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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William Hogarth: The Analysis of Beauty 

Born three hundred years ago in Smithfield, London, William Hogarth established himself as a central figure in eighteenth-century English culture through his paintings, engravings, and outspoken art criticism. In this new edition of Hogarth’s Analysis of Beauty—a unique work combining theory with practical advice on painting—Ronald Paulson includes the complete text of the original work; an introduction that places the Analysis in the tradition of aesthetic treatises and Hogarth’s own “moral” works; extensive annotation of the text and accompanying illustrations; and illuminating manuscript passages that Hogarth omitted from the final printed version.

In the development of English aesthetics, the Analysis of Beautytakes a position of high significance. Hogarth’s stature in his own time suggests the importance of his attempt to systematize and theorize his own artistic practice. What he proposes is an aesthetics of the middle range, subordinating both the Beautiful and the Sublime to the everyday world of human choice and contingency—essentially the world of Hogarth’s own modern moral subjects, his engraved works.
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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)

James Elkins: The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing 

At first it appears that nothing could be easier than seeing. We just focus our eyes and take in whatever is before us. This ability seems detached, efficient and rational – as if the eyes were competent machines telling us everything about the world without distorting it in any way. But those ideas are just illusions, James Elkins argues, and he suggests that seeing is undependable, inconsistent and cauthg up in the threads of the unconscious. Blindness is not the opposite of vision, but its constant companion, and even the foundation of seeing itself. Using drawings, paintings, diagrams and photographs to illustrate his points, Elkins raises intriguing questions and offers astonishing perceptions about the nature of vision.
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Kirkus Reviews
Optometry and Vision Science Journal

Further Writings by the Author: 

How to Use Your Eyes (PDF)
Why Art Cannot be Taught: A Handbook for Students (PDF)
The Three Configurations of Practice Based PHDs (PDF)

Additional Resources: 

Author’s Website
Lecture: What is Research (video)
Lecture: On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art (video)
Panel: Art History in a Post Secular Age (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)

Anthology: Draw It With Your Eyes Closed: The Art of the Art Assignment

Paper Monument is pleased to announce the publication of Draw It with Your Eyes Closed: the Art of the Art Assignment, a unique and wide-ranging anthology featuring essays, drawings, and assignments from over 100 contributors including: John Baldessari, William Pope.L, Mira Schor, Rochelle Feinstein, Bob Nickas, Chris Kraus, Liam Gillick, Amy Sillman, James Benning, and Michelle Grabner. The book debuted at this year’s College Art Association conference in Los Angeles, February 22 – 25.

Art school is at a point of unprecedented popularity both as an enterprise and as an object of critical inquiry. This book examines the complex and often unruly state of art education by focusing on its signature pedagogical form, the assignment.

Practical and quixotic in equal parts, the art assignment can resemble a riddle as much as a recipe, and often sounds more like a haiku, or even a joke, than a clear directive. From introductory exercises in perspective drawing to graduate-level experiments in societal transformation, the assignment coalesces ideas about what art is, how it should be taught, and what larger purpose it might, or might not, serve.

The book is a written record of an evolving oral tradition. Bringing together hundreds of assignments, anti-assignments, and artworks from both teachers and students from a broad range of institutions, we hope it simultaneously serves as an archive and an instigation, a teaching tool and a question mark, a critique and a tribute.

Draw It with Your Eyes Closed: the Art of the Art Assignment is the second in a series of small books by Paper Monument, a journal of contemporary art published in Brooklyn, NY in association with n+1, and designed by Project Projects. The first, I Like Your Work: Art and Etiquette, is now in its fourth edition, and has been featured by WNYC’s The Brian Leher Show, Frieze, and The Economist.

With contributions from: Kamrooz Aram and Lane Arthur, Colleen Asper, Julie Ault, John Baldessari, Judith Barry, Jay Batlle, Martin Beck, James Benning, Andrew Berardini, Mary Walling Blackburn, Jesse Bransford, Thomas Brauer, Jackie Brookner, Peter Brown, Graham Campbell, Nathan Carter, Antoine Catala, Anna Craycroft, Sean Downey, Angela Dufresne, Brad Farwell, Ira Fay, Rochelle Feinstein, Rachel Foullon, Rachel Frank, Laura Frantz, Kenji Fujita, Munro Galloway, Fiona Gardner, Jackie Gendel and Tom McGrath, Liam Gillick, Alfredo Gisholt, Wayne Gonzales, Michelle Grabner, Heather Hart, Corin Hewitt, Christine Hill, Dana Hoey, Shirley Irons, Ryan Johnson, David Kearns, Bill Komodore, Chris Kraus, Julian Kreimer, Fabienne Lasserre, Margaret Lee, David Levine, Miranda Lichtenstein, Justin Lieberman, Pam Lins, Cameron Martin, Jillian Mayer, John Menick, Helen Mirra, Carrie Moyer, Julian Myers and Dominic Willsdon, Bob Nickas, Sofía Olascoaga, Demetrius Oliver, Matt Phillips, William Pope.L, Jessica Powers, Jon Pylypchuck, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Kurt Ralske, David Robbins, Harry Roseman, Aura Rosenberg, Marina Rosenfeld, George Rush, Mira Schor, Amie Siegel, Jeremy Sigler, Amy Sillman, Michael Smith, Molly Smith, Jo-ey Tang, Paul Thek, Mamie Tinkler, Dan Torop, Patricia Treib, David True, William Villalongo, Oliver Wasow, Richard Wentworth, Tommy White, and Kevin Zucker.

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Draw It With Your Eyes Closed

Brooklyn Rail Review by Norm Paris
Dushko Pretovich talks about Draw it With Your Eyes Closed (Art Forum)

Fairfield Porter: Art in its Own Terms

According to the important American poet John Ashbery, "To read Fairfield Porter is to rediscover art through the eyes of someone whose intuitive love and understanding of it has been matched by few contemporaries," while fellow New York School poet Barbara Guest wrote, "Blunt, intuitive, scholarly, inspired–I believe no other critic has so tackled the meaning of twentieth century art, has tightened our vision of it." Known as one of America's finest and most influential painters, Fairfield Porter (1907-1975) was also a prolific and highly insightful art critic. His writing not only reflects the independent, original mind that presided over his own visual works, but also covers an extraordinary period in American art, in which he played the double role of protagonist and witness. This new edition of "Art in Its Own Terms" restores to print a key statement in the ongoing discussion between Modern art and its past, as Porter reviews such figures as de Kooning, Johns, Cornell, Rodin, Cezanne, Leonardo and many others. Equally seminal are his considerations of the relations between art and science and art and politics. Rackstraw Downes' introduction beautifully sets the stage for this indispensable and wide-ranging volume.

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Additional Resources:
Material Witness: Selected Letters (PDF)
Digitized Selection: Fairfield Porter Papers (via Smithsonian)

Ad Reinhardt: Art as Art: Selected Writings of Ad Reinhardt


Ad Reinhardt is probably best known for his black paintings, which aroused as much controversy as admiration in the American art world when they were first exhibited in the 1950s. Although his ideas about art and life were often at odds with those of his contemporaries, they prefigured the ascendance of minimalism. Reinhardt's interest in the Orient and in religion, his strong convictions about the value of abstraction, and his disgust with the commercialism of the art world are as fresh and valid today as they were when he first expressed them.

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Additional Resources:
Rob Storr on Ad Reinhardt
Oral History Interview with Ad Reinhardt, 1964 (transcript)

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy: The Dance of Shiva: On Indian Art and Culture

Ananda Coomaraswamy, late curator of Indian art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, was unexcelled in his knowledge of the arts of the Orient, and unmatched in his understanding of Indian culture, language, religion, and philosophy. In this excellent reprint of a rare volume of essays, he reveals the essence of the Indian experience, rooted in "a constant intuition" of the unity and harmony of all life. Everything has its place, every being its function and all play a part in the divine concert led by Natarājā (Śiva), Lord of Dancers.
In a series of 14 stimulating and provocative essays, Coomaraswamy unfolds the vast metaphysic of India: the magnificent revelation of its art; its conception of the universe; social organization; attitudes toward feminism; problems of family; romantic love, and marriage. His sweeping commentary considers the "intellectual fraternity" of mankind; the venerable past as it survives side by side with emerging modern India; and the individual, autonomy, and repudiation of "the will to govern."
Enhancing the text are 27 black-and-white photographs — mostly of masterpieces of painting and sculpture from the second century B.C. to the eighteenth century, and including the glorious "Cosmic Dance of N taraja." This handsome volume offers rich insight into the art, philosophy, and culture of a fascinating forty-centuries-old civilization.

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Further Readings by the Author Available as PDF:
The Essential Ananda Coomaraswamy
Introduction to Indian Art
Buddha and the Gospel of Buddhism
The Aims of Indian Art (text only)

Additional Resources
A Tale of a Curator and a Collector: The Ross-Coomaraswamy Bond (Asia Society Lecture)

Lewis Hyde: Trickster Makes This World

Trickster Makes This World solidifies Lewis Hyde's reputation as, in Robert Bly's words, "the most subtle, thorough, and brilliant mythologist we now have." In it, Hyde now brings to life the playful and disruptive side of human imagination as it is embodied in trickster mythology. He first revisits the old stories–Hermes in Greece, Eshu in West Africa, Krishna in India, Coyote in North America, among others–and then holds them up against the life and work of more recent creators: Picasso, Duchamp, Ginsberg, John Cage, and Frederick Douglass. Authoritative in its scholarship, loose-limbed in its style, Trickster Makes This World ranks among the great works of modern cultural criticism.

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Profile of Lewis Hyde: What is Art? (NYT)
Review: The Guardian
Introduction to The Gift
Essay: Common as Air