Francis Barker: The Tremulous Private Body 

In the seventeenth century there was a profound change in the conditions and representation of the body. Reflecting on a wide range of works, including the Jacobean drama, Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress, rembrandt’s painting, the philosophy of descartes, milton’s areopagitica and Samuel Pepys’ diary, Francis Barkers essay maps a transformation of the spectacular corporeality of the dramatic stage and the scaffold of public execution in the course of which a sexually embarrassing body is redefined, privatized and pushed away from discourse into a furtive half-life beyond the text. The new regime separates the body from the soul and divides the body into two components: the absent body whose desires and appetites are denied, and the positive body which is eventually reinscribed as an object of rational knowledge, prepared for productive and disciplined labour. Built into the argument is an evocation of the way in which this process defines not only the new body, but equally the conditions of modern subjectivity and subjection. The self-gendered subject is constructed comes to define the orders of discourse and of representation which typify the bourgeois epoch. Drawing on the theoretical work of foucault, Derrida, and lacan, and the Marxism of Louis Althusser, the tremulous private body engages the central theme of post-structuralism- discourse, sexuality, textuality and power- but is not a post structuralist work and rejected many of the positions characteristic of post-structuralism, particularly its tendency to depoliticize discourse.
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John White: The Birth and Rebirth of Pictorial Space 

Dr White’s careful historical study of the rediscovery of pictorial space during the Renaissance, and its origins in antiquity, was acclaimed when first published as a pioneering and highly important work. For the second edition he has revised the notes and bibliography, and has taken account of the new importance accorded to the distance point construction in Italian painting of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 

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Tim Ingold: Lines: A Brief History 

What do walking, weaving, observing, storytelling, singing, drawing and writing have in common? The answer is that they all proceed along lines. In this extraordinary book Tim Ingold imagines a world in which everyone and everything consists of interwoven or interconnected lines and lays the foundations for a completely new discipline: the anthropological archaeology of the line.

Ingold’s argument leads us through the music of Ancient Greece and contemporary Japan, Siberian labyrinths and Roman roads, Chinese calligraphy and the printed alphabet, weaving a path between antiquity and the present. Drawing on a multitude of disciplines including archaeology, classical studies, art history, linguistics, psychology, musicology, philosophy and many others, and including more than seventy illustrations, this book takes us on an exhilarating intellectual journey that will change the way we look at the world and how we go about in it.
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Additional Writings by the Author 

Being Alive (PDF)
Perceptions of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill (PDF)

Bringing Things To Life: Entanglements in a World of Materials (PDF)
Introduction to Ways of Walking (PDF)
From Science to Art and Back Again (PDF)

Additional Resources: 

Lecture: Thinking Through Making (video)
Lecture: Anthropology Beyond Humanity (video)
Lecture: The Sustainability of Everything (video)
Lecture: On Human Correspondence (video)

Tamara Trodd: The Art of Mechanical Reproduction 


“Medium” is a central concept in 2th-century art criticism. This is the first book-length exploration of how the status of traditional mediums (painting, sculpture, drawing) has been transformed in modern and contemporary art by the rise of photography, film, broadcast tv and other technologies. It presents original research on many famous artists together with a fresh theoretical approach that challenges some of the most entrenched criticism of the past several decades. It reconsiders key practices in modern art in relation to specific technologies of the time rather than through the strict current idea of medium. Thus we get to watch Paul Klee tinker in the darkroom, Hans Bellmer figuring out how to make doube-exposures in motion pictures, an aging Chris Marker gleefully experimenting with digital technology, Robert Smithson taking apart a Xerox machine, Douglas Huebler brushing up on basic chemistry, and Gerhard Richter adapting his technical knowledge of mass printing and photo reproduction to produce a full-blown aesthetic agenda and set of artistic protocols for painting. Other artists considered include Ellsworth Kelley, Tacita Dean, and networks that draw in Duchamp, Kiesler, Picasso, Twombly, Rauschenberg, Mel Bochner, and more.

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Reviews: 

Film Quarterly
Washington Book Review
Art Libraries Society of North America
Additional Resources:

Tamara Trodd on Thomas Demand (audio)
Round Table: Screen/Space: The projected image in Contemporary Art (from October)
Walter Benjamin: Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproducibility (PDF)

Margaret R. Miles: Carnal Knowing: Female Nakedness and Religious Meaning in the Christian West

An exploration of the power of visual and verbal representations of female nakedness throughout Western Christian history. Margaret Miles looks at how men have treated women's bodies – in their actions, art and writings, and why, in Christian history, naked female bodies have symbolized shame.

Margaret R. Miles is Emeritus Professor of Historical Theology at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. As Bussey Professor of Theology, she taught the history of Christian thought for 20 years at Harvard University Divinity School. Her previous books include Plotinus on Body and Beauty (Blackwell, 1999), Reading for Life (1996), Seeing and Believing (1996), Desire and Delight (1993), Practicing Christianity (1988), Carnal Knowing (1988), Seeing and Believing (1996), and A Complex Delight (2007).

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Additional Resources:
Margaret R. Miles: Religion and the Common Good (lecture)
Living Lovingly in a Culture of Fear (Lecture)
Gender and Teaching in Education (Essay)

Jean Baudrillard: America


For those looking for a bleak, lyrical and biting summer read.

Where the others spend their time in libraries, I spend mine in the deserts and on the roads." Jean Baudrillard's travel diary of his time in America was first published in 1986 and has been reissued with a new introduction by Geoff Dyer. Written while Reagan was president, Baudrillard's provocative account of this "obsessional society" remains relevant. From the "steepling gentleness" of New York's skyscrapers to the "limitless horizontality" of Los Angeles, he explores this New World, where the carpets have an "orgasmic elasticity" and the people are "like shadows that have escaped from Plato's cave". The crowded cities are "electrifying" and "cinematic", but in the deserts Baudrillard finds a serene emptiness. For all its strangeness, America is "an amazing place". The book is sometimes Delphic ("Americans believe in facts, but not in facticity"), frequently brilliant ("there is nothing more mysterious than a TV set left on in an empty room"), but always original, memorable and even funny: "Americans may have no identity, but they do have wonderful teeth."
PD Smith

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Further Reading:
Selected Writings (PDF)
The System of Objects (PDF)
A Marginal System: Collecting (PDF/Excerpt)
The Conspiracy of Art (PDF)

Franz Kafka: Diaries (1910 – 1923)

Perfect for the upcoming hellscape brought on by August's unrelenting heat, alternates between poignant and hilarious (depending on your state of mind, sense of humor, and whether or not you have air conditioning).

These diaries cover the years 1910 to 1923, the year before Kafka’s death at the age of forty. They provide a penetrating look into life in Prague and into Kafka’s accounts of his dreams, his feelings for the father he worshipped and the woman he could not bring himself to marry, his sense of guilt, and his feelings of being an outcast. They offer an account of a life of almost unbearable intensity.

“In Kafka we have before us the modern mind splendidly trained for the great game of pretending that the world it comprehends in sterilized sobriety is the only and ultimate reality there is—yet a mind living in sin with the soul of Abraham. Thus he knows two things at once, and both with equal assurance: that there is no God, and that there must be a God. It is the perspective of the curse: the intellect dreaming of its dream of absolute freedom, and the soul knowing of its terrible bondage.”
—Erich Heller
 
“It is likely that these journals will be regarded as one of [Kafka’s] major literary works; his life and personality were perfectly suited to the diary form, and in these pages he reveals what he customarily hid from the world.”
—The New Yorker

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Additional Resources:
The Complete Stories (PDF)
The Metamorphosis (PDF)
The Trial (Ebook)

Bram Dijkstra: Idols of Perversity, Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-De-Siecle Culture

At the turn of the century, an unprecedented attack on women erupted in virtually every aspect of culture: literary, artistic, scientific, and philosophic. Throughout Europe and America, artists and intellectuals banded together to portray women as static and unindividuated beings who functioned solely in a sexual and reproductive capacity, thus formulating many of the anti-feminine platitudes that today still constrain women’s potential.
Bram Dijkstra’s Idols of Perversity explores the nature and development of turn-of-the-century misogyny in the works of hundreds of writers, artists, and scientists, including Zola, Strindberg, Wedekind, Henry James, Rossetti, Renoir, Moreau, Klimt, Darwin, and Spencer. Dijkstra demonstrates that the most prejudicial aspects of Evolutionary Theory helped to justify this wave of anti-feminine sentiment. The theory claimed that the female of the species could not participate in the great evolutionary process that would guide the intellectual male to his ultimate, predestined role as a disembodied spiritual essence. Darwinists argued that women hindered this process by their willingness to lure men back to a sham paradise of erotic materialism. To protect the male’s continued evolution, artists and intellectuals produced a flood of pseudo-scientific tracts, novels, and paintings which warned the world’s males of the evils lying beneath the surface elegance of woman’s tempting skin.
Reproducing hundreds of pictures from the period and including in-depth discussions of such key works as Dracula and Venus in Furs, this fascinating book not only exposes the crucial links between misogyny then and now, but also connects it to the racism and anti-semitism that led to catastrophic genocidal delusions in the first half of the twentieth century. Crossing the conventional boundaries of art history, sociology, the history of scientific theory, and literary analysis, Dijkstra unveils a startling view of a grim and largely one-sided war on women still being fought today.

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Roger Lipsey: The Spiritual in 20th C. Art // Wassily Kandinsky: Concerning the Spiritual in Art


In 1911, modernist painter Wassily Kandinsky published Concerning the Spiritual in Art, a treatise on the meaning of modern art and a challenge to his contemporaries to free their work from traditional bonds. Eight decades later, the distinguished scholar Roger Lipsey examined the response to Kandinsky's call with this exploration of the spiritual content of twentieth-century art.
A compelling, well-illustrated history of art and ideas, this book focuses on the works of such renowned painters as Mondrian, Klee, Picasso, Braque, Duchamp, Matisse, and Brancusi. Lipsey interprets each creation within the context of its conception, examining the movements that inspired each work, from Theosophy and Buddhism to Jungian thought and humanistic psychology. Letters, diaries, and interviews provide insights into the artists' views of spirituality and the ways in which they approached their work as a form of meditation. The eloquent and knowledgeable commentary is enhanced by 121 meticulously reproduced black-and-white illustrations.\

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A pioneering work in the movement to free art from its traditional bonds to material reality, this book is one of the most important documents in the history of modern art. Written by the famous nonobjective painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944), it explains Kandinsky's own theory of painting and crystallizes the ideas that were influencing many other modern artists of the period. Along with his own groundbreaking paintings, this book had a tremendous impact on the development of modern art.
Kandinsky's ideas are presented in two parts. The first part, called "About General Aesthetic," issues a call for a spiritual revolution in painting that will let artists express their own inner lives in abstract, non-material terms. Just as musicians do not depend upon the material world for their music, so artists should not have to depend upon the material world for their art. In the second part, "About Painting," Kandinsky discusses the psychology of colors, the language of form and color, and the responsibilities of the artist. An Introduction by the translator, Michael T. H. Sadler, offers additional explanation of Kandinsky's art and theories, while a new Preface by Richard Stratton discusses Kandinsky's career as a whole and the impact of the book. Making the book even more valuable are nine woodcuts by Kandinsky himself that appear at the chapter headings.
This English translation of Über das Geistige in der Kunst was a significant contribution to the understanding of nonobjectivism in art. It continues to be a stimulating and necessary reading experience for every artist, art student, and art patron concerned with the direction of 20th-century painting.

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Yoko Ono: Grapefruit


Grapefruit is an artist's book written by Yoko Ono, originally published in 1964. It has become famous as an early example of conceptual art, containing a series of "event scores" that replace the physical work of art -the traditional stock-in-trade of artists – with instructions that an individual may, or may not, wish to enact.

"Grapefruit is one of the monuments of conceptual art of the early 1960s. She has a lyrical, poetic dimension that sets her apart from the other conceptual artists. Her approach to art was only made acceptable when white men like Kosuth and Weiner came in and did virtually the same thing as Yoko, but made them respectable and collectible."
-David Bourdon

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Yoko Ono Reading From (Selection Of) Grapefruit