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15 FEBRUARY 2015

Smithsonian Libraries Artists' Books Collection Online

"Artists' books are works of art, like paintings or sculptures, but in book form. While book illustration has a much longer history, the book as art object is a product of the 20th century. Some of the early examples were created by Futurists and Dadaists in their politically–motivated pamphlets and magazines, by Fluxus artists in their happenings, and by conceptual artists' in their work to dematerialize the art object. Artists' books can also be unique creations undertaken with extreme care and attention to detail. Some are experimental and done by artists better known as painters or sculptors, as a way to extend their artistic practice. Many artists use the book format to create narratives to deal with difficult issues, with ideas that cannot be conveyed as clearly on a canvas or other medium. Some artist–made books illustrate the words of others, integrating art and literature. And some artists' books do not have words at all. As a work created by an artist, the nature, appearance and purpose, of an artist's book can be fundamentally different from what one might find on the shelves of the library.

Artists' books exist at the intersections of printmaking, photography, poetry, experimental narrative, visual arts, graphic design, and publishing. They have made a place for themselves in the collections of museums, libraries, and private collectors. They have caught the interest of art historians and critics writing about art, and there are numerous studio programs in art schools dedicated to the art of the book, ushering in new generations of artists making books."

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20th century • art and literature • art object • artist-made books • artists books • artists making books • Barbara Krugerbook formbook formatbook publishing • cataloguer • cataloguing challenge • Claire Van Vliet • Cooper Hewitt Library • cross-institution collaboration • culture onlineDada • defy easy classification • Dibner Library • diorama • Ed Ruscha • experimental books • FluxusFuturism (art movement) • Georges Adeagbo • graphic designhappenings • Hirshhorn Museum • Ida Applebroog • illustrating the words of others • Joe Freedman • Julie Chen • Kara Walker • Laura Davidson • library catalogue • Luan Nel • museum collectionsnational cultural heritage online • National Museum of African Art • National Portrait Gallery Library • online resource • pamphlets • paper engineering • photographypoetry • politically motivated • pop-up booksprintmaking • Smithsonian American Art Museum • Smithsonian Design Library • Smithsonian LibrariesSol LeWitt • the art of the book • Thomas Parker Williams • unusual physical features • Virginia Flynn • visual arts • Warren M Robbins Library • William Kentridgeworks of artYoko Ono

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 NOVEMBER 2014

Edmund Burke on the sublime

"Some things that move us are beautiful, others are sublime. But the sublime moves us more profoundly than the beautiful. See how Edmund Burke tied the experience of the sublime to the possibility of pain and how the idea went on to influence the artistic Romanticism movement. Voiced by Harry Shearer. Scripted by Nigel Warburton."

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18th centuryaesthetic experienceaesthetic spectacleAge of Enlightenment • apprehension • aristocratic political norms • aristocratic social norms • artistic movementauthenticityawebeautifulChinoiserie • Counter-Enlightenment • Edmund Burke • emotion • European phenomenon • exhilarating experienceexoticexperience of the sublimefolk artfrightening • Harry Shearer • heroic individualism • historical inevitability • historiography • history of ideashorror • imagination to envision and to escape • individual imagination • industrial revolution • intense emotion • intuitionmedieval art • medievalism • musical impromptu • nationalism • natural epistemology of human activities • natural inevitability • natural sciencesnatureNigel Warburtonpicturesque • possibility of pain • representation of ideas • Rococo • romantic era • romantic notion of the artist • romantic period • romantic sublimeromanticism • scientific rationalisation of nature • spontaneity • Sturm und Drang • sublime • sublimity of untamed nature • terror • unfamiliar • urban sprawlvisual artsvisual spectacle

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
01 JULY 2014

The art object does not embody a form of knowledge

"In this paper, I start from the position that the proper goal of visual arts research is visual art. An alternative position is that the art making process yields knowledge that is independent of the actual art objects produced. However, this relegates the art object to that of a by–product of the knowledge acquisition process, and, in my view, places visual art making in the service of some other discipline. Notwithstanding the fact that valuable knowledge may be acquired in this way, from my standpoint it would be undesirable for this to become the dominant mode of arts research. Therefore, from my position the most interesting proposition to explore is the claim that the art object is a form of knowledge since it locates the art object as a central and fundamental component of the knowledge acquisition process.

Nevertheless, as you will see, in this paper I argue against this proposition. I will not claim that the visual art object cannot communicate knowledge–it can. Instead, I will argue that this knowledge is typically of a superficial nature and cannot account for the deep insights that art is usually thought to endow into emotions, human nature and relationships, and our place in the World, etc. In short, I aim to demonstrate that visual art is not, nor has it ever been, primarily a form of knowledge communication; nor is it a servant of the knowledge acquisition enterprise."

(Stephen Scrivener, 2002)

Scrivener, Stephen (2002) "The art object does not embody a form of knowledge". Working Papers in Art & Design – Vol 2.

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CONTRIBUTOR

Liam Birtles
30 JANUARY 2014

Lecture by curator, theorist and art critic Nicolas Bourriaud

Symposium: Other Perspectives. Hafnarhus, weekend 13 – 14 August 2011.

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2011 • art and philosophy • contemporary artcritical position • cultural sphere • desensitisation • DJ • first modern age • identityideology • instrument realisation • Jacques LacanlocalLouis AlthusserMarcel Duchampmaterial processesmaterialismmaterialitymodernism • new maternity • Nicolas BourriaudPaolo Pasolinipersonal identityphilosophyPiet Mondrianpost-productionpostmodernism • providential man • psychoanalysis • rearticulation • reificationrelational aestheticsReykjavik • Reykjavik Art Museum • sexual fear • social needs • social unconscious • structuralismsymposiumvisual arts

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
09 NOVEMBER 2013

Superstudio: the radical Italian architectural group

"The collective emerged in 1966 at the moment when the technocratic optimism of the first half of the 1960s was souring. The watershed was the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in China in 1966 when Mao Tse–tung gave Western intellectuals a new cause to believe in after a decade of disillusion since their faith in communism was shattered by Khrushchev's exposure of Stalin's brutalities. Events in China made Western society seem spiritually barren at a time of growing concern about the Vietnam War. In the visual arts, radicals rebelled against the extrovert imagery of Pop Art in favour of the politically engaged work of Fluxus artists like Joseph Beuys and Nam June Paik. The rising tide of political frustration culminated in the 1968 student riots in Paris and copycat protests in London, Tokyo and Prague. Women formed fledgeling feminist movements such as the Women's Liberation Front in the US and Mouvement de Libération des Femmes in France. Decades of oppression against gay men and women erupted in a pitched battle in New York, when the police tried to close the Stonewall, a gay bar in the West Village and a politicised gay rights movement exploded.

Superstudio's response was to develop its 'Anti–Design' projects: themes from which were echoed in the work of other radical architects and designers, notably the members of Archizoom, a fellow Florentine group consisting of Andrea Branzi, Gilberto Corretti, Paolo Deganello, Dario and Lucia Bartolini and Massimo Morozzi. Both groups were founded in 1966 and their first important project was to express their theories about the crisis of modernism in the Superarchitecture exhibition in Pistoia, Italy. A year later, they refined the ideas aired in Superarchitecture in a joint follow–up show in Modena."

(Design Museum)

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1966 • Adolfo Natalini • Alessandro Magris • Andrea Branzi • Anti-Design (agenda) • Archigram • architectural thinking • Archizoom • avant-garde • avant-garde thinking • Cristiano Toraldo di Francia • Cultural Revolution • Dario Bartolini • design museum • disillusionment • FlorenceFluxus group • Foreign Office Architects • Gilberto Corretti • ItalyJoseph Beuys • Lucia Bartolini • Mao Tse-tung • Massimo Morozzi • Modena • modernismmodernist ideals • Mouvement de Liberation des Femmes • Nam June PaikNikita Khrushchev • Paolo Deganello • Peoples Republic of Chinaphotocollage • Piero Frassinelli • Pistoia • political frustration • pop artPragueradical architecture • radical design • Rem Koolhaas • Roberto Magris • scientific method • Studio Alchymia • Superarchitecture (exhibition) • superfluous objects • Superstudio • technocratic optimism • Toraldo di Francia • University of Florence • Vietnam war • visionary scenarios • visual arts • vociferous • Womens Liberation Front

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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