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Subject: Art

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

Nico de Klerk, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society, Austria

March 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-203-6
Availability: In stock
328pp. ¦ $50 £38 €45

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

Themba Tsotsi

March 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-060-5
Availability: In stock
184pp. ¦ $30 £25 €28

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.

Portrait of Young Genius – The Mind and Art of Marie Bashkirtseff

Joel L. Schiff

December 2016 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-171-8
Availability: In stock
304pp. [Color] ¦ $85 £68 €80

Marie Bashkirtseff was of one of the most extraordinary women of the 19th century. Her Journal (originally comprising some 20,000 hand-written pages but pared down to a few hundred for publication) was a cause célèbre after her death and continues to be an inspiration to the Women’s Movement to this day. It also inspired such great writers as Anaïs Nin and Katherine Mansfield among many others. Born into an aristocratic family in a village in Ukraine the family soon settled in France, first in Nice and later in Paris. Taught entirely by tutors Marie spoke multiple languages, played numerous musical instruments and longed for a singing career on the stage. An illness that affected her throat made her change course and she took up painting for which she had a latent talent. As a student at the Académie Julian in Paris she was soon exhibiting at the annual Paris Salon, the premier venue for artists. But it was her personality that makes Marie Bashkirtseff such an exceptional individual. At a very young age she was already exhibiting in her Journal the thoughts of a learned philosopher, wrestling with the nature of God, the position of women in society, the politics of men. Having contracted tuberculosis in early childhood she ceaselessly strove to shrug it off in her quest to achieve greatness. In the end, a great tragedy unfolds. The book is somewhat unique in format. The first part is a biographical section that describes Marie’s unusual and fascinating life. Then a second section, consists of a single Journal excerpt (in English translation from the original French) on each left-hand page, juxtaposed with one of her outstanding works of art on the facing page. In this manner, we learn about her remarkable life and tribulations, enter her restive and brilliant mind via her Journal, as well as appreciate her exceptionally fine works as an artist.

Communication Images in Derek Walcott's Poetry

Sadia Gill

October 2016 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-132-9
Availability: In stock
326pp. ¦ $75 £65 €70

This book investigates the potential purpose of recurrent communication images in the poetry of Derek Walcott. The recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1992, Walcott is one of the most important postcolonial poets of the 20th century. His poetry delves into the dynamics of Caribbean marginalization and seeks to safeguard the paradigms characteristic of his island home. Several major studies have examined themes in his poetry but the images of communication in his poetics have not been explored. This book examines Walcott’s poetry expressions that the poet brings into play in order to demonstrate the relevance of the Caribbean in the contemporary world—firstly through a study of communication imagery, and secondly through an examination of the conclusions he reaches through these means. The quantitative chart demonstrates that Walcott is especially reliant upon images of communication from the 1980s. Extensive textual analysis indicates that the place and contextual meaning of communication imagery, for example, page mirrors the historical plight of the Caribbean region; likewise, line expresses an identity deficit. Finally, this book validates that Walcott’s extensive use of communication imagery in his poetry contributes to a fluid notion of self that embraces multiculturalism while maintaining the imaginary intact.

The Road to Parnassus: Artist Strategies in Contemporary Art

Rise and Success of Glasgow Artist Douglas Gordon and of the wider YBA generation

Diego Mantoan, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy

November 2015 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-029-2
Availability: In stock
449pp. [Color] ¦ $99 £73 €85

How can one become a successful artist? Where should one start a career in the art world? What are useful strategies to achieve recognition in the art system? Such questions hoard in students' minds ever since entering art school and they probably chase every kind of art professional who is at an early career stage. “The Road to Parnassus” tries to understand what makes a good start in today's art world, who are influential players in the field and which strategies might apply. The swift career ascension of Glasgow artist Douglas Gordon – one of today's leading visual artists – and of the broader YBA generation that rose into worldwide prominence in the 1990s – Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas among the best known – serves as a convenient case to analyse contemporary artist strategies. This book takes a multidisciplinary approach – spanning from traditional art history, to sociology and economics – pursuing the reconstruction of the field of forces in art as intended by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. Compared to previous publications on art system dynamics, such as Thompson's “The $12 Million Stuffed Shark”, this book offers an enhanced understanding of the factors that allow a young artist to enter the arena of contemporary art. The present research should help uncover the art system logic – which appears enigmatic to non-experts – revealing that artists are aware they need to consider global trends, beat competitors and meet the demands of dealers, collectors, curators and museums. This book furthers existing contributions on the YBAs (for example Stallabrass' “High Art Lite”), offering innovative conclusions on recent British art, such as on the duality between London and Glasgow, the gender opposition among emerging artists and the predominance of resourceful authors.

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