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In Museum Skepticism, art historian David Carrier traces the birth, evolution, and decline of the public art museum as an institution meant to spark democratic debate and discussion. Carrier contends that since the inception of the public art museum during the French Revolution, its development has depended on growth: on the expansion of collections, particularly to include works representing non-European cultures, and on the proliferation of art museums around the globe. Arguing that this expansionist project has peaked, he asserts that art museums must now find new ways of making high art relevant to contemporary lives. Ideas and inspiration may be found, he suggests, in mass entertainment such as popular music and movies.

Carrier illuminates the public role of art museums by describing the ways they influence how art is seen: through their architecture, their collections, the narratives they offer museum visitors. He insists that an understanding of the art museum must take into account the roles of collectors, curators, and museum architects. Toward that end, he offers a series of case studies, showing how particular museums and their collections evolved. Among those who figure prominently are Baron Dominique Vivant Denon, the first director of the Louvre; Bernard Berenson, whose connoisseurship helped Isabella Stewart Gardner found her museum in Boston; Ernest Fenollosa, who assembled much of the Asian art collection now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Albert Barnes, the distinguished collector of modernist painting; and Richard Meier, architect of the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles. Carrier’s learned consideration of what the art museum is and has been provides the basis for understanding the radical transformation of its public role now under way.

In this vivid and captivating journey through the colors of an artist’s palette, Victoria Finlay takes us on an enthralling adventure around the world and through the ages, illuminating how the colors we choose to value have determined the history of culture itself.

How did the most precious color blue travel all the way from remote lapis mines in Afghanistan to Michelangelo’s brush? What is the connection between brown paint and ancient Egyptian mummies? Why did Robin Hood wear Lincoln green? In Color, Finlay explores the physical materials that color our world, such as precious minerals and insect blood, as well as the social and political meanings that color has carried through time.

Roman emperors used to wear togas dyed with a purple color that was made from an odorous Lebanese shellfish–which probably meant their scent preceded them. In the eighteenth century, black dye was called logwood and grew along the Spanish Main. Some of the first indigo plantations were started in America, amazingly enough, by a seventeen-year-old girl named Eliza. And the popular van Gogh painting White Roses at Washington’s National Gallery had to be renamed after a researcher discovered that the flowers were originally done in a pink paint that had faded nearly a century ago. Color is full of extraordinary people, events, and anecdotes–painted all the more dazzling by Finlay’s engaging style.

Embark upon a thrilling adventure with this intrepid journalist as she travels on a donkey along ancient silk trade routes; with the Phoenicians sailing the Mediterranean in search of a special purple shell that garners wealth, sustenance, and prestige; with modern Chilean farmers breeding and bleeding insects for their viscous red blood. The colors that craft our world have never looked so bright.
Everyone who looks at contemporary art is familiar with galleries. But visual features of these mysterious temples tend to be taken for granted. The basic purpose of this book is to enliven the reader’s latent knowledge of galleries, including architectural motifs, the intended impression that is conveyed to the visitor, and human interactions within them.

The contemporary art world system includes artists’ studios, art galleries, homes of collec-tors and public art museums. To comprehend art, one needs to understand these settings and how it travels through them. The contemporary art gallery is a store where luxury goods are sold. What distinguishes it from stores selling other luxuries – upscale clothing, jewelry, and posh cars – is the nature of the merchandise. While much has been written about the art, this book uncovers the secretive culture of the galleries themselves.

The gallery is the public site where art is first seen – anyone can come and look for free. This store, a commercial site, is where aesthetic judgments are made. Art’s value is determined in this marketplace by the consensus formed by public opinion, professional re-viewers and sales. The gallery, then, is the nexus of the enigmatic, billion dollar art world, and it is that space that is dissected here.

The first chapter briefly describes the beginnings of the present contemporary art gallery. The second presents the experience of gallery going, presenting summary accounts of vis-its to some contemporary galleries. The third expands and extends that analysis, with de-tailed close up descriptions and comparative evaluations of many diverse contemporary galleries, in order to identify the challenges provided by these marvelous places. Then the fourth chapter indicates why, in the near future, due to the proliferation of myriad art fairs and online platforms extant today, such galleries might disappear altogether.

The Wall Street Journal called him “a living legend.” The London Times dubbed him “the most famous art detective in the world.”
 
In Priceless, Robert K. Wittman, the founder of the FBI’s Art Crime Team, pulls back the curtain on his remarkable career for the first time, offering a real-life international thriller to rival The Thomas Crown Affair.   
 
Rising from humble roots as the son of an antique dealer, Wittman built a twenty-year career that was nothing short of extraordinary. He went undercover, usually unarmed, to catch art thieves, scammers, and black market traders in Paris and Philadelphia, Rio and Santa Fe, Miami and Madrid.
 
In this page-turning memoir, Wittman fascinates with the stories behind his recoveries of priceless art and antiquities: The golden armor of an ancient Peruvian warrior king. The Rodin sculpture that inspired the Impressionist movement. The headdress Geronimo wore at his final Pow-Wow. The rare Civil War battle flag carried into battle by one of the nation’s first African-American regiments.
 
The breadth of Wittman’s exploits is unmatched: He traveled the world to rescue paintings by Rockwell and Rembrandt, Pissarro, Monet and Picasso, often working undercover overseas at the whim of foreign governments. Closer to home, he recovered an original copy of the Bill of Rights and cracked the scam that rocked the PBS series Antiques Roadshow.
 
By the FBI’s accounting, Wittman saved hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art and antiquities. He says the statistic isn’t important. After all, who’s to say what is worth more --a Rembrandt self-portrait or an American flag carried into battle? They're both priceless. 
 
The art thieves and scammers Wittman caught run the gamut from rich to poor, smart to foolish, organized criminals to desperate loners.  The smuggler who brought him a looted 6th-century treasure turned out to be a high-ranking diplomat.  The appraiser who stole countless heirlooms from war heroes’ descendants was a slick, aristocratic con man.  The museum janitor who made off with locks of George Washington's hair just wanted to make a few extra bucks, figuring no one would miss what he’d filched.
 
In his final case, Wittman called on every bit of knowledge and experience in his arsenal to take on his greatest challenge: working undercover to track the vicious criminals behind what might be the most audacious art theft of all.
Every two minutes, Americans alone take more photographs than were printed in the entire nineteenth century; every minute, people from around the world upload over 300 hours of video to YouTube; and in 2014, we took over one trillion photographs. From the funny memes that we send to our friends to the disturbing photographs we see in the news, we are consuming and producing images in quantities and ways that could never have been anticipated. In the process, we are producing a new worldview powered by changing demographics—one where the majority of people are young, urban, and globally connected.

In How to See the World, visual culture expert Nicholas Mirzoeff offers a sweeping look at history's most famous images—from Velázquez's Las Meninas to the iconic “Blue Marble”—to contextualize and make sense of today's visual world. Drawing on art history, sociology, semiotics, and everyday experience, he teaches us how to close read everything from astronaut selfies to Impressionist self-portraits, from Hitchcock films to videos taken by drones. Mirzoeff takes us on a journey through visual revolutions in the arts and sciences, from new mapping techniques in the seventeenth century to new painting styles in the eighteenth and the creation of film, photography, and x-rays in the nineteenth century. In today's networked world, mobile technology and social media enable us to exercise “visual activism”—the practice of producing and circulating images to drive political and social change. Whether we are looking at pictures showing the effects of climate change on natural and urban landscapes or an fMRI scan demonstrating neurological addiction, Mirzoeff helps us to find meaning in what we see.

A powerful and accessible introduction to this new visual culture, How to See the World reveals how images shape our lives, how we can harness their power for good, and why they matter to us all.
Contemporary art has never been so popular - but what is 'contemporary' about contemporary art? What is its role today, and who is controlling its future? Bloody toy soldiers, gilded shopping carts, and embroidered tents. Contemporary art is supposed to be a realm of freedom where artists shock, break taboos, flout generally received ideas, and switch between confronting viewers with works of great emotional profundity and jaw-dropping triviality. But away from shock tactics in the gallery, there are many unanswered questions. Who is really running the art world? What effect has America's growing political and cultural dominance had on art? Julian Stallabrass takes us inside the international art world to answer these and other controversial questions, and to argue that behind contemporary art's variety and apparent unpredictability lies a grim uniformity. Its mysteries are all too easily explained, its depths much shallower than they seem. Contemporary art seeks to bamboozle its viewers while being the willing slave of business and government. This book is your antidote and will change the way you see contemporary art. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Herbert Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) received his PhD in English literature from Cambridge University and taught in the United States and Canada. He is best known, however, as the founding father of media studies. McLuhan was Director of the Center for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto. Among his ground-breaking works on the psychic and social dimensions of communication technology are The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962); Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man (1964); and The Medium Is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (1967).
Michel Moos' premise is that Marshall McLuhan's importance derives from his achievements in rethinking the entire process of education and training itself, not with his popular fame as media guru, and he analyzes McLuhan's work from the feedback effect his vision continues to provide, rather than from the perspective of interpreting McLuhan's pronouncements on the electronic media. Moos contrasts McLuhan's thoughts with those of such thinkers as Roland Barthes, Fredric Jameson, Friedrich Kittler, Donna Haraway, and Deleuze and Guattari, and renders an updated account of the effect of the mass media on our society and ourselves.
The concept "the medium is the message" is the hub around which Marshall McLuhan's explorations revolved. McLuhan's interests ranged from sixteenth-century literature to twentieth-century business practices. With wit and literary flair, he reported the media's influence on society and on the individual. He concluded that we could not escape being transformed by the forces that are hidden deeply within the electronic telecommunications revolution of the sixties. For McLuhan, the new mediums of film, television, and the emerging realm of the digital were the modern equivalent of Gutenberg's printing press.
Essays by M. McLuhan. Edited and with a Commentary by M.A. Moos.
From bestselling author Ross King, a brilliant portrait of the legendary artist and the story of his most memorable achievement.

Claude Monet is perhaps the world's most beloved artist, and among all his creations, the paintings of the water lilies in his garden at Giverny are most famous. Monet intended the water lilies to provide "an asylum of peaceful meditation." Yet, as Ross King reveals in his magisterial chronicle of both artist and masterpiece, these beautiful canvases (featured in black and white images throughout, as well as a 16-pg color insert) belie the intense frustration Monet experienced in trying to capture the fugitive effects of light, water, and color. They also reflect the terrible personal torments Monet suffered in the last dozen years of his life.

Mad Enchantment tells the full story behind the creation of the Water Lilies, as the horrors of World War I came ever closer to Paris and Giverny and a new generation of younger artists, led by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, were challenging the achievements of Impressionism. By early 1914, French newspapers were reporting that Monet, by then seventy-three, had retired his brushes. He had lost his beloved wife, Alice, and his eldest son, Jean. His famously acute vision--what Paul Cezanne called “the most prodigious eye in the history of painting”--was threatened by cataracts. And yet, despite ill health, self-doubt, and advancing age, Monet began painting again on a more ambitious scale than ever before.

Linking great artistic achievement to the personal and historical dramas unfolding around it, Ross King presents the most intimate and revealing portrait of an iconic figure in world culture.
In the quarter century following the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, art museums, along with other public institutions, were tasked with making their facilities and collections more accessible to people with disabilities. Although blind and other disabled people have become marginally more visible in recent years, the vast majority of blind Americans remain undereducated and unemployed. In More Than Meets the Eye, Georgina Kleege shows how the scrutiny of one cultural issue-access to arts institutions-in relation to one subset of the disabled population- blind people-can lead us to larger and more general implications. Kleege begins by examining representations of blindness, arguing that traditional theories of blindness often fail to take into account the presence of other senses, or the ability of blind people to draw analogies from non-visual experience to develop concepts about visual phenomena. Following this, the book shifts its focus from the tactile to the verbal, describing Denis Diderot's remarkable range of techniques to describe art works for readers who were not able to view them. Diderot's writing not only provided a model for describing art, Kleege says, but proof that the experience of art is inextricably tied to language and thus not entirely dependent on sight. By intertwining her personal experience with scientific study and historical literary analysis, Kleege challenges traditional conceptions of blindness and overturns the assumption that the ideal art viewer must have perfect vision. More Than Meets the Eye seeks to establish a dialogue between blind people and the philosophers, scientists, and educators that study blindness, in order to create new aesthetic possibilities and a more genuinely inclusive society.
Art historians have long been accustomed to thinking about art and artists in terms of national traditions. This volume takes a different approach, suggesting instead that a history of art based on national divisions often obscures the processes of cultural appropriation and global exchange that shaped the visual arts of Europe in fundamental ways between 1492 and the early twentieth century.

Essays here analyze distinct zones of contact--between various European states, between Asia and Europe, or between Europe and so-called primitive cultures in Africa, the Americas, and the South Pacific--focusing mainly but not exclusively on painting, drawing, or the decorative arts. Each case foregrounds the centrality of international borrowings or colonial appropriations and counters conceptions of European art as a "pure" tradition uninfluenced by the artistic forms of other cultures. The contributors analyze the social, cultural, commercial, and political conditions of cultural contact--including tourism, colonialism, religious pilgrimage, trade missions, and scientific voyages--that enabled these exchanges well before the modern age of globalization.

Contributors:
Claire Farago, University of Colorado at Boulder
Elisabeth A. Fraser, University of South Florida
Julie Hochstrasser, University of Iowa
Christopher Johns, Vanderbilt University
Carol Mavor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mary D. Sheriff, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Lyneise E. Williams, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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