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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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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Louise Gluck: Faithful and Virtuous Night


In Louise Gluck’s new collection, night takes on the dimensions of myth, becomes the setting for a sequence of journeys and explorations through time and memory, as the speaker of the poems moves backwards into childhood and forwards into ‘the kingdom of death’. Gluck draws equally on the worlds of fairy-tale, of dream and of waking life, each poem a door into a narrative both haunting and compellingly beautiful.

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Reviews:
NYT Review
New Yorker Review
NPR Review
Interviews:

For a Dollar: Louise Gluck in Conversation (transcript)

An Interview with Grace Gluck (transcript)
National Book Foundation: Interview with Grace Gluck, 2014 (transcript)

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)

Roger Shattuck: The Banquet Years: The Origins of the Avant-Garde in France 1885 to WWII


The definitive chronicle of the origins of French avant-garde literature and art, Roger Shattuck's classic portrays the cultural bohemia of turn-of-the-century Paris who carried the arts into a period of renewal and accomplishment and laid the groundwork for Dadaism and Surrealism. Shattuck focuses on the careers of Alfred Jarry, Henri Rousseau, Erik Satie, and Guillaume Apollinaire, using the quartet as window into the era as he exploring a culture whose influence is at the very foundation of modern art

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Further Reading available as PDF:
Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography

Agnes Martin: Writings

Now in its third printing, this collection of letters, journals, and lectures is the standard collection of writings by the artist. "I suggest that people who like to be alone, who walk alone, will perhaps be serious workers in the art field."–Agnes Martin.

An Excerpt from Beauty is the Mystery of Life:

All artwork is about beauty; all positive work represents it and
celebrates it. All negative art protests the lack of beauty in
our lives. When a beautiful rose dies, beauty does not die
because it is not really in the rose. Beauty is an awareness in
the mind. It is a mental and emotional response that we make. We
respond to life as though it were perfect. When we go into a
forest we do not see the fallen rotting trees. We are inspired
by a multitude of uprising trees. We even hear a silence when it
is not really silent. When we see a newborn baby we say it is
beautiful – perfect.
The goal of life is happiness and to respond to life as though
it were perfect is the way to happiness. It is also the way to
positive artwork.
It is not in the role of an artist to worry about life – to feel
responsible for creating a better world. This is a very serious
distraction. All your conditioning has been directed toward
intellectual living. This is useless in artwork. All human
knowledge is useless in artwork. Concepts, relationships,
categories, classifications, deductions are distractions of mind
that we wish to hold free for inspiration.

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Additional Reading:
Beauty is the Mystery of Life (text)
Perfection is in the mind: An Interview with Agnes Martin (transcript)
Agnes Martin speaks about Emotion and Art- The Guggenheim (transcript)

Video:
Agnes Martin: Tate Shots
Interview with Agnes Martin (1997)
Tate Lecture: Agnes Martin: Innocence the Hardway

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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Manlio Brusatin & Jean Claire: Identity and Alterity: Figures of the Body


Catalogue from the 1995 Venice Biennale, edited by the exhibition curator Jean Claire and art historian Manlio Brusatin. Includes works from the exhibition as well as great essays on the body in art.

Artists Included:
Magdalena Abakanowicz, Vincenzo Agnetti, Diane Arbus, Antonin Artaud, Francis Bacon, Giacomo Balla, Balthus , Georg Baselitz, Max Beckmann, Rudolf Belling, Hans Bellmer, Joseph Beuys, Arthur Bispo do Rosario, Umberto Boccioni, Alighiero e Boetti, Jacques-Andre Boiffard, Christian Boltanski, Pierre Bonnard, Emile-Antoine Bourdelle, Louise Bourgeois, Constantin Brancusi, André Breton, Günter Brus, Alberto Burri, Carlo Carrà, Felice Casorati, Mario Ceroli, César , Paul Cézanne, Helen Chadwick, Marc Chagall, Camille Claudel, Clegg & Guttmann, Francesco Clemente, Chuck Close, Jean Cocteau, Merce Cunningham, Giorgio De Chirico, Willem De Kooning, Paul Delvaux, Maurice Denis, Fortunato Depero, Otto Dix, Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Marlene Dumas, Thomas Eakins, James Ensor, Jean Fautrier, Eric Fischl, Fischli / Weiss, Barry Flanagan, Lucio Fontana, Lucian Freud, Katharina Fritsch, Paola Gandolfi, Paul Gauguin, Alberto Giacometti, Andy Goldsworthy, Philip Guston, Otto Gutfreund, Renato Guttuso, Hans Haacke, Mona Hatoum, Gary Hill, Hiroschi Senju, David Hockney, Ferdinand Hodler, Martin Honert, Stephan von Huene, Jörg Immendorff, Jehon Soo Cheon, György Jovanovics, Wassily Kandinsky, Mike Kelley, André Kertész, Fernand Khnopff, Ronald B. Kitaj, Yves Klein, Gustav Klimt, Peter Kogler, Oskar Kokoschka, Leon Kossoff, Richard Kriesche, Eugène Leroy, Max Liebermann, Markus Lüpertz, Akram el Magdoub, Aristide Maillol, Kasimir Malewitsch, Man Ray, Paul McCarthy, Piero Manzoni, Giacomo Manzù, Marino Marini, Henri Matisse, Ludwig Meidner, Fausto Melotti, Mario Merz, Joan Miró, Amedeo Modigliani, Robert Morris, Edvard Munch, Viktor Musiano, Zoran Music, Bruce Nauman, Joshua Neustein, Nunzio , Georgia O ́Keeffe, Roman Opalka, Meret Oppenheim, Ubaldo Oppi, Giulio Paolini, Claudio Parmiggiani, Pino Pascali, Giuseppe Penone, Pablo Picasso, Gianni Pisani, Jackson Pollock, Kathy Prendergast, Arnulf Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg, Auguste Rodin, Medardo Rosso, Thomas Ruff, Ivo Saliger, Alberto Savinio, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Scipione , Giovanni Segantini, Andres Serrano, Gino Severini, Medhat Shafik, Cindy Sherman, Mario Sironi, Kiki Smith, Ettore Sottsass, Ettore Spalletti, Mark di Suvero, Takis , Wayne Thiebaud, Ben Vautier, Didier Vermeiren, Bill Viola, Andy Warhol, Adolf Wissel, Wols , Carlo & Wanda Wulz, Yan Peiming, Gilberto Zorio

Further Resources:
NYT Review: Past Upstages Present at Venice Biennale
Selected Images of Works Included

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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