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The Arts

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Coldness and Cruelty & Venus in Furs

In his stunning essay, Coldness and Cruelty, Gilles Deleuze provides a rigorous and informed philosophical examination of the work of the late 19th-century German novelist Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Deleuze's essay, certainly the most profound study yet produced on the relations between sadism and masochism, seeks to develop and explain Masoch's "peculiar way of 'desexualizing' love while at the same time sexualizing the entire history of humanity." He shows that masochism is something far more subtle and complex than the enjoyment of pain, that masochism has nothing to do with sadism; their worlds do not communicate, just as the genius of those who created them—Masoch and Sade—lie stylistically, philosophically, and politically poles a part.

Venus in Furs, the most famous of all of Masoch's novels, was written in 1870 and belongs to an unfinished cycle of works that Masoch entitled The Heritage of Cain. The cycle was to treat a series of themes including love, war, and death. The present work is about love. Although the entire constellation of symbols that has come to characterize the masochistic syndrome can be found here—fetishes, whips, disguises, fur-clad women, contracts, humiliations, punishment, and always the volatile presence of a terrible coldness—these do not eclipse the singular power of Masoch's eroticism.

Co-founder and co-editor of October magazine, a veteran of Artforum of the 1960s and early 1970s, Rosalind Krauss has presided over and shared in the major formulation of the theory of postmodernism.

In this challenging collection of fifteen essays, most of which originally appeared in October, she explores the ways in which the break in style that produced postmodernism has forced a change in our various understandings of twentieth-century art, beginning with the almost mythic idea of the avant-garde. Krauss uses the analytical tools of semiology, structuralism, and poststructuralism to reveal new meanings in the visual arts and to critique the way other prominent practitioners of art and literary history write about art. In two sections, "Modernist Myths" and "Toward Postmodernism," her essays range from the problem of the grid in painting and the unity of Giacometti's sculpture to the works of Jackson Pollock, Sol Lewitt, and Richard Serra, and observations about major trends in contemporary literary criticism.

Volume 2: 1860-1976

The second volume of a guide comprehensive guide to American Architecture, covering developments between the years 1860 and 1976.

Responding to the need she so clearly perceives, Ms. Dondis, a designer and teacher of broad experience, has provided a beginning text for art and design students and a basic text for all other students ;those who do not intend to become artists or designers but who need to acquire the essential skills of understanding visual communication at a time when so much information is being studied and transmitted in non-verbal modes, especially through photography and film. Understanding through seeing only seems to be an obviously intuitive process. Actually, developing the visual sense is something like learning a language, with its own special alphabet, lexicon, and syntax. People find it necessary to be verbally literate whether they are "writers": or not; they should find it equally necessary to be visually literate, "artists" or not.This primer is designed to teach students the interconnected arts of visual communication. The subject is presented, not as a foreign language, but as a native one that the student "knows" but cannot yet "read." The analogy provides a useful teaching method, in part because it is not overworked or too rigorously applied. This method of learning to see and read visual data has already been proved in practice, in settings ranging from Harlem to suburbia.Appropriately, the book makes some of its most telling points through visual means. Numerous illustrated examples are employed to clarify the basic elements of design (teach an alphabet), to show how they are used in simple syntactic combinations ("See Jane run."), and finally, to present the meaningful synthesis of visual information that is a finished work of art (the apprehension of poetry...).

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