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This book is an exploration of how art-specifically paintings in the European manner-can be mobilized to make knowledge claims about the past. No type of human-made tangible thing makes more complex and bewildering demands in this respect than paintings. Ivan Gaskell argues that the search for pictorial meaning in paintings yields limited results and should be replaced by attempts to define the point of such things, which is cumulative and ever subject to change. He shows that while it is not possible to define what art is-other than being an open kind-it is possible to define what a painting is, as a species of drawing, regardless of whether that painting is an artwork or not at any given time. The book demonstrates that things can be artworks on some occasions but not necessarily on others, though it is easier for a thing to acquire artwork status than to lose it. That is, the movement of a thing into and out of the artworld is not symmetrical. All such considerations are properly matters not of ontology-what is and what is not an artwork-but of use; that is, how a thing might or might not function as an artwork under any given circumstances. These considerations necessarily affect the approach to paintings that at any given time might be able to function as an artwork or might not be able to function as such. Only by taking these factors into account can anyone make viable knowledge about the past. This lively discussion ranges over innumerable examples of paintings, from Rembrandt to Rothko, as well as plenty of far less familiar material from contemporary Catholic devotional works to the Chinese avant garde. Its aim is to enhance philosophical acuity in respect of the analysis of paintings, and to increase their amenability to philosophically satisfying historical use. Paintings and the Past is a must-read for all advanced students and scholars concerned with philosophy of art, aesthetics, historical method, and art history.
For the past thirty years, Hal Foster has pushed the boundaries of cultural criticism, establishing a vantage point from which the seemingly disparate agendas of artists, patrons, and critics have a telling coherence. In "The Anti-Aesthetic," preeminent critics such as Jean Baudrillard, Rosalind Krauss, Fredric Jameson, and Edward Said consider the full range of postmodern cultural production, from the writing of John Cage, to Cindy Sherman's film stills, to Barbara Kruger's collages. With a redesigned cover and a new afterword that situates the book in relation to contemporary criticism, "The Anti-Aesthetic" provides a strong introduction for newcomers and a point of reference for those already engaged in discussions of postmodern art, culture, and criticism. Includes a new afterword by Hal Foster and 12 black and white photographs.
The book features an in-depth analysis of pre-modern Chinese discourses on artistic style especially the concept of Vitality-Charm ( ). Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, the book examines Vitality-Charm and related topics from the perspectives of aesthetics, stylistics, semiotics, cosmology, art history, and socio-cultural history. It reviews the development of, and examines the relations between, the concepts of poetic vision, spiritual resonance, spiritual expressiveness, Vitality-Charm and so on in the tradition of Chinese art (including literature, music, dancing, and drama). The book also attempts to clarify confusions caused by the overlapping and indistinct demarcations between the concepts when they are used in the discourse of, and even the training of art - especially traditional Chinese art.
This book is about the interaction between literary studies and the philosophy of literature. It features essays from internationally renowned and emerging philosophers and literary scholars, challenging readers to join them in taking seriously the notion of interdisciplinary study and forging forward in new and exciting directions of thought. It identifies that literary studies and the philosophy of literature address similar issues: What is literature? What is its value? Why do I care about characters? What is the role of the author in understanding a literary work? What is fiction as opposed to non-fiction? Yet, genuine, interdisciplinary interaction remains scarce. This collection seeks to overcome current obstacles and seek out new paths for exploration.
Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. We all wear hoods: the Grim Reaper, Red Riding Hood, torturers, executioners and the executed, athletes, laborers, anarchists, rappers, babies in onesies, and anyone who's ever grabbed a hoodie on a chilly day. Alison Kinney's Hood explores the material and symbolic vibrancy of this everyday garment and political semaphore, which often protects the powerful at the expense of the powerless-with deadly results. Kinney considers medieval clerics and the Klan, anti-hoodie campaigns and the Hooded Man of Abu Ghraib, the Inquisition and the murder of Trayvon Martin, uncovering both the hooded perpetrators of violence and the hooded victims in their sights. Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.
This book considers how Samuel Beckett's critical essays, dialogues and reflections drew together longstanding philosophical discourses about the nature of representation, and fostered crucial, yet overlooked, connections between these discourses and his fiction and poetry. It also pays attention to Beckett's writing for little-magazines in France from the 1930s to the 1950s, before going on to consider how the style of Beckett's late prose recalls and develops figures and themes in his critical writing. By providing a long-overdue assessment of Beckett's work as a critic, this study shows how Beckett developed a new aesthetic in knowing dialogue with ideas including phenomenology, Kandinsky's theories of abstraction, and avant-garde movements such as Surrealism. This book will be illuminating for students and researchers interested not just in Beckett, but in literary modernism, the avant-garde, European visual culture and philosophy.
This book deals with philosophical aspects regarding the perception of spatial relationships in two and three-dimensional art. It provides a structural understanding of how art is perceived within the space created by the artwork, and employs a mapping sentence and partial order mereology to model perceptual structure. It reviews the writing of philosophers such as Paul Crowther and art theorists such as Krauss to establish the need for this research. The ontological model established Paul Crowther is used to guide an interactive account of his ontology in the interpretations of the perceptual process of three-dimensional abstract art to allow the formulation of a more comprehensive philosophical account. The book uniquely combines structuralist and post-structuralist approaches to artistic perception and understanding with a conceptual structure from facet theory, which is clarified with the help of a mapping sentence and partial order mereology.
Many on the left lament an apathy or amnesia toward recent acts of war. Particularly during the George W. Bush administration's invasion of Iraq, opposition to war seemed to lack the heat and potency of the 1960s and 1970s, giving the impression that passionate dissent was all but dead.
Through an analysis of three politically engaged works of art, Rosalyn Deutsche argues against this melancholic attitude, confirming the power of contemporary art to criticize subjectivity as well as war. Deutsche selects three videos centered on the deployment of the atomic bomb: Krzysztof Wodiczko's "Hiroshima Projection" (1999), made after the first Gulf War; Silvia Kolbowski's "After Hiroshima mon amour" (2005-2008); and Leslie Thornton's "Let Me Count the Ways" (2004-2008), which followed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Each of these works confronts the ethical task of addressing historical disaster, and each explores the intersection of past and present wars. These artworks profoundly contribute to the discourse of war resistance, illuminating the complex dynamics of viewing and interpretation. Deutsche employs feminist and psychoanalytic approaches in her study, questioning both the role of totalizing images in the production of warlike subjects and the fantasies that perpetuate, especially among the left, traditional notions of political dissent. She ultimately reveals the passive collusion between leftist critique and dominant discourse in which personal dimensions of war are denied.
Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. Who ponders the sock? This common object is something people tug on and take off daily with hardly a thought. Unraveling the garment's history, construction, and use, Kim Adrian's Sock reintroduces us to our own bodies- vulnerable, bipedal, and flawed. Sock reminds us that extraordinary secrets live in mundane material realities, and shows how this floppy, often smelly, sometimes holey piece of clothing, whether machine-made or hand-knit, can also serve as an anatomy lesson, a physics primer, a love letter, a weapon, a fetish, and a fashion statement. Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.
This book is the first and most extensive academic monograph to be published on the work of the Mexican neo-conceptual artist Teresa Margolles. A range of art works produced by Margolles throughout the length of her career, which began in the 1990s (as part of the SEMEFO collective) and continues to the present day, are explored from such theoretical perspectives as the philosophy of death; the difficult spectatorship of death and the corpse; approaches to the representation of death and dead bodies in art from inside and outside Mexico; and the response of art to traumatic events in Mexico during and since the 1990s. The extensive scope of the study is a significant contribution to scholarly material on the artist, attending to difficult questions around art and ethics; its analysis of Margolles's work is situated within the contexts of the long tradition of the display of real bodies and body parts in Mexican visual culture, against the backdrop of the effects of NAFTA and the War on Drugs.
Objects are all around us - and images of objects, advertisements for objects. Things are no longer merely purely physical or economic entities: within the visual economy of advertising, they are inescapably moral. Any object, regardless of its nature, can for at least a moment aspire to be "good," can become not just an object of value but a complex of possible happiness, a moral source of perfection for any one of us. Our relation to things, Coccia, argues in this provocative book, is what makes us human, and the object world must be conceived as an ultimate artifact in order for it to be the site of what the philosophical tradition has considered "the good." Thinking a radical political praxis against a facile materialist critique of things, Coccia shows how objects become the medium through which a city enunciates its ethos, making available an ethical life to those who live among them. When we acknowledge that our notion of "the good" resides within a world of things, we must grant that in advertising, humans have revealed themselves as organisms that are ethically inseparable from the very things they produce, exchange, and desire. In the advertising imaginary, to be human is to be a moral cyborgs whose existence attains ethical perfection only via the universe of things. The necessary alienation which commodities cause and express is moral rather than economic or social; we need our own products not just to survive biologically or to improve the physical conditions of our existence, but to live morally. Ultimately, Coccia's provocative book offers a radically political rethinking of the power of images. The problem of contemporary politics is not the anesthetization of words but the excess power we invest in them. Within images, we already live in another form of political life, which has very little to do with the one invented and formalized by the ancient and modern legal tradition. All we need to do is to recognize it. Advertising and fashion are just the primitive, sometimes grotesque, but ultimately irrepressible prefiguration of the new politics to come.
Abe Kobo (1924-1993) was one of Japan's greatest postwar writers, widely recognized for his imaginative science fiction and plays of the absurd. However, he also wrote theoretical criticism for which he is lesser known, merging literary, historical, and philosophical perspectives into keen reflections on the nature of creativity, the evolution of the human species, and an impressive range of other subjects. Abe Kobo tackled contemporary social issues and literary theory with the depth and facility of a visionary thinker. Featuring twelve essays from his prolific career-including "Poetry and Poets (Consciousness and the Unconscious)," written in 1944, and "The Frontier Within, Part II," written in 1969-this anthology introduces English-speaking readers to Abe Kobo as critic and intellectual for the first time. Demonstrating the importance of his theoretical work to a broader understanding of his fiction-and a richer portrait of Japan's postwar imagination-Richard F. Calichman provides an incisive introduction to Abe Kobo's achievements and situates his essays historically and intellectually.
There is evidence of a sea-change in Western consciousness over the last three or four decades of the 20th century, which implies a fundamental rejection of the arts of humanism; the tradition of art for the elite, art cut off from society, from nature and from the sacred (added, as Eric Gill once said, like a sauce to otherwise unpalatable fish), cannot serve the needs of our future society. John Lane both celebrates the power and challenges the defect of this 500-year-old tradition, invariably claimed to be the finest that has ever existed. He questions whether the institution of the self-directed professional artist was a great step forward in the story of self-realization, or whether it was, on the contrary, a dehumanising aberration in the history of humankind. Challenging and illuminating, this book looks forward to a time of revitalized aesthetic activity when creative expression is not lofty, professionalized and unapproachable but closely interwoven with the activities of daily life.
This book provides the first recent philosophical account of how ruins acquire aesthetic value. It draws on a variety of sources to explore modern ruins, the ruin tradition, and the phenomenon of "ruin porn." It features an unusual and original combination of philosophical analysis, the author's photography, and reviews of both new and historically influential case studies, including Richard Haag's Gas Works Park, the ruins of Detroit, and remnants of the steel industry of Pennsylvania. Tanya Whitehouse shows how the users of ruins can become architects of a new order, transforming derelict sites into aesthetically significant places we should preserve.
This book examines Samuel Beckett's unique lesson in courage in the wake of humanism's postwar crisis-the courage to go on living even after experiencing life as a series of catastrophes. Rabate, a former president of the Samuel Beckett Society and a leading scholar of modernism, explores the whole range of Beckett's plays, novels, and essays. He places Beckett in a vital philosophical conversation that runs from Bataille to Adorno, from Kant and Sade to Badiou. At the same time, he stresses Beckett's inimitable sense of metaphysical comedy. Foregrounding Beckett's decision to write in French, Rabate inscribes him in a continental context marked by a "writing degree zero" while showing the prescience and ethical import of Beckett's tendency to subvert the "human" through the theme of the animal. Beckett's "declaration of inhuman rights," he argues, offers the funniest mode of expression available to us today.
Four Arts of Photography explores the history of photography through the lens of philosophy and proposes a new scholarly understanding of the art form for the 21st century. * Re-examines the history of art photography through four major photographic movements and with case studies of representative images * Employs a top-down, theory to case approach, as well as a bottom-up, case to theory approach * Advances a new theory regarding the nature of photography that is grounded in technology but doesn t place it in opposition to painting * Includes commentaries by two leading philosophers of photography, Diarmuid Costello and Cynthia A. Freeland
In the Typic chapter of the Critique of Practical Reason, Kant aims to enable moral judgment by means of the law of nature, which serves as the 'type', or formal analogue, of moral law. The present monograph is the first comprehensive study of this key text. It provides a detailed commentary on the Typic, situates it within Kant's ethics and his theory of symbolic representation, and critically engages with the relevant secondary literature.
`Were it not for shadows there would be no beauty.' In Praise of Shadows is an eloquent tribute to the austere beauty of traditional Japanese aesthetics. Through architecture, ceramics, theatre, food, women and even toilets, Tanizaki explains the essence of shadows and darkness, and how they are able to augment beauty. He laments the heavy electric lighting of the West and its introduction to Japan, and shows how the artificial, bright and polished aesthetic of the West contrasts unfavourably with the moody and natural light of the East. Dreamy, melancholic and mysterious, In Praise of Shadows is a haunting insight into a forgotten world.
Literary recognition is a technical term for a climactic plot device. Odysseys of Recognition claims that interpersonal recognition is constituted by performance, and brings performance theory into dialogue with poetics, politics, and philosophy. By observing Odysseus figures from Homer to Kleist, Ellwood Wiggins offers an alternative to conventional intellectual histories that situate the invention of the interior self in modernity. Through strategic readings of Aristotle, this elegantly written, innovative study recovers an understanding of interpersonal recognition that has become strange and counterintuitive. Penelope in Homer's Odyssey offers a model for agency in ethical knowledge that has a lot to teach us today. Early modern and eighteenth-century characters, meanwhile, discover themselves not deep within an impenetrable self, but in the interpersonal space between people in the world. Recognition, Wiggins contends, is the moment in which epistemology and ethics coincide: in which what we know becomes manifest in what we do.
Emerging from the disruption of the First World War, surrealism confronted the resulting `crisis of consciousness' in a way that was arguably more profound than any other cultural movement of the time. The past few decades have seen an expansion of interest in surrealist writers, whose contribution to the history of ideas in the twentieth-century is only now being recognised. Surrealism: Key Concepts is the first book in English to present an overview of surrealism through the central ideas motivating the popular movement. An international team of contributors provide an accessible examination of the key concepts, emphasising their relevance to current debates in social and cultural theory. This book will be an invaluable guide for students studying a range of disciplines, including Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology and Cultural Studies, and anyone who wishes to engage critically with surrealism for the first time. Contributors: Dawn Ades, Joyce Cheng, Jonathan P. Eburne, Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Guy Girard, Raihan Kadri, Michael Loewy, Jean-Michel Rabate, Michael Richardson, Donna Roberts, Bertrand Schmitt, Georges Sebbag, Raymond Spiteri, and Michael Stone-Richards.
This is an enchanting essay on aesthetics by one of the greatest Japanese novelists. Tanizaki's eye ranges over architecture, jade, food, toilets, and combines an acute sense of the use of space in buildings, as well as perfect descriptions of lacquerware under candlelight and women in the darkness of the house of pleasure. The result is a classic description of the collision between the shadows of traditional Japanese interiors and the dazzling light of the modern age.
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