamentals of aesthetic experience, showing that the social meanings of artworks are generated not just by critics, but also by the responses of captivated audiences.
Translated by Steven Corcoran Only yesterday aesthetics stood accused of concealing cultural games of social distinction. Now it is considered a parasitic discourse from which artistic practices must be freed. But aesthetics is not a discourse. It is an historical regime of the identification of art. This regime is paradoxical, because it founds the autonomy of art only at the price of suppressing the boundaries separating its practices and its objects from those of everyday life and of making free aesthetic play into the promise of a new revolution. Aesthetics is not a politics by accident but in essence. But this politics operates in the unresolved tension between two opposed forms of politics: the first consists in transforming art into forms of collective life, the second in preserving from all forms of militant or commercial compromise the autonomy that makes it a promise of emancipation. This constitutive tension sheds light on the paradoxes and transformations of critical art. It also makes it possible to understand why today's calls to free art from aesthetics are misguided and lead to a smothering of both aesthetics and politics in ethics.
This richly illustrated book is an exploration of how chance and risk, on the one hand, and meaning or significance on the other, compete for the limelight in art, in philosophy, and in science. In modern society, prudence and probability calculation permeate our daily lives. Yet it is clear for all to see that neither cautious bank regulations nor mathematics have prevented economic crises from occurring time and again. Nicolas Bouleau argues that it is the meaning we assign to an event that determines the perceived risk, and that we generally turn a blind eye to this important fact, because the word "meaning" is itself awkward to explain. He tackles this fundamental question through examples taken from cultural fields ranging from painting, architecture, and music, to poetry, biology, and astronomy. This enables the reader to view overwhelming risks in a different light. Bouleau clarifies that the most important thing in a time of uncertainty is to think of prudence on a higher level, one that truly addresses the various subjective interpretations of the world.
When you are half lost in a work of art, what happens to the half left behind? Semi-Detached delves into this state of being: what it means to be within and without our social and physical milieu, at once interacting and drifting away, and how it affects our ideas about aesthetics. The allure of many modern aesthetic experiences, this book argues, is that artworks trigger and provide ways to make sense of this oscillating, in-between place. John Plotz focuses on Victorian and early modernist writers and artists who understood their work as tapping into, amplifying, or giving shape to a suspended duality of experience. The book begins with the decline of the romantic tale, the rise of realism, and John Stuart Mill's ideas about social interaction and subjective perception. Plotz examines Pre-Raphaelite paintings that take semi-detached states of attention as their subject and novels that treat provincial subjects as simultaneously peripheral and central. He discusses how realist writers such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Henry James show how consciousness can be in more than one place at a time; how the work of William Morris demonstrates the shifting forms of semi-detachment in print and visual media; and how Willa Cather created a form of modernism that connected aesthetic dreaming and reality. Plotz concludes with a look at early cinema and the works of Buster Keaton, who found remarkable ways to portray semi-detachment on screen. In a time of cyberdependency and virtual worlds, when it seems that attention to everyday reality is stretching thin, Semi-Detached takes a historical and critical look at the halfway-thereness that audiences have long comprehended and embraced in their aesthetic encounters.
In this work of historical theology, Rachel Davies considers the relationship between aesthetics and anthropology in Bonaventure's thought, and shows how bodily diminishment can become a sign and source of the self's renewal. Drawing from texts like the Collations on the Six Days, and the Major Life of Francis, Davies reconfigures traditional accounts of the fallen body's rebellion against the soul and emphasizes instead the soul's original abandonment of the body. Her interpretation draws attention to the crucial but undervalued role that Bonaventure assigns to the body in the self's coming-to-be, and shows how contemplation involves the soul's tender recovery of the body it once rejected. Though contemplation makes body-soul integrity possible again, Davies argues that the body never fully recovers from its primordial alienation. Instead, Bonaventure suggests that individuals can experience brokenness and healing at the same time, and that suffering bodies can become paschal spaces, graced and open to beatific wholeness.
A recently discovered book manuscript by the celebrated artist Mark Rothko offering a landmark discussion of his views on topics ranging from the Renaissance to contemporary art, criticism, and the role of art and artists in society One of the most important artists of the twentieth century, Mark Rothko (1903-1970) created a new and impassioned form of abstract painting over the course of his career. Rothko also wrote a number of essays and critical reviews during his lifetime, adding his thoughtful, intelligent, and opinionated voice to the debates of the contemporary art world. Although the artist never published a book of his varied and complex views, his heirs indicate that he occasionally spoke of the existence of such a manuscript to friends and colleagues. Stored in a New York City warehouse since the artist's death more than thirty years ago, this extraordinary manuscript, titled The Artist's Reality, is now being published for the first time. Probably written around 1940-41, this revelatory book discusses Rothko's ideas on the modern art world, art history, myth, beauty, the challenges of being an artist in society, the true nature of "American art," and much more. The Artist's Reality alsoincludes an introduction by Christopher Rothko, the artist's son, who describes the discovery of the manuscript and the complicated and fascinating process of bringing the manuscript to publication. The introduction is illustrated with a small selection of relevant examples of the artist's own work as well as with reproductions of pages from the actual manuscript. The Artist's Reality willbe a classic text for years to come, offering insight into both the work and the artistic philosophies of this great painter.
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