Literatur und FetischismusLiteratur und Fetischismus: Das Bild des Schleiers zwischen Aufklärung und Moderne (Literature and Fetishism: The Veil-Motif from Enlightenment to Modernity)
2014, FINK: MUNICH
Johannes Endres, author

European eighteenth-century discourse saw the advent of two concepts, which have been central to our understanding of man’s relationship to the world and himself ever since: the proclamation of the autonomous artwork and the stigmatization of un-enlightened attitudes towards reality as ›fetishistic‹. The book argues that this is not a coincidence. Thus, it explores the discourse on and the phenomenon of fetishism in its major historical manifestations in ethnology, religious philosophy, social and economic theory, and finally psychoanalysis from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. Particular interest is paid to the metaphorical transfer of the veil motif between images and text, including the comparison of both media in the history of aesthetics from Lessing over Kant, Hegel and Nietzsche up to Benjamin and Warburg. The history of modern art thus appears as a revision of a teleology that implies an evolutionary escape of man from its fetishistic beginnings.

ConfessionsConfessions* of a Male Chauvinist Pig
2013, (ed.) Ex. cat. Riverside: California Museum of Photography
Susan Laxton, editor

Confessions* of a Male Chauvinist Pig, a collection of essays written in conjunction with the exhibition of the same name at the California Museum of Photography, reconsiders Garry Winograd’s book project Women Are Beautiful (1975). Women Are Beautiful is a set of 85 photographs culled from the hundreds Winogrand shot of women in public places between 1964 and 1973. Initially bearing the controversial subtitle “Observations of a Male Chauvinist Pig,” Winogrand’s book struggled to find a publisher and then withered in the light of feminist critique once it appeared. Confessions* aims to reorganize the photographs into a critical exhibition that places the project in the context of the turbulent 1960s, at the nexus of gender relations buffeted by the conflicting terms of the sexual revolution and the women’s movement, particularly in light of the consumption of women in media images.

Similitudo

Similitudo: Concepts of Likeness in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
2012, Fink Wilhelm GmbH
Jeanette Kohl, author

“Similitudo” discusses the role of realism and likeness in different media and time periods, from the 14th to the 17th century, with a particular emphasis on its relevance for the arts, philosophy, and the psychology of perception.”

Review in Renaissance Quarterly:
Reviewed work(s): Martin Gaier, Jeanette Kohl, and Alberto Saviello, eds. Similitudo: Konzepte der Ähnlichkeit in Mittelalter und Früher Neuzeit. Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2012.

“The paradigm of resemblance (similitudo in Latin) offers one mode for the assessment of visual images. Yet as a discrete concept, it is too infrequently the subject of examination, relegated as it is to one aspect of the larger discussions of portraiture, scientific illustration, or art theory. The threats of similitude as a broader topic of art-historical inquiry are clear: in its subjectivity and ephemerality, resemblance is volatile and changeable, that is, contingent. The current volume of essays, one product of the German research project The Power of Faces: The Bust, the Head, and the Body in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (2006–09), marks an important step in the historiography of the concept, for it takes this thorny issue as its central theme. The book ventures beyond the simple comparison of model and image to posit new understandings of likeness informed by the perspectives of philosophers like Charles Sanders Peirce and Hans-Georg Gadamer. This conceptual framework, which motivates many of the contributions, makes Similitudo a welcome addition to the literature on image theory.  Read More →

cover_issue_1323_de_DEEn Face. Seven Essays on the Human Face
2012, Marburg
Jeanette Kohl, co-edited

This thematic issue of the German art history journal kritische berichte gathers analytical approaches to the ‘phenomenon face’ from different disciplines: neurophysiology, philosophy of the body, cultural history, surgery, medieval history, and the history of art. In their contributions, the authors examine the face as medium and material, as mise-en-scene and matter, as mirror and membrane, producer and recipient – as a cultural construction and a human determinant. The essays are spurred by their author’s profound involvement with the questions: WHAT IS A FACE? What did and what does it mean, culturally, socially, psychologically, physiologically, aesthetically, historically? What might it look like in the future? What are our assumptions about what a face represents, what it means to lose one’s face, or live with someone else’s face. Often enough, we think of faces as identities. But, what does a face tell about ‘us’ – individually, culturally, and as a species? Perception and imagination, the belief in images and image making, they all overlap in the face. The book’s trans-disciplinary approach is a first step toward a cultural history of the face. It includes essays by Jean-Claude Schmitt, Bernard Andrieu, Sigrid Weigel, Georges Didi-Huberman, Claudia Schmoelders, Jonathan Cole, and an interview with the facial surgeon Rainer Schmelzeisen.


DeshmukhMaxMax Liebermann and International Modernism: An Artist’s Career from Empire to Third Reich
2011, New York/Oxford
Françoise Forster-Hahn, co-editor and contributing author

Published in Association with the German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C. and the Centre Allemand d’histoire de l’art/Deutsches Forum fur Kunstgeschichte, Paris Although Max Liebermann (1847-1935) began his career as a realist painter depicting scenes of rural labor, Dutch village life, and the countryside, by the turn of the century, his paintings had evolved into colorful images of bourgeois life and leisure that critics associated with French impressionism. During a time of increasing German nationalism, his paintings and cultural politics sparked numerous aesthetic and political controversies. His eminent career and his reputation intersected with the dramatic and violent events of modern German history from the Empire to the Third Reich. The Nazi’s persecution of modern and Jewish artists led to the obliteration of Liebermann from the narratives of modern art, but this volume contributes to the recent wave of scholarly literature that works to recover his role and his oeuvre from an international perspective.

WordstobelookdatWords to Be Looked At: Language in 1960s Art
2010, The MIT Press
Liz Kotz, author

Language has been a primary element in visual art since the 1960s–in the form of printed texts, painted signs, words on the wall, recorded speech, and more. In Words to Be Looked At, Liz Kotz traces this practice to its beginnings, examining works of visual art, poetry, and experimental music created in and around New York City from 1958 to 1968. In many of these works, language has been reduced to an object nearly emptied of meaning. Robert Smithson described a 1967 exhibition at the Dwan Gallery as consisting of “Language to be Looked at and/or Things to be Read.” Kotz considers the paradox of artists living in a time of social upheaval who use words but chose not to make statements with them. Kotz traces the proliferation of text in 1960s art to the use of words in musical notation and short performance scores. She makes two works the “bookends” of her study: the “text score” for John Cage’s legendary 1952 work 4’33”–written instructions directing a performer to remain silent during three arbitrarily determined time brackets– and Andy Warhol’s notorious a: a novel–twenty-four hours of endless talk, taped and transcribed–published by Grove Press in 1968. Examining works by artists and poets including Vito Acconci, Carl Andre, George Brecht, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, Jackson Mac Low, and Lawrence Weiner, Kotz argues that the turn to language in 1960s art was a reaction to the development of new recording and transmission media: words took on a new materiality and urgency in the face of magnetic sound, videotape, and other emerging electronic technologies. Words to Be Looked At is generously illustrated, with images of many important and influential but little-known works.