‘The real revolution is internal … the most effective action is molecular.’ (Herbert Read, ‘Anarchism Past and Present’, 1947) This chapter looks at anarchist-related ideas of mutualism and nonhierarchy with an eye on what kind of art history has and could in future be written using such principles. There is a particular focus on the work of Herbert Read, not only as a well-known figure in our discipline but as a public intellectual who shaped postwar anarchist writing beyond art history, criticism and poetry. In the main, anarchist inflections
‘the miracle of that hesitant immobility’ (Henri Focillon, The Life of Forms in Art , 1934) Ecological concerns have traditionally been so little addressed in the art historical canon that even their absence has rarely been noted. 1 One might have imagined that since Enlightenment regimes started to visualise global systems (a project that culminates in ‘whole Earth’ ideologies and ‘blue planet’ photographs from space) more areas within art history might have had something to say about the ecological dimensions – the deep time, even – of
‘On the surface of the globe, for living matter in general, energy is always in excess.’ (Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share , 1949) The kinds of ecologically orientated art history we have so far reviewed converge around no singular ideological position. This chapter is equally promiscuous in its discussion of at best only loosely connected ecocritical contributions (from technical art history and environmental aesthetics to land art and eco-aesthetics), with the difference that materiality, ecology and the environment lie in plain sight. What
‘Man is animal; man is plant and flower; In him slumbers the beast, in him lives mimosa-like softness … this flight of appearances involves a change of methods’. (Alexander Blok, ‘The Decline of Humanism’, 1921) It seems axiomatic that art history is, and could only ever be, a humanities discipline. But could it soon grow into a posthumanities practice? After all, as McKenzie Wark observes: ‘All of the interesting and useful movements in the humanities since the late twentieth century have critiqued and dissented from the theologies of the human
In the last ten to twenty years, a new globalist discourse has taken hold in parts of Western art historiography and the exhibition scene. All the talk of taking a more global viewpoint can be understood as a response to growing pressure to waste no time in redressing our approaches in many different areas. In museums and art history institutes, a phenomenon can be observed that might be described by borrowing the notion of ‘thrust reversal’ from aviation. Institutions that until recently held fast
Rylands English MS 60, compiled for the Spencer family in the eighteenth century, contains 130 printed portraits of early modern artists gathered from diverse sources and mounted in two albums: 76 portraits in the first volume, which is devoted to northern European artists, and 54 in the second volume, containing Italian and French painters. Both albums of this ‘Collection of Engravings of Portraits of Painters’ were initially planned to include a written biography of each artist copied from the few sources available in English at the time, but that part of the project was abandoned. This article relates English MS 60 to shifting practices of picturing art history. It examines the rise of printed artists’ portraits, tracing the divergent histories of the genre south and north of the Alps, and explores how biographical approaches to the history of art were being replaced, in the eighteenth century, by the development of illustrated texts about art.
Introduction In this part, I draw in a number of earlier moments and contributions in the discipline to what could start to become the constituent parts of a proto-history of ‘Ecocritical Art History’. 1 In three chapters I look at these earlier ecologically tempered art historical contributions in the space that Guattari termed ‘Psyche’. I then widen my focus to re-examine a whole series of themes from art history, including the work done within ecofeminism, Marxist and queer theory, which, in their diverse ways, offer nonhierarchical
As the title of his chapter indicates, Swiss art historian and media theorist Beat Wyss suggests that specific technologies correspond to certain modes of cultural thought. According to media theorist Vilém Flusser, the invention of writing in the middle of the second millennium BCE and the invention of the technical image, i.e. photography, in the middle of the nineteenth century are to be considered the major cultural factors in media history. Wyss uses the analogy of a finer, ‘halftone mesh’ to bring into focus the economic, social, religious, political and artistic changes that occurred through the advent of the printing press, especially engraving, the medium of the book and reproducible images.
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.
Surrealism and film after 1945 is the only available volume devoted to the diverse permutations of international surrealist cinema after the canonical inter-war period. The collection features eleven essays by prominent scholars such as Tom Gunning, Michael Löwy, Gavin Parkinson, and Michael Richardson. An introductory chapter offers a historical overview of this period as well as a theoretical framework for new methodological approaches. Taken as a whole, the collection demonstrates that renowned figures such as Maya Deren, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Jan Švankmajer took part in shaping a vibrant and distinctive surrealist film culture following World War II. Interdisciplinary, intermedial, and international in scope, the volume follows upon recent advances in art history, which have demonstrated that surrealism’s post-war existence has been dynamic, vivid, and adventurous. Beyond the canonical inter-war period, surrealism immersed itself in myth and occultism, participated in anti-colonial struggles, influenced the rise of a youth counterculture, and presented new perspectives on sexuality and eroticism, all of which feed into the permutations of surrealist cinema. Addressing highly influential films and directors related to international surrealism during the second half of the twentieth century, this collection expands the purview of both surrealism and film studies by situating surrealism as a major force in post-war cinema.