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George Baker

George Baker is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an editor at October magazine and October Books. He is the editor of James Coleman (MIT Press) and a frequent contributor to Artforum.

Titles by This Author

Francis Picabia and Dada in Paris

The artist Francis Picabia—notorious dandy, bon vivant, painter, poet, filmmaker, and polemicist—has emerged as the Dadaist with postmodern appeal, and one of the most enigmatic forces behind the enigma that was Dada. In this first book in English to focus on Picabia's work in Paris during the Dada years, art historian and critic George Baker reimagines Dada through Picabia's eyes.

Such reimagining involves a new account of the readymade—Marcel Duchamp's anti-art invention, which opened fine art to mass culture and the commodity. But in Picabia's hands, Baker argues, the Dada readymade aimed to reinvent art rather than destroy it. Picabia's readymade opened art not just to the commodity, but to the larger world from which the commodity stems: the fluid sea of capital and money that transforms all objects and experiences in its wake. The book thus tells the story of a set of newly transformed artistic practices, claiming them for art history—and naming them—for the first time: Dada Drawing, Dada Painting, Dada Photography, Dada Abstraction, Dada Cinema, Dada Montage. Along the way, Baker describes a series of nearly forgotten objects and events, from the almost lunatic range of the Paris Dada "manifestations" to Picabia's polemical writings; from a lost work by Picabia in the form of a hole (called, suggestively, The Young Girl ) to his "painting" Cacodylic Eye, covered in autographs by luminaries ranging from Ezra Pound to Fatty Arbuckle.

Baker ends with readymades in prose: a vast interweaving of citations and quotations that converge to create a heated conversation among Picabia, André Breton, Tristan Tzara, James Joyce, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, and others. Art history has never looked like this before. But then again, Dada has never looked like art history.

Titles by This Editor

Edited by George Baker

James Coleman has emerged in recent years as one of the most important artists of visual postmodernism. His work has transformed critical debates about the status of the image in contemporary culture and influenced an entire generation of younger artists in ways that have not yet been fully acknowledged. Until recently, Coleman has enjoyed relatively little critical attention—in part because of his refusal to comment on his projects or to allow his work to be reconstructed outside of the context of its exhibition.

The illustrated essays in this book span the entirety of Coleman's career to date, from his early postminimal and conceptual experiments with memory and perception, through his work in film, video, and narrative in the 1980s, to his current ongoing series of slide projections with voice-over that he calls simply "projected images." Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the debates induced by Coleman's work, the essays discuss issues of subjectivity and identity, nationalism, postcolonialism, memory, spectacle culture, digitalization, and new media. The contributors are Raymond Bellour, Benjamin Buchloh, Lynne Cooke, Jean Fisher, Luke Gibbons, Rosalind Krauss, Anne Rorimer, and Kaja Silverman. Written by curators, critics, and scholars and spanning the fields of art history, literary criticism, philosophy, and film theory, the essays attest to the interdisciplinary challenge of Coleman's work.