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Yulia Karpova

2 Technical aesthetics against the disorder of things In March 1964 Dekorativnoe Iskusstvo SSSR published an overview of modern modular furniture. It opened with a description of modern objects’ rapid intervention in the home: The TV set required rearrangement. Turning its back to the light, it oriented the recreation zone around itself. This attracted soft chairs, a collapsible sofa, a coffee table and decorative objects, whereas a dining table, which used to occupy an honourable central place in the room, had to move closer to the wall. Doing so, it did not

in Comradely objects
The journey of the ‘painterly real’, 1987–2004

The book addresses late-Soviet and post-Soviet art in Armenia in the context of turbulent social, political and cultural transformations in the late 1980s, throughout the 1990s and in early 2000s through the aesthetic figure of the ‘painterly real’ and its conceptual transformations. It explores the emergence of ‘contemporary art’ in Armenia from within and in opposition to the practices, aesthetics and institutions of Socialist Realism and National Modernism. The book presents the argument that avant-garde art best captures the historical and social contradictions of the period of the so-called ‘transition,’ especially if one considers ‘transition’ from the perspective of the former Soviet republics that have been consistently marginalized in Russian- and East European-dominated post-Socialist studies. Throughout the two decades that encompass the chronological scope of this work, contemporary art has encapsulated the difficult dilemmas of autonomy and social participation, innovation and tradition, progressive political ethos and national identification, the problematic of communication with the world outside of Armenia’s borders, dreams of subjective freedom and the imperative to find an identity in the new circumstances after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This historical study outlines the politics (liberal democracy), aesthetics (autonomous art secured by the gesture of the individual artist), and ethics (ideals of absolute freedom and radical individualism) of contemporary art in Armenia. Through the historical investigation, a theory of post-Soviet art historiography is developed, one that is based on a dialectic of rupture and continuity in relation to the Soviet past. As the first English-language study on contemporary art in Armenia, the book is of prime interest for artists, scholars, curators and critics interested in post-Soviet art and culture and in global art historiography.

Anna Dezeuze

Junk aesthetics in a throwaway age Junk aesthetics in a throwaway age In America, one is either ‘Hip’ or ‘Square’, declared Norman Mailer in 1957. Such are the alternatives: ‘one is a rebel or one conforms, one is a frontiersman in the Wild West of American night life, or else a Square cell, trapped in the totalitarian tissues of American society, doomed willy-nilly to conform if one is to succeed’.1 By 1959, this opposition had been popularised to the point that Life published an illustrated article relishing the contrasts between Squaresville (Hutchinson

in Almost nothing
Colette Gaiter

The Black Panther newspaper and revolutionary aesthetics Colette Gaiter The Black Panther Party (BPP) and the Maoist Chinese artists who created posters and visual images in the 1960s and 1970s spread political ideology through empathetic, simple and bold images of everyday people. Viewers of these images could actually see themselves as revolutionaries by identifying with their protagonists. Emory Douglas, the Minister of Culture, designer, illustrator and ‘revolutionary artist’ for the BPP, was ‘the Norman Rockwell of the ghetto’,1 portraying poor and working

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Victoria H. F. Scott

Reproducibility, propaganda and the Chinese origins of neoliberal aesthetics Victoria H. F. Scott The artist has truth on his or her team. Andrew J. Mitchell, Heidegger Among the Sculptors1 Walter Benjamin’s thesis about the reproducibility of art is often misconstrued. The significance of the reproducibility of art, via the invention of photography (and later film and television), is frequently explained as the first step towards the democratisation and demystification of art. After the invention of photography circa 1826, the story goes, everyone could own a

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Hélène Ibata

147 5 u Immersive spectatorship at the panorama and the aesthetics of the sublime While academic painting could accommodate the aesthetics of the Enquiry by conflating the great style with terrifying, supernatural or irrational subject matter, it did not initially respond to the call for formal innovation that was implicit in Burke’s criticism of painting. The confidence given by neoclassical precepts –​but also by the new status conferred on artists by the Royal Academy –​made it possible to overlook Burke’s argument that, as a literal and mimetic medium

in The challenge of the sublime
Colin Trodd

The first part of this article focuses on previously unstudied materials relating to the critical recuperation of William Blake in the period between c.1910 and 1930. It notes how commentators utilised ideas of citizenship and hospitality when they attempted to modernise Blake’s interests and concerns. It explains how these distinctive critical idioms were constructed, what they had in common and how they situated Blake in larger public arguments about the social significance of cultural creativity. The second part of the article traces the ramifications of this new way of thinking about Blake by noting his appearance in modernist and neo-romantic art criticism in the 1930s and 1940s.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
From Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry to British Romantic art
Author:

The challenge of the sublime argues that the unprecedented visual inventiveness of the Romantic period in Britain could be seen as a response to theories of the sublime, more specifically to Edmund Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757). While it is widely accepted that the Enquiry contributed to shaping the thematics of terror that became fashionable in British art from the 1770s, this book contends that its influence was of even greater consequence, paradoxically because of Burke’s conviction that the visual arts were incapable of conveying the sublime. His argument that the sublime was beyond the reach of painting, because of the mimetic nature of visual representation, directly or indirectly incited visual artists to explore not just new themes, but also new compositional strategies and even new or undeveloped pictorial and graphic media, such as the panorama, book illustrations and capricci. More significantly, it began to call into question mimetic representational models, causing artists to reflect about the presentation of the unpresentable and the inadequacy of their endeavours, and thus drawing attention to the process of artistic production itself, rather than the finished artwork. By revisiting the links between eighteenth-century aesthetic theory and visual practices, The challenge of the sublime establishes new interdisciplinary connections which address researchers in the fields of art history, cultural studies and aesthetics.

Abstract only
American correspondences in visual and verbal practices

Mixed Messages presents and interrogates ten distinct moments from the arts of nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century America where visual and verbal forms blend and clash. Charting correspondences concerned with the expression and meaning of human experience, this volume moves beyond standard interdisciplinary theoretical approaches to consider the written and visual artwork in embodied, cognitive, and contextual terms. Offering a genuinely interdisciplinary contribution to the intersecting fields of art history, avant-garde studies, word-image relations, and literary studies, Mixed Messages takes in architecture, notebooks, poetry, painting, conceptual art, contemporary art, comic books, photographs and installations, ending with a speculative conclusion on the role of the body in the experience of digital mixed media. Each of the ten case studies explores the juxtaposition of visual and verbal forms in a manner that moves away from treating verbal and visual symbols as operating in binary or oppositional systems, and towards a consideration of mixed media, multi-media and intermedia work as brought together in acts of creation, exhibition, reading, viewing, and immersion. The collection advances research into embodiment theory, affect, pragmatist aesthetics, as well as into the continuing legacy of romanticism and of dada, conceptual art and surrealism in an American context.

Author:

This book presents a study that is an attempt to understand the phenomenal increase in the production and demand for stained glass between about 1835 and 1860. The book provides both history and context for thousands of Victorian stained-glass windows that exist in churches across the country. It aims to: ask why people became interested in stained glass; examine how glass-painters set up their studios; and understand how they interacted with each other and their patrons. To understand why so many windows were commissioned and made in the Victorian period, readers need to understand how buying a stained-glass window became a relatively ordinary thing to do. In order to examine this, the book focuses on those who wrote or spoke about stained glass in the formative years of the revival. It is important to look at the production of stained glass as a cultural exchange: a negotiation in both financial and cultural terms that was profitable for both glass-painter and patron. The history of Victorian stained glass allows an examination of many other areas of nineteenth-century cultural history. Readers can learn a lot about the aesthetics of the Gothic Revival, ecclesiology, the relationship between 'fine' and 'decorative' art, and the circulation of art history in the 1840s. While many interesting glass-painters have necessarily been omitted, the author hopes that the case studies in the book will provide a point of reference for the research of future scholars.