Surrealism at Play
2019, DUKE UNIVERSITY Press
Susan Laxton, author

In Surrealism at Play Susan Laxton writes a new history of surrealism in which she traces the centrality of play to the movement and its ongoing legacy. For surrealist artists, play took a consistent role in their aesthetic as they worked in, with, and against a post-World War I world increasingly dominated by technology and functionalism. Whether through exquisite-corpse drawings, Man Ray’s rayographs, or Joan Miró’s visual puns, surrealists became adept at developing techniques and processes designed to guarantee aleatory outcomes. In embracing chance as the means to produce unforeseeable ends, they shifted emphasis from final product to process, challenging the disciplinary structures of industrial modernism. As Laxton demonstrates, play became a primary method through which surrealism refashioned artistic practice, everyday experience, and the nature of subjectivity.

 

A New Middle Kingdom: Painting and Cultural Politics in Late Chosŏn Korea (1700–1850)
2018, University of Washington Press
J.P. Park, author

Historians have claimed that social stability returned to Korea after a series of devastating invasions by the Japanese and Manchus around the turn of the seventeenth century. Thus, the late Chosŏn dynasty is characterized as a period of unprecedented economic and cultural renaissance whose prosperity was firmly demonstrated in new programs and styles of visual art. This book questions this age-old belief by claiming that true-view landscape and genre paintings were most likely adopted to propagandize social harmony under Chosŏn rule and to justify the status, wealth, and land grabs of the ruling class. This volume also documents the popularity and misunderstanding of art books from China and, most controversially, Korean enthusiasm for artistic programs from Edo Japan to challenge academic stereotypes and nationalistic tendencies in the scholarship. As the first truly interdisciplinary study of Korean art and literature, A New Middle Kingdom points to realities of late Chosŏn society that its visual art seemed to hide and deny.

 

Making Art Concrete: Works from Argentina and Brazil in the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

2017, Los Angeles: Getty Publications

Pia Gottschaller and Aleca Le Blanc
Edited by Pia Gottschaller, Aleca Le Blanc, Zanna Gilbert, Tom Learner, and Andrew Perchuk

In the years after World War II, artists in Argentina and Brazil experimented with geometric abstraction and engaged in lively debates about the role of the artwork in society. Some of these artists used novel synthetic materials, creating objects that offered an alternative to established traditions in painting—proposing that these objects become part of everyday, concrete reality. Combining art historical and scientific analysis, experts from the Getty Conservation Institute and Getty Research Institute are collaborating with the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, a world-renowned collection of Latin American art, to research the formal strategies and material decisions of these artists working in the concrete and neo-concrete vein.

Making Art Concrete presents works by Lygia Clark, Willys de Castro, Judith Lauand, Raúl Lozza, Hélio Oiticica, and Rhod Rothfuss, among others, with spectacular new photography. The photographs, along with information about the now-invisible processes that determine the appearance of these works, are key to interpreting the artists’ technical choices as well as the objects themselves. Indeed, this volume sheds further light on the social, political, and cultural underpinnings of the artists’ propositions, making a compelling addition to the field of postwar Latin American art.

This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center September 16, 2017 through February 11, 2018. Making Art Concrete is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.

Fetischismus: Grundlagentexte vom 18. Jahrhundert bis in die Gegenwart (Fetishism: Source Texts from the 18th century to the present).

2017, Suhrkamp Verlag (Taschenbuch Wissenschaft): Frankfurt M.

Johannes Endres, author

This volume brings together key contributions from the history of fetishism as a cultural practice, discourse and concept. Texts gathered here stem from a variety of fields and disciplines, including ethnography, anthropology, religious history, sociology, the critique of commodification and consumerism, psychoanalysis, gender studies, aesthetics, semiotics and epistemology. These texts, and their selection and presentation in this book, are concerned with a number of questions, which are crucial to the history of fetishism since the 18th century up to the present: Which forces regulate peoples’ relationships to their favorite things? Does the veneration of a piece of clothing repeat an archaic disposition from a remote religious past? Is the commodity fetish a descendant of the idols of the so-called indigenous peoples? Or is the existence of the fetish only owed to the derogatory and misconstrued views of an opaque and alien ‘other’ (the ‘primitive’ people, the childish mind, the bourgeois economy, the pervert)? All texts are carefully introduced and linked to each other through commentaries by the editor, which outline major trajectories of one of the oldest fascinations of humankind – that with the seemingly meaningful objects that it surrounds itself with.

Friedrich Schlegel Handbuch: Leben – Werk – Wirkung (Friedrich Schlegel Handbook: Life – Work – Reception), Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler, 2017.

2017, J.B. METZLER: STUTTGART
Johannes Endres, author

Friedrich Schlegel’s life career, from his revolutionary youth over the Jena years up to his catholic conversion, serves as a mirror of the Romantic era as a whole. His theoretical writings laid the groundwork for the idea of Romantic poetry as a “progressive universal poetry”; his historical-critical method helped to establish ‘Literaturwissenschaft’ (literary studies) in the way it is still practiced today. This handbook presents Schlegel’s oeuvre in its entirety, covering, besides his literary and aesthetic writings, his texts and fragments on classical studies, philosophy, the history of European and world literature, history and politics, and art history, including his many-faceted activities as editor, journalist, and prolific letter writer. Additional chapters address terms and ideas pivotal to his work at large, such as Fragment, Irony, Wit (“Witz”), Mythology, Revolution, and Incomprehensibility. The book, which features contributions from internationally recognized Schlegel and Romanticism scholars, is the first comprehensive reference work on one of the most influential spearheads of European intellectual history.

ub_ucr_cover_finalUnruly Bodies: Dismantling Larry Clark’s Tulsa
Riverside: California Museum of Photography, 2016
Susan Laxton, editor

Between 1963 and 1971, the photographer Larry Clark shot and filmed his close group of friends, drug addicts in Tulsa, Oklahoma. When the images were published as the photo book Tulsa (1971), the pictures seared the wholesome image of the American heartland with graphic depictions of sex, drugs, and violence. Clark’s exposé was regarded alternately as a wretched narrative of the decline of American youth, accomplished at the expense of the bodies it represented, and welcomed as an artistic watershed of participant observer-oriented personal documentary valued for the photographer’s privileged access to hidden subcultures. Published in conjunction with the eponymous exhibition at the California Museum of Photography, Unruly Bodies seeks to remix Clark’s original story into a critical exhibition that moves beyond sensationalism toward examining the implications of such a photographic project for contemporary life.