Art as Worldmaking: Critical Essays on Realism and Naturalism
2018, Manchester University Press
Art as Worldmaking is a response to Alex Potts’s provocative 2013 book Experiments in modern realism. Twenty essays by leading scholars test Potts’s recasting of realism through examinations of art produced in different media and periods, ranging from eighth-century Chinese garden aesthetics to video work by the contemporary Russian collective Radek Community. While the book does not neglect avatars of pictorial realism such as Menzel and Eakins, or the question of nineteenth-century realism’s historical antecedents, it is contemporary in orientation in that many contributors are particularly concerned with the questions that sculpture, photography and non-traditional media pose for realism as an aesthetic norm. It will be essential reading for students of art history concerned with art’s truth value or more broadly with conceptual problems of representation and the intersections of art and politics.