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The Arts

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This book introduces programming to readers with a background in the arts and humanities; there are no prerequisites, and no knowledge of computation is assumed. In it, Nick Montfort reveals programming to be not merely a technical exercise within given constraints but a tool for sketching, brainstorming, and inquiring about important topics. He emphasizes programming’s exploratory potential—its facility to create new kinds of artworks and to probe data for new ideas.

Edited by Erika Balsom and Hila Peleg

Contemporary engagements with documentary are multifaceted and complex, reaching across disciplines to explore the intersections of politics and aesthetics, representation and reality, truth and illusion. Discarding the old notions of “fly on the wall” immediacy or quasi-scientific aspirations to objectivity, critics now understand documentary not as the neutral picturing of reality but as a way of coming to terms with reality through images and narrative.

Warhol Marilyn

Warhol Marilyn (1965) is not a work by Andy Warhol but by the artist Elaine Sturtevant (1930–2014). Throughout her career, Sturtevant (as she preferred to be called) remade and exhibited works by other contemporary artists, among them Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Rauschenberg. For Warhol Marilyn, Sturtevant used one of Warhol’s own silkscreens from his series of Marilyn printed multiples. (When asked how he made his silkscreened work, Warhol famously answered, “I don’t know.

A Research Companion

The wide-ranging texts in this book take as their premise the idea that sound is a subject through which popular culture can be analyzed in an innovative way. From an infant’s gurgles over a baby monitor to the roar of the crowd in a stadium to the sub-bass frequencies produced by sound systems in the disco era, sound—not necessarily aestheticized as music—is inextricably part of the many domains of popular culture.

Cross-Currents in Art and Technology

The daguerreotype, invented in France, came to America in 1839. By 1851, this early photographic method had been improved by American daguerreotypists to such a degree that it was often referred to as “the American process.” The daguerreotype—now perhaps mostly associated with stiffly posed portraits of serious-visaged nineteenth-century personages—was an extremely detailed photographic image, produced though a complicated process involving a copper plate, light-sensitive chemicals, and mercury fumes.

Contemporary art in the early twenty-first century is often discussed as if the very idea of art that is contemporary is new. Yet all works of art were once contemporary. In What Was Contemporary Art? Richard Meyer reclaims the contemporary from historical amnesia, and gives the contemporary its own art history.

Xerography, Art, and Activism in the Late Twentieth Century

This is the story of how the xerographic copier, or “Xerox machine,” became a creative medium for artists and activists during the last few decades of the twentieth century. Paper jams, mangled pages, and even fires made early versions of this clunky office machine a source of fear, rage, dread, and disappointment. But eventually, xerography democratized print culture by making it convenient and affordable for renegade publishers, zinesters, artists, punks, anarchists, queers, feminists, street activists, and others to publish their work and to get their messages out on the street.

In a career that spanned five decades, most of them spent in San Francisco, Bruce Conner (1933–2008) produced a unique body of work that refused to be contained by medium or style. Whether making found-footage films, hallucinatory ink-blot graphics, enigmatic collages, or assemblages from castoffs, Conner took up genres as quickly as he abandoned them. In this first book-length study of Conner’s enormously influential but insufficiently understood career, Kevin Hatch explores Conner’s work as well as his position on the geographical, cultural, and critical margins.

Toward a New Aesthetic Paradigm

In this book, Tim Hodgkinson proposes a theory of aesthetics and music grounded in the boundary between nature and culture within the human being. His analysis discards the conventional idea of the human being as an integrated whole in favor of a rich and complex field in which incompatible kinds of information—biological and cultural—collide. It is only when we acknowledge the clash of body and language within human identity that we can understand how art brings forth the special form of subjectivity potentially present in aesthetic experiences.

Artists as Cartographers

From Guy Debord in the early 1950s to Richard Long, Janet Cardiff, and Esther Polak more recently, contemporary artists have returned again and again to the walking motif. Today, the convergence of global networks, online databases, and new tools for mobile mapping coincides with a resurgence of interest in walking as an art form. In Walking and Mapping, Karen O’Rourke explores a series of walking/mapping projects by contemporary artists.

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