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Series: Vernon Series on the History of Art

Art Judgements: Art on Trial in Russia after Perestroika

Sandra Frimmel, University of Zurich

ISBN: 978-1-62273-277-7
Availability: Pre-order
$69 £50 €57

Ever since the turn of the century an unusually high number of court cases against art, artists and curators has been executed in Russia. Using the example of the two biggest trials against the organizers of the exhibitions "Watch Out, Religion!" and "Forbidden Art 2006", the author deals with the negotiation of the meaning of art (works) and its socio-political effect within the context of the court. The focus lies on the questions; by what means do these trials attempt to not only argumentatively negotiate a normative concept of art, but further attempt to permanently determine and legally bind a juridical understanding of art? In what way is being discussed what kind of art should be allowed in Russia today? How does art take effects? And where are the limits of the freedom of art? Research with regard to post soviet art trials has remained journal driven to the most part up until today. It is only the fairly recent trials aimed against Pussy Riot activists as well as Petr Pavlensky, which have provoked lengthy publications such as "Pussy Riot! A Punk Prayer for Freedom", Feminist Press at The City University of New York, 2013; Marc Bennetts: "I'm Going to Ruin Their Lives: Inside Putin's War on Russia's Opposition", Oneworld Publications 2014. These publications, however, mostly concern themselves with explicitly political and activist art rather than its particular discourse when on trial. This book, then, offers a scientific approach towards (Russian) art on trial. The text presents itself as an analysis of national-historical effects as well as a comparative approach to international perspectives by means of which socio-political goals and impact are synthesized, with a particular focus on the way in which these trials influence the intensification of juridical power over artistic freedom (of speech) in the production of art.

Duncan and Marjorie Phillips and America’s First Museum of Modern Art

Pamela Carter-Birken

March 2021 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-107-6
Availability: In stock
176pp. ¦ $43 £32 €36

He was born to privilege and sought the world of art. She lived at the center of that world—a working artist encouraged by the famous artists in her extended family. Together, Duncan Phillips and Marjorie Acker Phillips founded The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., the first museum of modern art in America. It opened in the grand Phillips family home in 1921, eight years before New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and only a few weeks after they wed. Duncan took the lead in developing the collection and showcasing it. Marjorie kept space and time to paint. Duncan considered Marjorie a partner in the museum even though she was not directly involved in all purchasing and presentation decisions. To him, her influence was omnipresent. Although Duncan’s writings on artists and art history were widely published, he chose not to provide much instruction for visitors to the museum. Instead, he combined signature methods of displaying art which live on at The Phillips Collection. Phillips had viewers in mind when he hung American art with European art—or art of the past with modern art, and he frequently rearranged works to stimulate fresh encounters. With unfettered access to archival material, author Pamela Carter-Birken argues that The Phillips Collection’s relevancy comes from Duncan Phillips’s commitment to providing optimal conditions for personal exploration of art. In-depth collecting of certain artists was one of Phillips’s methods of encouraging independent thinking in viewers. Paintings by Pierre Bonnard, Arthur Dove, Georgia O’Keeffe, John Marin, Jacob Lawrence, and Mark Rothko provide testament to the power of America’s first museum of modern art.

Duncan and Marjorie Phillips and America’s First Museum of Modern Art

Pamela Carter-Birken

March 2021 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-212-7
Availability: In stock
176pp. [Color] ¦ $75 £55 €62

He was born to privilege and sought the world of art. She lived at the center of that world—a working artist encouraged by the famous artists in her extended family. Together, Duncan Phillips and Marjorie Acker Phillips founded The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., the first museum of modern art in America. It opened in the grand Phillips family home in 1921, eight years before New York City’s Museum of Modern Art and only a few weeks after they wed. Duncan took the lead in developing the collection and showcasing it. Marjorie kept space and time to paint. Duncan considered Marjorie a partner in the museum even though she was not directly involved in all purchasing and presentation decisions. To him, her influence was omnipresent. Although Duncan’s writings on artists and art history were widely published, he chose not to provide much instruction for visitors to the museum. Instead, he combined signature methods of displaying art which live on at The Phillips Collection. Phillips had viewers in mind when he hung American art with European art—or art of the past with modern art, and he frequently rearranged works to stimulate fresh encounters. With unfettered access to archival material, author Pamela Carter-Birken argues that The Phillips Collection’s relevancy comes from Duncan Phillips’s commitment to providing optimal conditions for personal exploration of art. In-depth collecting of certain artists was one of Phillips’s methods of encouraging independent thinking in viewers. Paintings by Pierre Bonnard, Arthur Dove, Georgia O’Keeffe, John Marin, Jacob Lawrence, and Mark Rothko provide testament to the power of America’s first museum of modern art.

The Centre as Margin: Eccentric Perspectives on Art

Edited by Joana Antunes, Group of Multidisciplinary Studies in Art, CEAACP/Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Coimbra, Portugal et al.

September 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-447-4
Availability: In stock
362pp. ¦ $66 £49 €56

The Centre as Margin. Eccentric Perspectives on Art is a multi-authored volume of collected essays that answer the challenge of thinking Art History, and the Arts in a broader sense, from a liminal point of view. Its main goal is thus to discuss the margin from the centre - drawing on its concomitance within study themes and subjects, ontological and epistemological positions, or research methodologies themselves. Marginality, eccentricity, liminality, and superfluity are all part of a dynamic relationship between centre and margin(s) that will be approached and discussed, from the point of view of disciplines as different and as close as art history, philosophy, literature and design, from medieval to contemporary art. Resulting from recent research developed from the privileged viewpoint offered by the margin, this volume brings together the contributions of young researchers along with the work of career scholars. Likewise, it does not obey a traditional or a rigid diachronic structure, being rather organized in three major parts that organically articulate the different essays. Within each of these parts in which the book is divided, papers are sometimes organized according to their timeframes, providing the reader with an encompassing (though not encyclopedic) overview of the common ground over which the various artistic disciplines build their methodological, theoretical, and thematic centers and margins. The intended eccentricity of this volume – and the original essays herein presented – should provide researchers, scholars, students, artists, curators, and the general reader interested in art with a refreshing approach to its various scientific strands.

Elizabeth Craven: Writer, Feminist and European

Julia Gasper

July 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-275-3
Availability: In stock
334pp. ¦ $65 £55 €62

Elizabeth Craven’s fascinating life was full of travel, love-affairs and scandals but this biography, the first to appear for a century, is the only one to focus on her as a writer and draw attention to the full range of her output, which raises her stature as an author considerably. Born into the upper class of Georgian England, she was pushed into marriage at sixteen to Lord Craven and became a celebrated society hostess and beauty, as well as mother to seven children. Though acutely conscious of her relative lack of education, as a woman, she ventured into writing poetry, stories and plays. Incompatibility and infidelities on both sides ended her marriage and she had to move to France where, living in seclusion, she wrote the little-known feminist work Letters to Her Son. In the years that followed, she travelled extensively all over Europe and turned her letters into a travelogue which is one of her best-known works. On her return she went to live in Germany as the companion and eventually second wife of the Margrave of Ansbach. At his court she organised and appeared in theatricals, and wrote several more plays of great interest, including The Modern Philosopher. In 1792 she and the Margrave settled in England, where they were never fully accepted by the more strait-laced pillars of society but mixed with all the musicians and actors and the more rakish of the Regency set. Craven continued to put on her own theatricals and write for the theatre. In her old age, she moved to Naples where she passed her time sailing, gardening and writing her Memoirs. Even in her final years, scandal dogged her, and Craven made her feminist principles and criticisms of the laws of marriage apparent through her involvement in the notorious divorce case of Queen Caroline.

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