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The Arts

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Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility

The increasing representation of trans identity throughout art and popular culture in recent years has been nothing if not paradoxical. Trans visibility is touted as a sign of a liberal society, but it has coincided with a political moment marked both by heightened violence against trans people (especially trans women of color) and by the suppression of trans rights under civil law. Trap Door grapples with these contradictions.
 

Cognition, Computing, Art, and Embodiment

In Making Sense, Simon Penny proposes that internalist conceptions of cognition have minimal purchase on embodied cognitive practices. Much of the cognition involved in arts practices remains invisible under such a paradigm. Penny argues that the mind-body dualism of Western humanist philosophy is inadequate for addressing performative practices. Ideas of cognition as embodied and embedded provide a basis for the development of new ways of speaking about the embodied and situated intelligences of the arts.

Bliz-aard Ball Sale

One wintry day in 1983, alongside other street sellers in the East Village, David Hammons peddled snowballs of various sizes. He had neatly laid them out in graduated rows and spent the day acting as obliging salesman.

Between Contemporary Art and Curatorial Discourse

Contemporary art and curatorial work, and the institutions that house them, have often been centers of power, hierarchy, control, value, and discipline. Even the most progressive among them face the dilemma of existing as institutionalized anti-institutions. This anthology–taking its title from Mary Douglas’s 1986 book, How Institutions Think–reconsiders the practices, habits, models, and rhetoric of the institution and the anti-institution in contemporary art and curating.

An Essay on Albrecht Dürer's Melencolia I

Albrecht Dürer’s famous portrayal of creative effort in paralysis, the unsurpassed masterpiece of copperplate engraving titled Melencolia I, has stood for centuries as a pictorial summa of knowledge about the melancholic temperament, a dense allegory of the limits of earthbound arts and sciences and the impossibility of attaining perfection. Dubbed the “image of images” for being the most zealously interpreted picture in the Western canon, Melencolia I also presides over the origins of modern iconology, art history’s own science of meaning.

Music of the Hemispheres

Polyphony—the interweaving of simultaneous sounds—is a crucial aspect of music that has deep implications for how we understand the mind. In Polyphonic Minds, Peter Pesic examines the history and significance of “polyphonicity”—of “many-voicedness”—in human experience. Pesic presents the emergence of Western polyphony, its flowering, its horizons, and the perspective it offers on our own polyphonic brains.

The Life of Paula Modersohn-Becker

First published in France in 2016, Being Here Is So Much traces the short, obscure, and prolific life of the German expressionist painter Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876–1907).

Actions, Traces, Journeys 1967–2017

Wanderlust highlights artists as voyagers who leave their studios to make art. This book (and the exhibition it accompanies) is the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s need to roam and the work that emerges from this need. Wanderlust presents the work of under-recognized yet pioneering artists alongside their well-known counterparts, and represents works that vary in process, with some artists working as solitary figures implanting themselves physically on the landscape while others perform and create movements in a collaborative manner or in public.

On the Art of Living Absently

In Liquidation World, Alexi Kukuljevic examines a distinctive form of subjectivity animating the avant-garde: that of the darkly humorous and utterly disoriented subject of modernity, a dissolute figure that makes an art of its own vacancy, an object of its absence. Shorn of the truly rotten illusion that the world is a fulfilling and meaningful place, these subjects identify themselves by a paradoxical disidentification—through the objects that take their places. They have mastered the art of living absently, of making something with nothing.

Media Art and Activism

The innovative French media artist and prankster-provocateur Fred Forest first gained notoriety in 1972 when he inserted a small blank space in Le Monde, called it 150 cm2 of Newspaper (150 cm2 de papier journal), and invited readers to fill in the space with their own work and mail their efforts to him. In 1977, he satirized speculation in both the art and real estate markets by offering the first parcel of officially registered “artistic square meters” of undeveloped rural land for sale at an art auction.

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