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The Arts

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Since the 1970s, the South African artist William Kentridge has charted the turbulent terrain of his homeland in both personal and political terms. With erudition, absurdist humor, and an underlying hope in humankind, Kentridge’s artwork has examined apartheid, humanitarian atrocities, aging, and the ambiguities of growing up white and Jewish in South Africa. This October Files volume brings together critical essays and interviews that explore Kentridge’s work and shed light on the unique working processes behind his drawings, prints, stop-animation films, and theater works.

Media, Utopias, Ecologies

Postwar artists and architects have used photography, film, and other media to imagine and record the world as a wonder of collaborative entanglement—to translate the world for the world. In this book, Janine Marchessault examines a series of utopian media events that opened up and expanded the cosmos, creating ecstatic collective experiences for spectators and participants.

It may be time to forget the art world--or at least to recognize that a certain historical notion of the art world is in eclipse. Today, the art world spins on its axis so quickly that its maps can no longer be read; its borders blur. In Forgetting the Art World, Pamela Lee connects the current state of this world to globalization and its attendant controversies. Contemporary art has responded to globalization with images of movement and migration, borders and multitudes, but Lee looks beyond iconography to view globalization as a world process.

Warhol’s Factory of the 1960s, Minimalism’s assembly-line aesthetics, conceptual and feminist concern with workers’ conditions in the 1970s—these are among the antecedents of a renewed focus on the work of art: labor as artistic activity, as artistic method and as object of artistic engagement. In 2002, the “Work Ethic” exhibition curated by Helen Molesworth at the Baltimore Museum of Art took its cue from recent art to spotlight this earlier era of artistic practice in which activity became as valid as, and often dispensed with, object-production.

Music in video games is often a sophisticated, complex composition that serves to engage the player, set the pace of play, and aid interactivity. Composers of video game music must master an array of specialized skills not taught in the conservatory, including the creation of linear loops, music chunks for horizontal resequencing, and compositional fragments for use within a generative framework.

Edited by Sven Spieker

The effects and meanings of destruction are central to the work of many of our most influential artists. Since the early 1960s, artists have employed destruction to creative ends. Here destruction changes from a negative state or passive condition to a highly productive category. The destructive subversion of media imagery aims to release us from its controlling effects. The self-destructing artwork extinguishes art’s fixity as arrested form and ushers in the ephemeral and contingent "open work."

Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011
Edited by Nato Thompson

Over the past twenty years, an abundance of art forms have emerged that use aesthetics to affect social dynamics. These works are often produced by collectives or come out of a community context; they emphasize participation, dialogue, and action, and appear in situations ranging from theater to activism to urban planning to visual art to health care. Engaged with the texture of living, these art works often blur the line between art and life.

The Tarot Deck of Austin Osman Spare
Edited by Jonathan Allen

In the spring of 2013, a seventy-nine-card, hand-painted tarot deck created c.1906 by the mystic and artist Austin Osman Spare, was identified within the collections of The Magic Circle Museum in London.

Picture for Women

Jeff Wall’s Picture for Women (1979) marks the transition of photography as an art form from the printed page to the gallery wall. Before this, photographs—from the orthodox photographic work of Walker Evans to the Conceptual photography of Dan Graham—seemed intended for the page even when hung in a gallery. In Picture for Women, a woman looks outward, as if at the viewer; a camera occupies the center of the photograph; the photographer stands on the right.

Currencies of the Contemporary

Since the 1990s, Thai contemporary art has achieved international recognition, circulating globally by way of biennials, museums, and commercial galleries. Many Thai artists have shed identification with their nation; but “Thainess” remains an interpretive crutch for understanding their work. In this book, the curator and critic David Teh examines the tension between the global and the local in Thai contemporary art.

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