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A History of Anti-Perspective

For more than half a century, Erwin Panofsky’s Perspective as Symbolic Form has dominated studies of visual representation. Despite the hegemony of central projection, or perspective, other equally important methods of representation have much to tell us. Parallel projection can be found on classical Greek vases, in Pompeiian frescoes, in Byzantine mosaics; it returned in works of the historical avant-garde, and remains the dominant form of representation in China. In Oblique Drawing, Massimo Scolari investigates “anti-perspective” visual representation over two thousand years, finding in the course of his investigation that visual and conceptual representations are manifestations of the ideological and philosophical orientations of different cultures. Images prove to be not just a form of art but a form of thought, a projection of a way of life.

Scolari’s generously illustrated studies show that illusionistic perspective is not the only, or even the best, representation of objects in history; parallel projection, for example, preserves in scale the actual measurements of objects it represents, avoiding the distortions of one-point perspective. Scolari analyzes the use of nonperspectival representations in pre-Renaissance images of machines and military hardware, architectural models and drawings, and illustrations of geometrical solids. He challenges Panofsky’s theory of Pompeiian perspective and explains the difficulties encountered by the Chinese when they viewed Jesuit missionaries’ perspectival religious images.

Scolari vividly demonstrates the diversity of representational forms devised through the centuries, and shows how each one reveals something that is lacking in the others.

The Writings of Hollis Frampton

As Hollis Frampton’s photographs and celebrated experimental films were testing the boundaries of “the camera arts” in the 1960s and 1970s, his provocative and highly literate writings were attempting to establish an intellectually resonant form of discourse for these critically underexplored fields. It was a time when artists working in diverse disciplines were beginning to pick up cameras and produce films and videotapes, well before these practices were understood or embraced by institutions of contemporary art. This collection of Frampton’s writings presents his critical essays (many written for Artforum and October) along with additional material, including lectures, correspondence, interviews, and production notes and scripts. It replaces--and supersedes--the long-unavailable Circles of Confusion, published in 1983. Frampton ranged widely over the visual arts in his writing, and the texts in this collection display his unique approaches to photography, film, and video, as well as the plastic and literary arts. They include critically acclaimed essays on Edward Weston and Eadweard Muybridge as well as appraisals of contemporary photographers; the influential essay, “For a Metahistory of Film,” along with scripts, textual material, and scores for his films; writings on video that constitute a prehistory of the digital arts; a dialogue with Carl Andre (his friend and former Phillips Andover classmate) from the early 1960s; and two inventive, almost unclassifiable pieces that are reminiscent of Borges, Joyce, and Beckett.

The Rehumanization of Art and Literature

The human figure made a spectacular return in visual art and literature in the 1920s. Following modernism’s withdrawal, nonobjective painting gave way to realistic depictions of the body and experimental literary techniques were abandoned for novels with powerfully individuated characters. But the celebrated return of the human in the interwar years was not as straightforward as it may seem. In Realism after Modernism, Devin Fore challenges the widely accepted view that this period represented a return to traditional realist representation and its humanist postulates. Interwar realism, he argues, did not reinstate its nineteenth-century predecessor but invoked realism as a strategy of mimicry that anticipates postmodernist pastiche.

Through close readings of a series of works by German artists and writers of the period, Fore investigates five artistic devices that were central to interwar realism. He analyzes Bauhaus polymath László Moholy-Nagy’s use of linear perspective; three industrial novels riven by the conflict between the temporality of capital and that of labor; Brecht’s socialist realist plays, which explore new dramaturgical principles for depicting a collective subject; a memoir by Carl Einstein that oscillates between recollection and self-erasure; and the idiom of physiognomy in the photomontages of John Heartfield.

Fore’s readings reveal that each of these “rehumanized” works in fact calls into question the very categories of the human upon which realist figuration is based. Paradoxically, even as the human seemed to make a triumphal return in the culture of the interwar period, the definition of the human and the integrity of the body were becoming more tenuous than ever before. Interwar realism did not hearken back to earlier artistic modes but posited new and unfamiliar syntaxes of aesthetic encounter, revealing the emergence of a human subject quite unlike anything that had come before.

In No Medium, Craig Dworkin looks at works that are blank, erased, clear, or silent, writing critically and substantively about works for which there would seem to be not only nothing to see but nothing to say. Examined closely, these ostensibly contentless works of art, literature, and music point to a new understanding of media and the limits of the artistic object.

Dworkin considers works predicated on blank sheets of paper, from a fictional collection of poems in Jean Cocteau’s Orphée to the actual publication of a ream of typing paper as a book of poetry; he compares Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning Drawing to the artist Nick Thurston’s erased copy of Maurice Blanchot’s The Space of Literature (in which only Thurston’s marginalia were visible); and he scrutinizes the sexual politics of photographic representation and the implications of obscured or obliterated subjects of photographs. Reexamining the famous case of John Cage’s 4’33”, Dworkin links Cage’s composition to Rauschenberg’s White Paintings, Ken Friedman’s Zen for Record (and Nam June Paik’s Zen for Film), and other works, offering also a “guide to further listening” that surveys more than 100 scores and recordings of “silent” music.

Dworkin argues that we should understand media not as blank, base things but as social events, and that there is no medium, understood in isolation, but only and always a plurality of media: interpretive activities taking place in socially inscribed space.

Educational Complex

One of the most influential artists of our time, Mike Kelley (1954–2012) produced a body of innovative work mining American popular culture as well as modernist and postmodernist art—relentless examinations of subjectivity and of society that are both sinister and ecstatic. With a wide range of media, Kelley’s work explores themes as varied as post-punk politics, religious systems, social class, and repressed memory. Using architectural models to represent schools he attended, his 1995 work, Educational Complex, presents forgotten spaces as frames for private trauma, real or imagined. The work’s implications are at once miniature and massive. In this book, John Miller offers an illustrated examination of this milestone work that marked a significant change in Kelley’s practice.

A “complex” can mean an architectural configuration, a psychological syndrome, or a political apparatus, and Miller approaches Educational Complex through corresponding lines of inquiry, considering the making of the work, examining it in terms of education and trauma (sexual or otherwise), and investigating how it tests the ideological horizon of art as an institution. Miller shows that in Educational Complex, Kelley expands his political and aesthetic focus, including not only such artifacts as generic forms of architecture but (inspired by the infamous McMartin Preschool case) popular fantasies associated with ritual sex abuse and false memory syndrome. Through this archaeology of the contemporary, Miller argues, Kelley examines the mandate for education and the liberal democratic premises underpinning it.

Two Millennia of the Classical Roman Capital
Edited by Paul Shaw

The fiftieth anniversary of Helvetica, the most famous of all sans serif typefaces, was celebrated with an excitement unusual in the staid world of typography and culminated in the release of the first movie ever made starring a typeface. Yet Helvetica’s fifty-year milestone pales in comparison with the two thousandth anniversary in 2014 of Trajan’s Column and its famous inscription—the preeminent illustration of the classical Roman capital letter. For, despite the modern ascendance of the sans serif, serif typefaces, most notably Times Roman, still dominate printed matter and retain a strong presence in screen-based communication. The Eternal Letter is a lavishly illustrated examination of the enduring influence of, and many variations on, the classical Roman capital letter.

The Eternal Letter offers a series of essays by some of the most highly regarded practitioners in the fields of typography, lettering, and stone carving. They discuss the subtleties of the classical Roman capital letter itself, different iterations of it over the years, and the work of famous typographers and craftsmen. The essays cover such topics as efforts to calculate a geometric formulation of the Trajan letters; the recalculation of their proportions by early typefounders; the development and astonishing popularity of Adobe Trajan; type and letter designs by Father Edward M. Catich, Frederic W. Goudy, Eric Gill, Jan van Krimpen, Hermann Zapf, Matthew Carter, and others; the influence of Trajan in Russia; and three generations of lettercarvers at the John Stevens Shop in Newport, Rhode Island. Essays about modern typefaces—including Matinia, Senatus, and Penumbra—are contributed by the designers of these typefaces.

Contributors
John and Nicholas Benson, Frank E. Blokland, Matthew Carter, Ewan Clayton, Lance Hidy, Jost Hochuli, Jonathan Hoefler, Richard Kindersley, Scott-Martin Kosofsky, Gerry Leonidas, Martin Majoor, Steve Matteson, Gregory MacNaughton, James Mosley, Tom Perkins, Yves Peters, Ryan L. Roth, Werner Schneider, Paul Shaw, Julian Waters, Maxim Zhukov

A History of New Media in Theater, Dance, Performance Art, and Installation

The past decade has seen an extraordinarily intense period of experimentation with computer technology within the performing arts. Digital media has been increasingly incorporated into live theater and dance, and new forms of interactive performance have emerged in participatory installations, on CD-ROM, and on the Web. In Digital Performance, Steve Dixon traces the evolution of these practices, presents detailed accounts of key practitioners and performances, and analyzes the theoretical, artistic, and technological contexts of this form of new media art. Dixon finds precursors to today's digital performances in past forms of theatrical technology that range from the deus ex machina of classical Greek drama to Wagner's Gesamtkunstwerk (concept of the total artwork), and draws parallels between contemporary work and the theories and practices of Constructivism, Dada, Surrealism, Expressionism, Futurism, and multimedia pioneers of the twentieth century. For a theoretical perspective on digital performance, Dixon draws on the work of Philip Auslander, Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Jean Baudrillard, and others. To document and analyze contemporary digital performance practice, Dixon considers changes in the representation of the body, space, and time. He considers virtual bodies, avatars, and digital doubles, as well as performances by artists including Stelarc, Robert Lepage, Merce Cunningham, Laurie Anderson, Blast Theory, and Eduardo Kac. He investigates new media’s novel approaches to creating theatrical spectacle, including virtual reality and robot performance work, telematic performances in which remote locations are linked in real time, Webcams, and online drama communities, and considers the "extratemporal" illusion created by some technological theater works. Finally, he defines categories of interactivity, from navigational to participatory and collaborative. Dixon challenges dominant theoretical approaches to digital performance—including what he calls postmodernism's denial of the new—and offers a series of boldly original arguments in their place.

Edited by Lisa Lee

Since the late 1970s, the Berlin-based contemporary artist Isa Genzken (b. 1948) has produced a body of work that is remarkable for its formal and material inventiveness. In her sculptural practice, Genzken has developed an expanded material repertoire that includes plaster, concrete, epoxy resin, and mass-produced objects that range from action figures to discarded pizza boxes. Her heterogeneous assemblages, a New York Times critic observes, are “brash, improvisational, full of searing color and attitude.” Genzken, the recent subject of a major retrospective at MoMA, offers a highly original interpretation of modernist, avant-garde, and postminimalist practices even as she engages pressing sociopolitics and economic issues of the present.

These illustrated essays address the full span of Genzken’s work, from the elegant floor sculptures with which she began her career to the assemblages, bursting with color and bristling with bric-a-brac, that she has produced since the beginning of the millennium. The texts, by writers including Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, and the artist herself, consider her formation in the West German milieu; her critique of conventions of architecture, reconstruction, and memorialization; her sympathy with mass culture; and her ongoing interrogation of public and private spheres. Two texts appear in English for the first time, including a quasi-autobiographical screenplay written by Genzken in 1993.

Contributors
Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Diedrich Diederichsen, Hal Foster, Isa Genzken, Isabelle Graw, Lisa Lee, Pamela M. Lee, Birgit Pelzer, Juliane Rebentisch, Josef Strau, Wolfgang Tillmans, Lawrence Weiner

Contents

Isa Genzken: Two Exercises (1974)
Birgit Pelzer: Axiomatics Subject to Withdrawal (1979)
Benjamin H. D. Buchloh: Isa Genzken: The Fragment as Model (1992)
Benjamin H. D. Buchloh: Isa Genzken: Fuck the Bauhaus. Architecture, Design, and Photography in Reverse (2014)
Isa Genzken: Sketches for a Feature Film (1993)
Isabelle Graw: Free to Be Dependent: Concessions in the Work of Isa Genzken (1996)
Diedrich Diederichsen: Subjects at the End of the Flagpole (2000)
Pamela M. Lee: The Skyscraper at Ear Level (2003)
Benjamin H. D. Buchloh: All Things Being Equal (2005)
Wolfgang Tillmans: Isa Genzken: A Conversation with Wolfgang Tillmans (2003)
Diedrich Diederichsen: Diedrich Diederichsen in Conversation with Isa Genzken (2006)
Lisa Lee: “Make Life Beautiful!” The Diabolic in the Work of Isa Genzken (A Tour Through Berlin, Paris, and New York) (2007)
Lawrence Weiner: Isa Genzken Again (2010)
Juliane Rebentisch: The Dialectic of Beauty: On the Work of Isa Genzken (2007)
Yve-Alain Bois: The Bum and the Architect (2007)
Josef Strau: Isa Genzken: Sculpture as Narrative Urbanism (2009)
Hal Foster: Fantastic Destruction (2014)

A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists

The visual arts are rapidly changing as media moves into the web, mobile devices, and architecture. When designers and artists learn the basics of writing software, they develop a new form of literacy that enables them to create new media for the present, and to imagine future media that are beyond the capacities of current software tools. This book introduces this new literacy by teaching computer programming within the context of the visual arts. It offers a comprehensive reference and text for Processing (www.processing.org), an open-source programming language that can be used by students, artists, designers, architects, researchers, and anyone who wants to program images, animation, and interactivity. Written by Processing’s cofounders, the book offers a definitive reference for students and professionals. Tutorial chapters make up the bulk of the book; advanced professional projects from such domains as animation, performance, and installation are discussed in interviews with their creators.

This second edition has been thoroughly updated. It is the first book to offer in-depth coverage of Processing 2.0 and 3.0, and all examples have been updated for the new syntax. Every chapter has been revised, and new chapters introduce new ways to work with data and geometry. New “synthesis” chapters offer discussion and worked examples of such topics as sketching with code, modularity, and algorithms. New interviews have been added that cover a wider range of projects. “Extension” chapters are now offered online so they can be updated to keep pace with technological developments in such fields as computer vision and electronics.

Interviews
SUE.C, Larry Cuba, Mark Hansen, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Jürg Lehni, LettError, Golan Levin and Zachary Lieberman, Benjamin Maus, Manfred Mohr, Ash Nehru, Josh On, Bob Sabiston, Jennifer Steinkamp, Jared Tarbell, Steph Thirion, Robert Winter

 

(Pr) Casey Reas from Protein® on Vimeo.

 

Benefits and Challenges for Learning and Assessment

Professional and amateur musicians alike use social media as a platform for showcasing and promoting their music. Social media evaluation practices—rating, ranking, voting, “liking,” and “friending” by ordinary users, peers, and critics—have become essential promotional tools for musicians. In this report, H. Cecilia Suhr examines one recent development in online music evaluation: the use of digital badges to aid in assessment and evaluation. Digital badges have emerged in recent years as a potential credentialing method in informal learning environments. Suhr explores online music communities’ use of digital badges as a reward for both casual music evaluators and musicians.

Suhr examines the intersection of evaluation and gamification in Spotify’s “Hit or Not” game, in which players assess a song’s hit potential and receive digital badges as rewards, and considers the implications of turning music evaluation into a game. She then explores in detail the development of peer and professional critics on Indaba Music, a cloud-based collaboration platform where musicians earn badges through participating in contests. Suhr considers the emerging challenges and shortcomings of contest-based virtual communities and the value of badges, as perceived by Indaba musicians. She investigates to what extent digital badges can effectively represent and credit musicians’ accomplishments and merits; describes the challenges, benefits, and shortcomings of digital badges as an evaluation mechanism; and compares the use of digital badges in assessing creativity to their use in learning and credentialing institutions.

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