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Series: Vernon Series in Art

The Ideas, Identity and Art of Daniel Spoerri

Contingencies and Encounters of an ‘Artistic Animator’
1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-195-4
June 2017
Availability: In stock

The term “artistic animator” is inspired by the definition “Kunstanimator” given to Spoerri by his longstanding friend Karl Gerstner during an interview with Katerina Vatsella in 1995. Wherever he went, Spoerri was capable of inspiring others to make art, and at the same time he absorbed, interiorized and transformed ideas from others. His fluctuating memberships during late Modernism (Zero, Nouveau Réalisme, Fluxus, Mail Art) explain why some areas of this work have not yet received their due attention and their connection to the whole picture has often eluded scholarly inquiry. Beyond his tableaux-pièges, which gave him immediate notoriety through an early purchase by the MoMA, Spoerri discovered a new way to approach the multiples in sculpture (Edition MAT), he transformed his trap pictures into an experimental narrative form (Topographie Anécdotée du Hasard), he initiated the Eat Art movement, he tested an innovative curatorial approach (the Musée Sentimental and the Giardino). Despite constant interruptions due to his semi-nomadic lifestyle, this oeuvre presents an extraordinary coherence, where none of these ventures can be properly understood without considering all the others. This is the first monograph entirely devoted to Daniel Spoerri in the United States to date. With an introduction by Barbara Räderscheidt.

The Confusion between Art and Design

Brain-tools versus Body-tools
1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-205-0
April 2017
Availability: In stock

In the past century the borders have blurred between art and design. Designers, artists, aestheticians, curators, art and design critics, historians and students all seem confused about these borders. Figurative painting was reduced to graphic design while still being called 'art'. Figurative sculpture was reduced to nonfunctional industrial design while being called 'sculpture'. This fundamental blunder resulted from total misunderstanding of the concept of "abstraction" by the founders of modern art. Comprehensive analysis shows that so-called "abstract art" is neither abstract nor art, but a very simple, even trivial, kind of design. In this book the prehistoric, philosophical, logical, historic and religious sources of the confusion between art and design are analyzed. A new and coherent conceptual framework is proposed, to distinguish between art and design. Nearly one hundred distinctions, contradistinctions and comparisons between art and design are presented, showing clearly that they are totally independent domains. Philosophy of art books are written by philosophers for philosophers, not for artists and designers; therefore they are irrelevant for the latter, especially for students who normally lack the necessary conceptual training. This book is not only for theoreticians but for art and design practitioners at all levels. This is a new kind of book: an illustrated philosophical book for the art and design world, which can make philosophical knowledge accessible and useful for solving real problems for designers and artists who are mostly visual rather than conceptual thinkers. The book contains over two hundred images; thus art and design people can easily follow the arguments and reasoning presented in this book in their own language; images. Lack of distinction between art and design harms both. Design is contaminated by the ills of modern art, while modern art cannot recover from its current stagnation whilst under the illusion that it is actually art rather than design.

Showing and Telling: Film heritage institutes and their performance of public accountability

1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-203-6
February 2017
Availability: In stock

Showing and Telling is the first academic work to explore how publicly funded film heritage institutes account for their mandate in their public activities. It does that by inspecting and evaluating public presentations and visitor information about these presentations. The research was done by juxtaposing two complementary approaches. The first is grounded in the author’s experience as a collection researcher and curator and makes a case for the richness of archival objects usually ignored for their lack of aesthetic qualities. The second is a survey of the public activities of 24 institutes worldwide, based on their websites, in February 2014; the latter constitutes a unique source. This original work uncovers the disconnect between the curatorial activities of these institutes and their missions. A central finding is that publicly funded film heritage institutes give their public an inadequate sense of cinema history. By and large they offer a mainstream-oriented repertoire of presentations, overwhelmingly consisting of feature fiction; they show a disproportionate amount of recent and new works, often through commercial distribution; their screenings consist of an unexplained melee of technological formats (sometimes substandard); and their presentations monotonously frame film as art, although their professed aesthetics are mostly of a cinephile nature and rest on received opinion. Specific materials, early cinema in particular, and specialist knowledge, both historical and methodological, are largely restricted to their network of peer communities. Wholesome transfer of full knowledge, in word and image, to the public is not a major concern. Showing and Telling concludes with recommendations for curatorial activities. Firstly, with a conceptual apparatus that allows a more complete understanding of film heritage and its histories. Secondly, with a plea for rethinking the institutes’ gatekeeper function and for developing more varied, imaginative, and informative public presentations, both on site and online, that reflect the range of their collections and their histories.

Art Movements and The Discourse of Acknowledgements and Distinctions

1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-060-5
February 2017
Availability: In stock

This is a work of critical theory in the deconstructionist tradition. It investigates the impact and role of visual art practice in cultural dispensation. Its central argument is that conceptions of ‘leadership’ and of ‘being a subject’ (or subjugation) play a formative role in the manner with which cultural ideas are appropriated and spread out in organic interactions within the community. The arguments advanced in this work demonstrate that leadership conceptions are disseminated as ‘signs’ (a conceptual term for how ideas and their significance are understood in the context of cultural dispensation) and that signs have historical roots and connotations. Using deconstructionist techniques like différance, this work concretises the critical in the discourse which states that ‘signs’ in the cultural dispensation are in constant interaction with each other in terms of defining their historic, epistemic and contemporary ‘meaning’. The Discourse of Acknowledgements and Distinctions introduces three concepts that account for themselves through the infinite propensities of social contexts and the ‘signs’ that anchor them for referral. These are the notions of Cerebrinity, Hysteridence and Remembrance. The use of psychoanalysis – and of the perspectives of Kristeva, Jung and Freud - distinguishes this book from other works of critical theory that deal with art and art movements. The book aims to illuminate on the propensity of the community to participate in its own subjugation in the context of Modernity. It is concise and incorporates critical theory perspectives by writers like Baudrillard, Lyotard, Kristeva and Spivak. It can be appreciated by art students interested in the intersection between visual art, critical theory and psychoanalysis.

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