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Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Material culture, luxury, and the avant-garde
Author: Ory Bartal

This book tells the story of critical avant-garde design in Japan, which emerged during the tumultuous 1960s and continues to inspire contemporary designers today. The postwar avant-garde milieu gave rise to a ground-breaking popular visual language and garnered tremendous attention across the fields of product design, graphic design, fashion design, and architecture. It created conceptually challenging artefacts and made decisions that radically altered the course of Japanese design history. The avant-garde works that were created in the sphere of popular culture communicated a form of visual and material protest inspired by the ideologies and critical theories of the 1960s and 1970s, which were concerned with feminism, body politics, the politics of identity, and, later, ecological, anti-consumerist, and anti-institutional critiques as well as an emphasis on otherness. These designers were driven by passion, anger, and a desire to critique and change society and introduce the avant-garde political thinking of the 1960s and subversive visual and material practices into the heart of consumer culture starting from the 1980s. Their creations thus combined two seemingly contradictory concepts: luxury and the avant-garde. By presenting the new arena of avant-garde Japanese design that is operating as a critical sociopolitical agent and involves an encounter between popular culture, postmodern aesthetics, critical theory, and new economic rules, the book carries the common discourse on Japanese design beyond aesthetic concerns and especially beyond ‘beautiful’ or ‘sublime’, revealing the radical aesthetic of the designed objects that forms an interface leading to critical social protest.

From Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry to British Romantic art
Author: Hélène Ibata

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.

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The material and visual culture of the Stuart Courts, 1589–1619
Author: Jemma Field

This book analyses Anna of Denmark’s material and visual patronage at the Stuart courts, examining her engagement with a wide array of expressive media including architecture, garden design, painting, music, dress, and jewellery. Encompassing Anna’s time in Denmark, England, and Scotland, it establishes patterns of interest and influence in her agency, while furthering our knowledge of Baltic-British transfer in the early modern period. Substantial archival work has facilitated a formative re-conceptualisation of James and Anna’s relationship, extended our knowledge of the constituents of consortship in the period, and has uncovered evidence to challenge the view that Anna followed the cultural accomplishments of her son, Prince Henry. This book reclaims Anna of Denmark as the influential and culturally active royal woman that her contemporaries knew. Combining politics, culture, and religion across the courts of Denmark, Scotland, and England, it enriches our understanding of royal women’s roles in early modern patriarchal societies and their impact on the development of cultural modes and fashions. This book will be of interest to upper level undergraduate and postgraduate students taking courses on early modern Europe in the disciplines of Art and Architectural History, English Literature, Theatre Studies, History, and Gender Studies. It will also attract a wide range of academics working on early modern material and visual culture, and female patronage, while members of the public who enjoy the history of courts and the British royals will also find it distinctively appealing.

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Activism and design in Italy
Author: Ilaria Vanni

Precarious objects is a book about activism and design. The context is the changes in work and employment from permanent to precarious arrangements in the twenty-first century in Italy. The book presents design interventions that address precarity as a defuturing force affecting political, social and material conditions. Precarious objects shows how design objects, called here ‘orientation devices’, recode political communication and reorient how things are imagined, produced and circulated. It also shows how design as a practice can reconfigure material conditions and prefigure ways to repair some of the effects of precarity on everyday life. Three microhistories illustrate activist repertoires that bring into play design, and design practices that are grounded in activism. While the vitality, experimental nature and traffic between theory and praxis of social movements in Italy have consistently attracted the interest of activists, students and researchers in diverse fields, there exists little in the area of design research. This is a study of design activism at the intersection of design theory and cultural research for researchers and students interested in design studies, cultural studies, social movements and Italian studies.

Visualising a changing city

Delving into a hitherto unexplored aspect of Irish art history, Painting Dublin, 1886–1949 examines the depiction of Dublin by artists from the late-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Artists’ representations of the city have long been markers of civic pride and identity, yet in Ireland, such artworks have been overlooked in favour of the rural and pastoral, falling outside of the dominant disciplinary narratives of nationalism or modernism. Framed by the shift from city of empire to capital of an independent republic, this book chiefly examines artworks by of Walter Frederick Osborne (1857–1903), Rose Mary Barton (1856–1929), Jack Butler Yeats (1871–1957), Harry Aaron Kernoff (1900–74), Estella Frances Solomons (1882–1968), and Flora Hippisley Mitchell (1890–1973), encompassing a variety of urban views and artistic themes. While Dublin is renowned for its representation in literature, this book will demonstrate how the city was also the subject of a range of visual depictions, including those in painting and print. Focusing on the images created by these artists as they navigated the city’s streets, this book offers a vivid visualisation of Dublin and its inhabitants, challenging a reengagement with Ireland’s art history through the prism of the city and urban life.

Kimberley Skelton

motion natural imaginations’ that prompted ill-intentioned behaviour.35 Only then would children be so accustomed to thinking along expected moral lines that they would as if instinctively turn to the appropriate, approved actions. Yet Perkins’s remedy was merely partial, merely viable sometimes; as Thomas Wright explained in his Passions of the Minde in Generall, there was a perpetual risk that the violent passions could break free from reason’s cool control to unleash undesirable behaviour. The most innate and basic alliance governing human actions, according to

in The paradox of body, building and motion in seventeenth-century England
Kimberley Skelton

his early eighteenth-century Essay on Man. Under his pen, the familiarly precarious balance between deliberate reason and the violent passions became less a stable point of calm than ongoing moderate motion. Both the passions and reason were essential to human existence, he argued, because the passions provided the impetus toward action and reason tempered this passionate unruliness.41 Either reason alone or the passions alone would dangerously lead to destruction. Pope feared that deliberate reason would pin a man to ‘his peculiar spot, / To draw nutrition

in The paradox of body, building and motion in seventeenth-century England
Tijana Vujošević

Man man, one who inhabits and traverses the new space and who understands movement and his own body in a way that corresponds to the demands of the modern age of technology and progress. The grid, as the typical modernist way to present and record space, defining an abstract, mathematical, infinite environment, is the embodiment of this age. The wiggly lines are an attempt to locate passion, love, desire in the modernist grid, to use the stage to present a new vision of space – a fusion of space and time, a chronotope.1 The very lack of precision and neatness in

in Modernism and the making of the Soviet New Man
Hélène Ibata

Passions; we do naturally, upon such Occasions, think of God and his Greatness: And whatsoever hath but the Shadow and Appearance of INFINITE, as all Things have that are too big for our Comprehension, they fill and overbear the Mind with their Excess, and cast it into a pleasing kind of Stupor and Admiration.10 The encounter between Longinus and British criticism explicitly took place in the writings of John Dennis and Anthony Ashley Cooper, the third Earl of Shaftesbury. Dennis, who properly introduced the Longinian concept of the sublime into English literary

in The challenge of the sublime