Many art historians regard poststructuralist theory with suspicion; some even see its focus on the political dimension of language as hostile to an authentic study of the past. Keith Moxey bridges the gap between historical and theoretical approaches with the provocative argument that we cannot have one without the other. "If art history is to take part in the processes of cultural transformation that characterize our society," he writes, "then its historical narratives must come to terms with the most powerful and influential theories that currently determine the way in which we conceive of ourselves." After exploring how the insights offered by deconstruction and semiotics change our understanding of representation, ideology, and authorship, Moxey himself puts theory into practice. In a series of engaging essays accompanied by twenty-eight illustrations, he first examines the impact of cultural values on Erwin Panofsky's writings. Taking a fresh look at work by artists from Albrecht Dürer and Erhard Schön to Barbara Kruger and Julian Schnabel, he then examines the process by which he generic boundaries between "high" and "low" art have helped to sustain class and gender differences. Making particular reference to the literature on Martin Schongauer, Moxey also considers the value of art history when it is reduced to artist's biography. Moxey's interpretation of the work of Hieronymus Bosch not only reassesses its intelligence and imagination, but also brings to light its pragmatic conformity to elite definitions of artistic "genius." With his compelling analysis of the politics of interpretation, Moxey draws attention to a vital aspect of the cultural importance of history.
Ethnographic study of cultural politics in the contemporary Egyptian art world, examining how art-making is a crucial aspect of the transformation from socialism to neoliberalism in postcolonial countries.
Visual art has a ubiquitous political cast today. But which politics? Daniel Herwitz seeks clarity on the various things meant by politics, and how we can evaluate their presumptions or aspirations in contemporary art. Drawing on the work of William Kentridge, drenched in violence, race, and power, and the artworld immolations of Banksy, Herwitz's examples range from the NEA 4 and the question of offense-as-dissent, to the community driven work of George Gittoes, the identity politics of contemporary American art and (for contrast with the power of visual media) literature written in dialogue with truth commissions. He is interested in understanding art practices today in the light of two opposing inheritances: the avant-gardes and their politicization of the experimental art object, and 18th-century aesthetics, preaching the autonomy of the art object, which he interprets as the cultural compliment to modern liberalism. His historically-informed approach reveals how crucial this pair of legacies is to reading the tensions in voice and character of art today. Driven by questions about the capacity of the visual medium to speak politically or acquire political agency, this book is for anyone working in aesthetics or the art world concerned with the fate of cultural politics in a world spinning out of control, yet within reach of emancipation.
How does cultural context affect the interpretation of art? What makes artists' work transnational or national in character, and how will their visibility be impacted by either label? Art and the Politics of Visibility questions these dynamics, asking how the dissemination of visual culture on a global scale affects art and its institutions. Taking Shanghai-based artist Yang Fudong's practice as a point of departure, this volume focuses on how politically charged images produced in contemporary art, cinema, literature, news media and fashion become widely consumed or marginalised. Through case studies of artists including Titus Kaphar, Sara Maple, Shirin Neshat, J.M. Coetzee, Barbara Walker and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the book illuminates the relationship between visibility, politics and identity in contemporary visual culture.
A critical analysis of contemporary art collections and the value form, this book shows why the nonprofit system is unfit to administer our common collections, and offers solutions for diversity reform and redistributive restructuring. In the United States, institutions administered by the nonprofit system have an ambiguous status as they are neither entirely private nor fully public. Among nonprofits, the museum is unique as it is the only institution where trustees tend to collect the same objects they hold in “public trust” on behalf of the nation, if not humanity. The public serves as alibi for establishing the symbolic value of art, which sustains its monetary value and its markets. This structure allows for wealthy individuals at the helm to gain financial benefits from, and ideological control over, what is at its core purpose a public system. The dramatic growth of the art market and the development of financial tools based on art-collateral loans exacerbate the contradiction between the needs of museum leadership versus that of the public. Indeed, a history of private support in the US is a history of racist discrimination, and the common collections reflect this fact. A history of how private collections were turned public gives context. Since the late Renaissance, private collections legitimized the prince's right to rule, and later, with the great revolutions, display consolidated national identity. But the rise of the American museum reversed this and re-privatized the public collection. A materialist description of the museum as a model institution of the liberal nation state reveals constellations of imperialist social relations.
Art, Politics and the Pamphleteer brings together a collection of text-based and visual essays, commissioned artworks and graphics. This richly illustrated book responds to the concept, aesthetics and function of the political pamphlet. It is diverse in content, interpreting the 'pamphlet' in the broadest terms, and encompassing a number of case studies that offer historical or specific examples of contemporary pamphleteering practice that can be seen to perform 'a clear political implication' or protest. Besides exploring the radical history and diverse cultures of the pamphlet, it also celebrates the rich visual rhetoric, typography and contemporary relevance of the format for both artists and activists. Contributions include an historical overview and essays by: Andy Abbott, Angeliki Avgitidu, Aziz Choudry and Désirée Rochat, David Murrieta Flores, Michelle Kempson, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Rachel Schreiber, Jane Tormey, Gillian Whiteley; visual contributions by Gary Anderson and Steven Shakespeare, Ruth Beale, Ami Clarke, Common Culture, Jeremy Deller, Freee, Patrick Goddard, Gavin Grindon, Ferenc Grof, Marc Herbst, Joanne Lee, Josh MacPhee, Manual Labours, Mark McGowan, Minute Works, Chris Morton, radicalreThink, Hester Reeve, Oliver Ressler, Greg Sholette & Christopher Darling, Laura Wild, Andrew Wilson. As the book was conceived as predominantly visual from the outset, the book concept has been a collaboration with The Little Riot Press (Phil Eastwood and Chris Dunne). Overall, an aesthetic of protest and propaganda was considered integral to the design to reiterate the generally handmade, analogue techniques found in political pamphlets. The Little Riot Press have thus approached the illustration and overall visual cohesion from the perspective of the radical artist pamphleteer. www.thelittleriotpress.com
Aimed at an international readership, this book offers a representative collection of essays by the German philosopher, Georg Picht (1913-1982), who was a specialist in Greek philosophy, practical philosophy and philosophy of religion. Picht's themes address different disciplines, such as ancient philosophy, systematic philosophy and political analysis, and often contain critical statements on significant developments from the European Enlightenment to the Cold War era. Other essays offer a distinctive interdisciplinary approach characteristic of the author. These contributions are relevant to both philosophy and science as they discuss, for instance, philosophical definitions of space and time or the relationship between history and evolution. Another part of the book includes texts on art that present Picht’s authentic definition of art and his theory of the interdependence of art and politics. • For the first time, key texts of the German philosopher and political thinker Georg Picht are presented to a global readership in English. • Like Nietzsche’s philosophy, Picht’s work is grounded in his outstanding professionalism in the different fields of classics, embracing not only textsand theories of the great thinkers from the pre-Socratic to the post-Aristotelian and Stoic philosophies but also the main currents of ancient literature. • Picht’s importance as a political author and public adviser is exceptional, and may explain why his lifelong friend Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker – another pioneer presented in this series – called him his “teacher”.
A discussion about the relationship between culture and the free market which attempts to define cultural values in concise terms. This assessment includes commercial art and fine art and appraises community arts, arts funding and how these projects work in practice.
This book examines politics through the lens of art and literature. Through discussion on great works of visual art, literature, and cultural representations of political thought in the medieval, early modern, and American eras, it explores the relevance of the nation-state to human freedom and flourishing, as well as the concept of citizenship and statesmanship that it implies, in contrast to that of the ‘global community’. The essays in this volume focus on shifting notions of various core political concepts like citizenship, republicanism, and nationalism from antiquity to the present-day to provide a systematic understanding of their evolving histories through Western Art and literature. It highlights works such as the Bayeux Tapestry, Shakespeare’s Henry V, Henry VI, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twain’s Joan of Arc and Hermann’s Nichts als Gespenster, among several other canonical works of political interest. Further, it questions if we should now look beyond the nation-state to some form of tans-national, global community to pursue the human freedom desired by progressives, or look at smaller forms of community resembling the polis to pursue the friendship and nobility valued by the ancients. The volume will be invaluable to students and teachers of political science, especially political theory and philosophy, visual arts, and world literature.
The Fruits of Empire is a history of American expansion through the lens of art and food. In the decades after the Civil War, Americans consumed an unprecedented amount of fruit as it grew more accessible with advancements in refrigeration and transportation technologies. This excitement for fruit manifested in an explosion of fruit imagery within still life paintings, prints, trade cards, and more. Images of fruit labor and consumption by immigrants and people of color also gained visibility, merging alongside the efforts of expansionists to assimilate land and, in some cases, people into the national body. Divided into five chapters on visual images of the grape, orange, watermelon, banana, and pineapple, this book demonstrates how representations of fruit struck the nerve of the nation’s most heated debates over land, race, and citizenship in the age of high imperialism.