In his chapter from Josh McPhee’s important exhibition and book Paper Politics (2009) about socially and politically engaged printmaking in the US, artist and activist Eric Triantafillou takes his cue from street art in San Francisco’s Mission District and raises pertinent questions about the role of such art in a society that ‘only claims to be democratic’ (288). He asks what a truly political art might mean today, especially when such art is frequently appropriated by the system that it itself criticises. It then becomes a mere ‘aesthetic commodity’ (289).
The notion of a ‘printmare’ – in analogy to a nightmare – is the pretext and theme for the artist and tutor at London’s Royal College of Art, Nicky Coutts. In a poetically conceived and intricately argued reflection, she considers the multiple nature and mutual enfolding of prints and humans, humans and animals, reality and imagination, past and future print and other technologies.
The role of American buyers in establishing an Italian fashion industry, 1950–55
By focusing on the role of the fashion buyer, this chapter confirms that, as had been the case for postwar Paris, the custom of North American buyers helped to develop Italy's nascent fashion system and place it firmly on the fashion map. Because a buyer's merchandise selections were the prism through which many North American women perceived European fashions and European style, the chapter places some emphasis on buyers' choices from the Italian seasonal offerings for the stores they worked for. It draws heavily upon the papers of Giovanni Battista Giorgini, held in the Archivio di Stato in Florence. The chapter also draws from the archives of the American department store chain I. Magnin, now held in the San Francisco Public Library. I. Magnin prided itself on the buying acumen of its staff. A surviving document, in the form of a television documentary transcript, explains I. Magnin's business approach.
In 2015 the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, on the initiative of philosopher Christy Mag Uidhir, devoted a whole issue to printmaking. The chosen essay by philosopher K. E. Gover sets out to consider the limited edition from an ontological perspective.
A cultural biography of Red-White-Blue, from Hong Kong to Louis Vuitton
This chapter discusses the extent to which a Chinese export has played a part in the realities and identities of varied communities, as well as the re-fashioning of Chinese exports into a fashion commodity. It traces the origin and development of Red-White-Blue, and its connotations and cultural significance to Hong Kong and communities across several continents. The chapter unpacks how various communities adopted and (re)interpreted their versions of Red-White-Blue bags. It provides a discussion on Louis Vuitton's replica of this plaid bag. The chapter juxtaposes Western fashion institutions and Asian street culture, and examines the relationship of Chinese production to the European-American fashion system. The analysis draws on empirical and ethnographic research, including interviews with makers and users, and detailed readings of the contemporary global fashion scene as represented in the traditional press and on the Web.
If Lambert’s text gives historical insight into changes as to the practices and values attributed to reproduction, Clare Humphries’ recent conference presentation provides a timely re-examination of Walter Benjamin’s famous text on reproduction – or more accurately, ‘reproducibility’ – especially his often-misrepresented notion of ‘aura’. It is also an excellent example of rigorously executed research motivated and informed by practice, as the author explains. Noting Benjamin’s own inconsistencies, Humphries arrives at the conclusion that aura arises within reproductive media themselves.
Drawing on the archives of the Galeries Lafayette, this chapter presents a case study of the 1953 Italian fair, a commercial event offering Parisian customers the very best Italian imports, from food to textiles. The case study allows us to assess the extent of influence on the French department store of American management practices and the building of a new European commercial network. This case study of the 1953 Galeries Lafayette Italian fair is a suitable starting-point for the historical study of those fashion professionals working behind the scenes. In addition, the chapter covers the post 1945 period, a less thoroughly researched moment in the historiography of retailing. It offers an opportunity to respond to the call of Victoria de Grazia, who underlined that 'the evolution of modern systems of distribution is astonishingly understudied'. The success of R. H. Macy's Italian promotion had a powerful impact on Galeries Lafayette.
Critic Shang Hui diagnoses a resurgence of Chinese printmaking in the early part of the twenty-first century. Dominated by the woodcut since the 1930s, Chinese printmaking was subject to the demands of the ideology of the communist state until the beginning of reforms in the 1980s and so, in printmaking, this translated into the adoption of techniques other than the woodcut.
In the 1950s and 1960s, blue jeans became a symbol of youth protests against the conformity of their parents. Vintage and designer denim became an important part of the global fashion system. The two case studies in this chapter draw on interviews with the CEOs of Kaihara and Japan Blue and documents from both the companies. The examples fit perfectly within a comparative, historical study of Japanese premium denim and jeans. The case studies demonstrate that producing denim, the fabric, is a different story and needs a different strategy from producing jeans, the garment. They are also closely related because of interdependence between the two industries; Kaihara, for example, dyes Japan Blue's woven cotton. An in-depth historical analysis of these two cases provides valuable insight into the historical competitiveness of denim and jeans manufacturing in Japan over the last five decades.
In the brief preamble to his short history of printmaking, German art historian Ernst Rebel notes that printmaking has gained attention among scholars of new media. The rapid development of image technologies, especially digital media, has revived an interest in prints and printmaking. They are now recognised as having provided the basis for the ‘technical image’ and therefore crucial to a genealogy of new media.