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Henry Rack
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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.

Rethinking art, media, and the audio-visual contract
Author: Ming-Yuen S. Ma

There is no soundtrack is a specific yet expansive study of sound tactics deployed in experimental media art today. It analyses how audio and visual elements interact and produce meaning, drawing from works by contemporary media artists ranging from Chantal Akerman, to Nam June Paik, to Tanya Tagaq. It then links these analyses to discussions on silence, voice, noise, listening, the soundscape, and other key ideas in sound studies. In making these connections, the book argues that experimental media art – avant-garde film, video art, performance, installation, and hybrid forms – produces radical and new audio-visual relationships that challenge and destabilize the visually-dominated fields of art history, contemporary art criticism, cinema and media studies, and cultural studies as well as the larger area of the human sciences. This book directly addresses what sound studies scholar Jonathan Sterne calls ‘visual hegemony’. It joins a growing body of interdisciplinary scholarship that is collectively sonifying the study of culture while defying the lack of diversity within the field by focusing on practitioners from transnational and diverse backgrounds. Therefore, the media artists discussed in this book are of interest to scholars and students who are exploring aurality in related disciplines including gender and feminist studies, queer studies, ethnic studies, postcolonial studies, urban studies, environmental analysis, and architecture. As such, There Is No Soundtrack makes meaningful connections between previously disconnected bodies of scholarship to build new, more complex and reverberating frameworks for the study of art, media, and sound.

Der Blaue Reiter and its legacies
Author: Dorothy Price

This book presents new research on the histories and legacies of the German Expressionist group, Der Blaue Reiter, the founding force behind modernist abstraction. For the first time Der Blaue Reiter is subjected to a variety of novel inter-disciplinary perspectives, ranging from a philosophical enquiry into its language and visual perception, to analyses of its gender dynamics, its reception at different historical junctures throughout the twentieth century, and its legacies for post-colonial aesthetic practices. The volume offers a new perspective on familiar aspects of Expressionism and abstraction, taking seriously the inheritance of modernism for the twenty-first century in ways that will help to recalibrate the field of Expressionist studies for future scholarship. Der Blaue Reiter still matters, the contributors argue, because the legacies of abstraction are still being debated by artists, writers, philosophers and cultural theorists today.

Open Access (free)
Design and material culture in Soviet Russia, 1960s–80s
Author: Yulia Karpova

The major part of this book project was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 700913.

This book is about two distinct but related professional cultures in late Soviet Russia that were concerned with material objects: industrial design and decorative art. The Russian avant-garde of the 1920s is broadly recognised to have been Russia’s first truly original contribution to world culture. In contrast, Soviet design of the post-war period is often dismissed as hackwork and plagiarism that resulted in a shabby world of commodities. This book identifies the second historical attempt at creating a powerful alternative to capitalist commodities in the Cold War era. It offers a new perspective on the history of Soviet material culture by focusing on the notion of the ‘comradely object’ as an agent of progressive social relations that state-sponsored Soviet design inherited from the avant-garde. It introduces a shared history of domestic objects, handmade as well as machine-made, mass-produced as well as unique, utilitarian as well as challenging the conventional notion of utility. Situated at the intersection of intellectual history, social history and material culture studies, this book elucidates the complexities and contradictions of Soviet design that echoed international tendencies of the late twentieth century. The book is addressed to design historians, art historians, scholars of material culture, historians of Russia and the USSR, as well as museum and gallery curators, artists and designers, and the broader public interested in modern aesthetics, art and design, and/or the legacy of socialist regimes.

The moral life and the state
Jeff Rosen

, calling such exposure particularly inappropriate to the contemplative and internal processes of sacred devotion. In his Lectures on Poetry (1832–41), for example, Keble sought to establish poetry as superior to all other expressive forms: he considered poetry ‘the best, most oblique and sacred manner of expression available to the [Tractarian] believer’ because it was able to stress ‘the supernatural, sacramental element within poetry as a spontaneous overflow of spiritual feeling’.37 For Tractarians, the ‘doctrine of reserve’ addressed the question of how to properly

in Julia Margaret Cameron’s ‘fancy subjects’
Abstract only
The miraculous chance
Helen Hills

into a (pre-conceived) notion of the whole, and rather than assuming that the chapel is necessarily ‘part’ of ‘the Counter-Reformation’, I have sought to read the whole in the miniature. Naples’ streets are paved with lava from Vesuvius and its skies filled with protector saints. 7 I have shown how the Treasury Chapel ranges these forces and brings them into relation. City, nature, and the divine are orchestrated here through an unsurpassed material splendour. Threat and protection, the natural and the supernatural, the everyday and the exceptional are brought

in The matter of miracles
Hélène Ibata

judgments on those apprehensions is an entirely separate matter, and the moral sense theorists are wrong to confound the process of apprehension with the process of judgment.55 The connection between the sublime and the irrational went further. As Kirwan observes, it is Burke ‘who provides the clearest exposition of the potential incompatibility of reason and sublimity, even situating this incompatibility in that realm of the supernatural that might, for some, include any religious belief’.56 Burke’s willing acceptance of diverse forms of the supernatural and religious

in The challenge of the sublime
Academic compromises
Hélène Ibata

frisson’.16 This new mode, which soon became the most explicit response to the Burkean challenge in British painting, often relied on terrifying biblical or super­natural subjects combined with natural catastrophes or natural settings invested with overpowering divine forces. Poussin’s Deluge showed how compounding natural and divine sources of terror could allow painters to make up for the determinacy of their art through the intensification of fear. The painting consequently inspired numerous deluge scenes, by such artists as James Jefferys, Mauritius Lowe, Jacob More

in The challenge of the sublime
Material transformations
Helen Hills

’ Forastieri, 1714) 6 Just as metal is the analogy for the assaying of the saint, metals and metallurgy structure, define, occupy, and defend the Treasury Chapel in relations of material analogy. Metals endure. They can survive extremes of heat and manipulation. It was partly to secure their ‘everlasting’ capacities that the deputies sought them out and insisted on using copper, rather than panel or canvas, for the chapel’s altarpieces. 7 Metals were seen to participate in the natural and the supernatural, to be immanent and transcendent: ‘Metals were made for a

in The matter of miracles