2021, TERra foundation for American art
Humans are organisms, but “the human being” is a term referring to a complicated, self-contradictory, and historically evolving set of concepts and practices. Humans explores competing versions, constructs, and ideas of the human being that have figured prominently in the arts of the United States. These essays consider a range of artworks from the colonial period to the present, examining how they have reflected, shaped, and modeled ideas of the human in American culture and politics. The book addresses to what extent artworks have conferred more humanity on some human beings than others, how art has shaped ideas about the relationships between humans and other beings and things, and in what ways different artistic constructions of the human being evolved, clashed, and intermingled over the course of American history. Humans both tells the history of a concept foundational to US civilization and proposes new means for its urgently needed rethinking.