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The Arts

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Encounters between Art and Architecture

Expansion, convergence, adjacency, projection, rapport, and intersection are a few of the terms used to redraw the boundaries between art and architecture during the last thirty-five years. If modernists invented the model of an ostensible “synthesis of the arts,” their postmodern progeny promoted the semblance of pluralist fusion. In 1979, reacting against contemporary art’s transformation of modernist medium-specificity into postmodernist medium multiplicity, the art historian Rosalind Krauss published an essay, “Sculpture in the Expanded Field,” that laid out in a precise diagram the structural parameters of sculpture, architecture, and landscape art. Krauss tried to clarify what these art practices were, what they were not, and what they could become if logically combined. The essay soon assumed a canonical status and affected subsequent developments in all three fields. Retracing the Expanded Field revisits Krauss’s hugely influential text and maps the ensuing interactions between art and architecture.

Responding to Krauss and revisiting the milieu from which her text emerged, artists, architects, and art historians of different generations offer their perspectives on the legacy of “Sculpture in the Expanded Field.” Krauss herself takes part in a roundtable discussion (moderated by Hal Foster). A selection of historical documents, including Krauss’s essay, presented as it appeared in October, accompany the main text. Neither eulogy nor hagiography, Retracing the Expanded Field documents the groundbreaking nature of Krauss’s authoritative text and reveals the complex interchanges between art and architecture that increasingly shape both fields.

Contributors
Stan Allen, George Baker, Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin Buchloh, Beatriz Colomina, Penelope Curtis, Sam Durant, Edward Eigen, Kurt W. Forster, Hal Foster, Kenneth Frampton, Branden W. Joseph, Rosalind Krauss, Miwon Kwon, Sylvia Lavin, Sandro Marpillero, Josiah McElheny, Eve Meltzer, Michael Meredith, Mary Miss, Sarah Oppenheimer, Matthew Ritchie, Julia Robinson, Joe Scanlan, Emily Eliza Scott, Irene Small, Philip Ursprung, Anthony Vidler

• A boarder for two years following a national funeral, Mirabeau is removed from the Pantheon and transferred to the cemetery of Clamart when his pornographic novels are discovered • A photograph taken by Hessling on Christmas night, 1943, of a young woman nailed alive to the village gate of Novimgorod; Hessling asks his friend Wolfgang Borchert to develop the film, look at the photograph, and destroy it • The Beautiful Gardener, a picture by Max Ernst, burned by the Nazis
—from The Missing Pieces

The Missing Pieces is an incantatory text, a catalog of what has been lost over time and what in some cases never existed. Through a lengthy chain of brief, laconic citations, Henri Lefebvre evokes the history of what is no more and what never was: the artworks, films, screenplays, negatives, poems, symphonies, buildings, letters, concepts, and lives that cannot be seen, heard, read, inhabited, or known about. It is a literary vanitas of sorts, but one that confers an almost mythical quality on the enigmatic creations it recounts—rather than reminding us of the death that inhabits everything humans create.

Lefebvre’s list includes Marcel Duchamp’s (accdidentally destroyed) film of Man Ray shaving off the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven’s pubic hair; the page written by Balzac on his deathbed (lost); Spinoza's Treatise on the Rainbow (thrown into a fire); the final seven meters of Kerouac’s original typescript for On the Road (eaten by a dog); the chalk drawings of Francis Picabia (erased before an audience); and the one moment in André Malraux's life in which he exclaimed “I believe, for a minute, I was thinking nothing.” The Missing Pieces offers a treasure trove of cultural and artistic detail and will entertain even those readers not enamored of the void.

Sound, Sense, Economy, and Ecology

In this wide-ranging book, Frances Dyson examines the role of sound in the development of economic and ecological systems that are today in crisis. Connecting early theories of harmony, cosmology, and theological doctrine to contemporary media and governance, Dyson uses sound, tone, music, voice, and noise as forms of sonority through which the crises of “eco” can be read. The sonic environment, Dyson argues, is fundamental to both sense and sensibility, and its delimitation has contributed to the “senselessness” of a world now caught between spiraling debt and environmental degradation.

Dyson draws on scenes, historical moments, artworks, and artistic and theoretical practice to situate the reverberative atmosphere that surrounds and sustains us. From Pythagoras’s hammer and the transmutation of music into mathematics, to John Cage’s famous experience in the anechoic chamber, to the relocation of the stock market from the street to the computer screen, to Occupy Wall Street’s “people’s microphone”: Dyson finds policies and practices of exclusion. The sound of Pythagoras’s forge and the rabble of the market have been muted, rearticulated, and transformed, Dyson argues, through the monotones of media, the racket of financialization, and the gibberish of political speech.

Informed by contemporary sound art, philosophy, media and sociopolitical theory, The Tone of Our Times offers insights into present crises that are relevant to a broader understanding of how space, the aural, and listening have shaped and continue to shape the world we live in.

The choreographic stages a conversation in which artwork is not only looked at but looks back; it is about contact that touches even across distance. The choreographic moves between the corporeal and cerebral to tell the stories of these encounters as dance trespasses into the discourse and disciplines of visual art and philosophy through a series of stutters, steps, trembles, and spasms.

In The Choreographic, Jenn Joy examines dance and choreography not only as artistic strategies and disciplines but also as intrinsically theoretical and critical practices. She investigates artists in dialogue with philosophy, describing a movement of conceptual choreography that flourishes in New York and on the festival circuit.

Joy offers close readings of a series of experimental works, arguing for the choreographic as an alternative model of aesthetics. She explores constellations of works, artists, writers, philosophers, and dancers, in conversation with theories of gesture, language, desire, and history. She choreographs a revelatory narrative in which Walter Benjamin, Pina Bausch, Francis Alÿs, and Cormac McCarthy dance together; she traces the feminist and queer force toward desire through the choreography of DD Dorvillier, Heather Kravas, Meg Stuart, La Ribot, Miguel Gutierrez, luciana achugar, and others; she maps new forms of communicability and pedagogy; and she casts science fiction writers Samuel R. Delany and Kim Stanley Robinson as perceptual avatars and dance partners for Ralph Lemon, Marianne Vitali, James Foster, and Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. Constructing an expanded notion of the choreographic, Joy explores how choreography as critical concept and practice attunes us to a more productively uncertain, precarious, and ecstatic understanding of aesthetics and art making.

The Improbable Life of Charlotte Moorman

The Juilliard-trained cellist Charlotte Moorman sat nude behind a cello of carved ice, performed while dangling from helium-filled balloons, and deployed an array of instruments on The Mike Douglas Show that included her cello, a whistle, a cap gun, a gong, and a belch. She did a striptease while playing Bach in Nam June Paik’s Sonata for Adults Only. In the 1960s, Moorman (1933–1991) became famous for her madcap (and often unclothed) performance antics; less famous but more significant is Moorman’s transformative influence on contemporary performance practice--and her dedication to the idea that avant-garde art should reach the widest possible audience. In Topless Cellist, the first book to explore Moorman’s life and work, Joan Rothfuss rediscovers, and recovers, the legacy of an extraordinary American artist.

Moorman’s arrest in 1967 for performing topless made her a water-cooler conversation-starter, but before her tabloid fame she was a star of the avant-garde performance circuit, with a repertoire of pieces by, among others, Yoko Ono, Joseph Beuys, John Cage, and Paik, her main artistic partner. Moorman invented a new mode of performance that combined classical rigor, jazz improvisation, and avant-garde experiment—informed by intuition, daring, and love of spectacle. Moorman’s annual festival of the avant-garde offered the public a lively sampler of contemporary art in performance, music, dance, poetry, film, and other media.

Rothfuss chronicles Moorman’s life from her youth in Little Rock, Arkansas (where she was “Miss City Beautiful” of 1952) through her career in New York’s avant-garde to her death from breast cancer in 1991. (Typically, she approached her treatment as if it were a performance.) Deeply researched and profusely illustrated, Topless Cellist offers a fascinating, sometimes heartbreaking, often hilarious story of an artist whose importance was more than the sum of her performances.

The Real Life and Celestial Adventures of Tristan Tzara

Tristan Tzara, one of the most important figures in the twentieth century’s most famous avant-garde movements, was born Samuel Rosenstock (or Samueli Rosenstok) in a provincial Romanian town, on April 16 (or 17, or 14, or 28) in 1896. Tzara became Tzara twenty years later at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, when he and others (including Marcel Janco, Hugo Ball, Richard Huelsenbeck, and Hans Arp) invented Dada with a series of chaotic performances including multilingual (and nonlingual) shouting, music, drumming, and calisthenics. Within a few years, Dada (largely driven by Tzara) became an international artistic movement, a rallying point for young artists in Paris, New York, Barcelona, Berlin, and Buenos Aires. With TaTa Dada, Marius Hentea offers the first English-language biography of this influential artist.

As the leader of Dada, Tzara created “the moment art changed forever.” But, Hentea shows, Tzara and Dada were not coterminous. Tzara went on to publish more than fifty books; he wrote one of the great poems of surrealism; he became a recognized expert on primitive art; he was an active antifascist, a communist, and (after the Soviet repression of the Hungarian Revolution) a former communist. Hentea offers a detailed exploration of Tzara’s early life in Romania, neglected by other scholars; a scrupulous assessment of the Dada years; and an original examination of Tzara’s life and works after Dada. The one thing that remained constant through all of Tzara’s artistic and political metamorphoses, Hentea tells us, was a desire to unlock the secrets and mysteries of language.

Neoconceptual Art of the 1980s

Emerging from New York’s East Village art scene of the 1980s, the so-called neo-geo artists were a loosely associated group that included the painters Ashley Bickerton, Peter Halley, Sherrie Levine, Allan McCollum, Philip Taaffe, and Meyer Vaisman and the sculptors Jeff Koons and Haim Steinbach. Labeled neo-geo for the abstract geometric motifs that characterized only some of their work, the movement was also known variously as simulationism, neoconceptualism, neo-pop, neominimalism, and postabstraction. In this, the first in-depth study of the group, Amy Brandt argues that neoconceptualism is the most precise name for their work. Brandt sees it as an art about art history, characterized by ironic adaptations of past artistic movements and styles, a tendency toward visual interplay, and a theoretical impulse driven by postmodern concerns with intertextuality, deconstruction, and poststructuralism.

Brandt investigates the East Village art scene of the 1980s and argues that the neoconceptualists’ theoretical orientation distinguished them from other artists of the era. She traces the divergence in art critics’ responses to the group’s work and charts their market success. Brandt examines in detail the references to art history found in the work; she explores the group’s formal connections to pop, minimalism, and conceptualism; and she investigates the relationships between the neoconceptual artists and another loosely connected group of artists, the Pictures generation.

A Biography

When Marina Abramović Dies examines the extraordinary life and death-defying work of one of the most pioneering artists of her generation--and one who is still at the forefront of contemporary art today. This intimate, critical biography chronicles Abramovi?’s formative and until now undocumented years in Yugoslavia, and tells the story of her partnership with the German artist Ulay--one of the twentieth century’s great examples of the fusion of artistic and private life.

In one of many long-durational performances in the renewed solo career that followed, Abramovi? famously lived in a New York gallery for twelve days without eating or speaking, nourished only by prolonged eye contact with audience members. It was here, in 2002, that author James Westcott first encountered her, beginning an exceptionally close relation between biographer and subject. When Marina Abramović Dies draws on Westcott’s personal observations of Abramovi?, his unprecedented access to her archive, and hundreds of hours of interviews he conducted with the artist and the people closest to her. The result is a unique and vivid portrait of the charismatic self-proclaimed “grandmother of performance art.”

A Genealogy of Visual Technologies from Prints to Pixels

Light is the condition of all vision, and the visual media are our most important explorations of this condition. The history of visual technologies reveals a centuries-long project aimed at controlling light. In this book, Sean Cubitt traces a genealogy of the dominant visual media of the twenty-first century—digital video, film, and photography—through a history of materials and practices that begins with the inventions of intaglio printing and oil painting. Attending to the specificities of inks and pigments, cathode ray tubes, color film, lenses, screens, and chips, Cubitt argues that we have moved from a hierarchical visual culture focused on semantic values to a more democratic but value-free numerical commodity.

Cubitt begins with the invisibility of black, then builds from line to surface to volume and space. He describes Rembrandt’s attempts to achieve pure black by tricking the viewer and the rise of geometry as a governing principle in visual technology, seen in Dürer, Hogarth, and Disney, among others. He finds the origins of central features of digital imaging in nineteenth-century printmaking; examines the clash between the physics and psychology of color; explores the representation of space in shadows, layers, and projection; discusses modes of temporal order in still photography, cinema, television, and digital video; and considers the implications of a political aesthetics of visual technology.

Deleuze Monument

Part-text, part-sculpture, part-architecture, part-junk heap, Thomas Hirschhorn’s often monumental but precarious works offer a commentary on the spectacle of late-capitalist consumerism and the global proliferation of commodities. Made from ephemeral materials—cardboard, foil, plastic bags, and packing tape—that the artist describes as “universal, economic, inclusive, and [without] any plus-value,” these works also engage issues of justice, power, and moral responsibility. Hirschhorn (born in Switzerland in 1957) often chooses to place his work in non-art settings, saying that he wants it to “fight for its own existence.” In this book, Anna Dezeuze offers a generously illustrated examination of Hirschhorn’s Deleuze Monument (2000), the second in his series of four Monuments.

Deleuze Monument—a sculpture, an altar, and a library dedicated to Gilles Deleuze—was conceived as a work open to visitors twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Part of the exhibition “La Beauté” in Avignon, Deleuze Monument was controversial from the start, and it was dismantled two months before the end of the exhibition after being vandalized. Dezeuze describes the chronology of the project, including negotiations with local residents; the dynamic between affirmation and vulnerability in Hirschhorn’s work; failure and ”scatter art” in the 1990s; participatory practices; and problems of presence, maintenance, and appearance, raised by Hirschhorn’s acknowledgement of “error” in his discontinuous presence on site following the installation of Deleuze Monument.

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