Agostino Brunias's paintings have often been understood as straightforward documents of visual ethnography that functioned as field guides for reading race. This book offers the first comprehensive study of Agostino Brunias's intriguing pictures of colonial West Indians of colour made for colonial officials and plantocratic elites during the late-eighteenth century. It talks about the so called 'Red' and 'Black' Caribs, dark-skinned Africans and Afro-Creoles, and mixed-race women and men. The book explores the role of the artist's paintings in reifying notions of race in the British colonial Caribbean and considers how the images both reflected and refracted common ideas about race. Although some historians argue that the conclusion of the First Carib War actually amounted to a stalemate, Brunias clearly documents it as a moment of surrender, with Joseph Chatoyer considering the terms of his people's submission. Young's Account of the Black Charaibs mobilised subtle and not-so-subtle allusions to the rebellion in Haiti to construct a narrative of the Carib Wars. The book analyses the imaging of Africans and Afro-Creoles in British colonial art. The painting named Mulatresses and Negro Woman Bathing, Brunias replaces his more quotidian trade scenes and negro dancing frolics with a bathing tableau set against a sylvan Eden. In Linen Market, Dominica, one arresting figure captivates the viewer more than any other. Brunias may have painted for the plantocractic class, constructing pretty pictures of Caribbean life that reflected the vision of the islands upon which white, colonialist identities depended.
Throughout the history of European painting, skin has been the most significant surface for artistic imitation, and flesh has been a privileged site of lifelikeness. Skin and flesh entertain complex metaphorical relationships with artefacts, images, their making and materiality: fabricated surfaces are often described as skins, skin and colour have a longstanding connection, and paint is frequently associated with flesh. This book considers flesh and skin in art theory, image making and medical discourse and focuses on seventeenth to nineteenth-century France. It describes a gradual shift between the early modern and the modern period and argues that what artists made when imitating human nakedness was not always the same. Initially understood in terms of the body’s substance, of flesh tones and body colour, it became increasingly a matter of skin, skin colour and surfaces. This shift is traced in the terminology of art theory and in the practices of painting, as well as engraving, colour printing and drawing. Each chapter is dedicated to a different notion of skin and its colour, from flesh tones via a membrane imbued with nervous energy to hermetic borderline. Looking in particular at works by Fragonard, David, Girodet, Benoist and Ingres, the focus is on portraits, as facial skin is a special arena for testing and theorising painterly skills and a site where the body and the image made of it become equally expressive.
Shanghai, long known as mainland China’s most cosmopolitan metropolis, has recently re-emerged as a global capital. Above sea: Contemporary art, urban culture, and the fashioning of global Shanghai offers the first in-depth examination of turn of the twenty-first-century Shanghai-based art and design—from state-sponsored exhibitions to fashionable cultural complexes to cutting-edge films and installations. This book offers a counter-touristic view of one of the world’s fastest developing megacities, one that penetrates the contradictions and buried layers of specific locales and artifacts of visual culture. Informed by years of in-situ research, including interviews with artists and designers, the book looks beyond contemporary art’s global hype to reveal persistent socio-political tensions accompanying Shanghai’s explosive transitions from semi-colonial capitalism to Maoist socialism to Communist Party–sponsored capitalism. Analyses of exemplary design projects such as Xintiandi and Shanghai Tang and artworks by Liu Jianhua, Yang Fudong, Gu Wenda, and others reveal how Shanghai’s global aesthetics construct glamorizing artifices that mask historically rooted cross-cultural conflicts between vying notions of foreign-influenced modernity versus anti-colonialist nationalism, and the city’s repressed socialist past versus its consumerist present. The book focuses on Shanghai-based art and design from the 1990s–2000s, the decades of the city’s most rapid post-socialist development, while also attending to pivotal Republican and Mao-era examples. Challenging the “East-meets-West” clichés that characterize discussions of urban Shanghai and contemporary Chinese art, this book illuminates critical issues facing today’s artists, architects, and designers and provides an essential field guide for students of art, design, art history, urban studies, and Chinese culture.
Staging art and Chineseness is about the politics of borders ascribed to Chinese
contemporary art and the identification of artists by locations and exhibitions.
The paradoxical subject of Chineseness is central to this inquiry, which begins
with the question, what does the term Chinese Art mean in the aftermath of the
globalized shift in art? Through an exploration of embodied and performative
representations (including eco-feminist performances) by artists from China and
diasporic locations, the case studies in this book put to the test the very
premise of the genealogical inscription for cultural objects attributed to the
residency, homeland, or citizenship of the Chinese artist. Acknowledging the
orientalist assumptions and appropriations that Chineseness also signifies, this
study connects the artistic performance to the greater historical scope of
‘geographical consciousness’ envisioned by past and present global expositions.
The emergence of China’s shiyan meishu experimental art movement in the
1980s–1990s has largely been the defining focus for ‘global art’ during the
period when artfairs, biennials, and triennials also came into prominence as the
new globalized art institution (exemplified by China’s first biennial in
Guangzhou). The political aim is to recognize the multiple contradictions and
repetitions of history engendered by art, nationalism, and capital in the legacy
of Althusserian/Maoist interpellations – the reifications of global capitalist
illusions in the twenty-first century are conveyed in this book by performative
artistic expressions and the temporal space of the exposition.
According to the author, queer as an identification and subjectivity is important to his writing of transnational South Asian art histories. This book talks about new transnational South Asian art histories, to make visible histories of artworks that remain marginalised within the discipline of art history. This is done through a deliberate 'productive failure', by not upholding the strictly genealogical approach. The book discusses authorship by examining the writing about the work of Anish Kapoor to explore the shifting manner in which critics and art historians have identified him and his work. It focuses on the author's own identification as queer and South Asian American to put pressure on the coherency of an LGBTQI art history. It connects formal similarities of abstract work produced in the 1960s in New York City by Cy Twombly and Natvar Bhavsar. The book deals with an art history that concerns facile categories such as South Asian/non-South Asian and black/white, and discusses the works of Stephen Dean, Mario Pfeifer, Adrian Margaret Smith Piper, and Kehinde Wiley. It focuses on practice-led research by discussing 'Sphere:dreamz,; which was produced by queer-identified South Asian women. Continuing the focus, the book looks at the multi-site exhibition 'Mixing It Up: Queering Curry Mile and Currying Canal Street', organised by the author in 2007. It addresses the question of how certain subjects are considered as 'belonging' and others as not; and the role of art in the reconstitution of notions of 'home' and transnational South Asian art histories.
Travelling images critically examines the migrations and transformations of images as they travel between different image communities. It consists of four case studies covering the period 1870–2010 and includes photocollages, window displays, fashion imagery and contemporary art projects. Through these four close-ups it seeks to reveal the mechanisms, nature and character of these migration processes, and the agents behind them, as well as the sites where they have taken place. The overall aim of this book is thus to understand the mechanisms of interfacing events in the borderlands of the art world. Two key arguments are developed in the book, reflected by its title Travelling images. First, the notion of travel and focus on movements and transformations signal an emphasis on the similarities between cultural artefacts and living beings. The book considers ‘the social biography’ and ‘ecology’ of images, but also, on a more profound level, the biography and ecology of the notion of art. In doing so, it merges perspectives from art history and image studies with media studies. Consequently, it combines a focus on the individual case, typical for art history and material culture studies with a focus on processes and systems, on continuities and ruptures, and alternate histories inspired by media archaeology and cultural historical media studies. Second, the central concept of image is in this book used to designate both visual conventions, patterns or contents and tangible visual images. Thus it simultaneously consider of content and materiality.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, women artists in the United States and Britain began to make texts and images of writing central to their visual compositions. This book explores the feminist stakes of that choice. It analyses how Adrian Piper, Nancy Spero, and Mary Kelly worked with the visual dimensions of language to transform how women are perceived. To illuminate the specific ways in which these artists and writers contribute to the production of a feminist imaginary, Part I charts the correspondences between the artwork of Piper and the writings of Davis. It analyses the artwork she created in the late 1960s and 1970s, when she began using text to create artwork that moves between what Piper identifies as 'the singular reality of the "other."' Davis's writing exposes the fictions animating projections that the black female body is perceived to be a malleable ground upon which fears and fantasies can take visual form. Part II focuses on aggression and traces how its repression plays out across Spero's Codex Artaud and Solanas's SCUM Manifesto. It argues that in Post-Partum Document, texts and pieces of writing become fetish objects that Kelly arranges into visual and linguistic 'poems' that forestall a confrontation with loss. Part III demonstrates that the maternal femininity thought to naturally inhere in woman is also restricted and muffled, quite efficiently repressing the possibility that women could address each other across maternal femininity's contested terrain.
Across the early decades of the seventeenth century, Englishmen and women moved through a physical, social, and mental world organised into a carefully maintained balance of motion and pause. This book examines how seventeenth-century English architectural theorists and designers rethought the domestic built environment in terms of mobility, as motion became a dominant mode of articulating the world across discourses. These discourses encompassed philosophy, political theory, poetry, and geography. From mid-century, the house and estate that had evoked staccato rhythms became triggers for mental and physical motion-evoking travel beyond England's shores, displaying vistas, and showcasing changeable wall surfaces. The book sets in its cultural context a strand of historical analysis stretching back to the nineteenth century Heinrich Wolfflin. It brings together the art, architectural, and cultural historical strands of analysis by examining why seventeenth-century viewers expected to be put in motion and what the effects were of that motion. Vistas, potentially mobile wall surface, and changeable garden provided precisely the essential distraction that rearticulated social divisions and assured the ideal harmony. Alternately feared and praised early in the century for its unsettling unpredictability, motion became the most certain way of comprehending social interactions, language, time, and the buildings that filtered human experience. At the heart of this book is the malleable sensory viewer, tacitly assumed in early modern architectural theory and history whose inescapable responsiveness to surrounding stimuli guaranteed a dependable world from the seventeenth century.
Bound Together: Leather, Sex, Archives, and Contemporary Art considers historic
gay and lesbian leather communities by way of two interrelated lines of enquiry;
addressing the archives where leather histories and their attendant visual and
material objects currently reside, while also examining the projects of
contemporary artists who bring leather histories to the fore, making an implicit
argument for their potential queer political force in the present. Arguing for
an expansive, yet grounded, consideration of the vicissitudes and pleasures of
archival work, the book centers the material and visual cultures produced by
members of gay and lesbian leather communities, tracing their contextual
meanings at the time of their making, as well as their continued ability to
produce community-specific histories in archival repositories (that may or may
not be solely dedicated to leather communities). Contemporary artists such as
Dean Sameshima, Die Kränken, Monica Majoli, A. K. Burns and A. L. Steiner, and
Patrick Staff have incorporated the themes, materialities, and/or histories of
such archival holdings into their heterogeneous practices, establishing leather
history as a persistent and generative touchstone for rethinking queer life,
relationality, and sexual politics.
Beyond its simple valorisation as a symbol of knowledge and progress in
post-Enlightenment narratives, light was central to the visual politics and
imaginative geographies of empire. Empires of Light describes how imperial
designations of ‘cities of light’ and ‘hearts of darkness’ were consonant with
the dynamic material culture of light in the nineteenth-century
industrialisation of light (in homes, streets, theatres, etc.) and its
instrumentalisation through industries of representation. Empires of Light
studies the material effects of light as power through the drama of imperial
vision and its engagement with colonial India. It evaluates responses by the
celebrated Indian painter Ravi Varma (1848–1906) to claim the centrality of
light in imperial technologies of vision, not merely as an ideological effect
but as a material presence that produces spaces and inscribes bodies.