Saggi d'arte - tutti i libri della collana Saggi d'arte, Johan & Levi - Johan & Levi Editore
Go to page content

Johan & Levi: Saggi d'arte

Armi improprie - Lo stato della critica d’arte in Italia
In the Futurist manifesto Antitradition, published in 1913, Apollinaire reserved 'mer...de aux critiques'. Just over a hundred years later that j'accuse has retained, intact, its scandalous force. Where is criticism today? Condemned to a slow euthanasia, it has become a residual genre: the figure of the critic has been replaced by that of the curator.And yet, at a time when works of art have become increasingly cryptic, this practice linked to the origins of modernity would play a decisive role. In order not to allow the esotericism and volatility of so many current art experiences to exclude us from pleasure. And to create a feeling of proximity to creations that are not infrequently repulsive. But, in order to still make sense, criticism can only go back to its original reasons. To remodel, through words, the painted signs. Reaffirm the centrality of the work. Telling how a painting came into being and what it represents; what its author's objectives were; how he formed himself; what techniques he used; what relations he had with the society in which he acted; what symbols he referred to. And again: teaching one to see better what is in evidence, but also what hides in the shadows. Finally, not to let oneself be seduced by the myth of the eternal beginning, to give oneself as a restless history of the present. And, at the same time, as a 'partial, passionate, political' exercise (in Baudelaire's words). Critics such as Roberto Longhi and Lionello Venturi, Giulio Carlo Argan and Francesco Arcangeli, Cesare Brandi and Filiberto Menna, Giuliano Briganti and Emilio Villa, Germano Celant and Achille Bonito Oliva, Carla Lonzi and Lea Vergine, among others, have interpreted this philosophy with different and distant sensitivities and cultures. To the topicality of their lecture is dedicated Armi improprie. Which suggests an exciting journey through ideas, theories, books, articles, projects, exhibitions, corsair experiences. Thus drawing the outlines of a possible canon of 20th century Italian art criticism.
Discover

Armi improprie

Lo stato della critica d’arte in Italia

pages: 384 pages

In the Futurist manifesto Antitradition, published in 1913, Apollinaire reserved 'mer...de aux critiques'. Just over a hundred years later that j'accuse has retained, intact, its scandalous force. Where is criticism today? Condemned to a slow euthanasia, it has become a residual genre: the figure of the critic has been replaced by that of the curat

Il sublime astratto

Pietro Conte

pages: 120 pages

Misunderstanding is part and parcel of human relationships, and when those communicating are Erwin Panofsky, the foremost theorist of medieval and Renaissance iconology, and Barnett Newman, exponent and leading theorist of Abstract Expressionism, disaster is assured. Especially if no one is willing to come to terms.A controversy around the term 'su
Lo scolabottiglie di Duchamp
In 1914, shortly before leaving for New York, Marcel Duchamp made a disruptive gesture: elevating a bottle rack to the status of a work of art through the mere selection of that object and its subsequent transfer to the ‘sacred perimeter’ of his studio. This action inaugurates the practice of readymades, industrial, everyday products to which the artist arbitrarily assigns the status of works of art, openly and ironically challenging the idea of the artist faber.The Scolabottiglie thus becomes a historical precedent that allows Ermanno Migliorini to carry out, on the one hand, an acute and far-sighted analysis of international art in the second half of the 20th century, identifying the challenges posed by the neo-avant-gardes indebted to Duchamp's iconoclastic attitude; on the other hand, he illuminates the problems that the drifts of this gesture cause to the ‘aesthetic edifice’ and to art critics unprepared to deal with it. In this fundamental essay from 1970, an attempt is made to clarify, through the lens of analytical philosophy, the general significance of Duchamp's operation and the statements that accompany it insofar as they highlight the dissociation between the artistic procedure and traditional evaluative structures. The claim to ‘propose value without bringing reasons’ has contributed to profoundly marking the direction in which much of the art of our time is moving. A direction that in the background finds, if not exactly the Scolabottiglie or another readymade, something that looks very much like it, namely something linked to the plane of unmotivated and unmovable sensitive experiences.
Discover

Lo scolabottiglie di Duchamp

Ermanno Migliorini

pages: 144 pages

In 1914, shortly before leaving for New York, Marcel Duchamp made a disruptive gesture: elevating a bottle rack to the status of a work of art through the mere selection of that object and its subsequent transfer to the ‘sacred perimeter’ of his studio. This action inaugurates the practice of readymades, industrial, everyday products to which t
Louvre, mon amour - Undici grandi artisti in visita al museo più famoso del mondo
Do you have to set the Louvre on fire to establish yourself as one of the masters of your time? In order to answer this provocative question, in the 1960s the art critic Pierre Schneider invited eleven celebrated artists of the day, including Giacometti, Miró, Chagall and Steinberg, to accompany him one at a time through the museum’s sumptuous rooms. None of them refused the invitation and the truth that emerged still holds today. Far from torturing artists, the Louvre casts a spell on them that does not fade over time. Neither discouraged nor uplifted but if anything beguiled by the abyss separating them from the giants that live there, artists alone are capable of addressing them and entering into a dialogue between equals. Schneider records their every comment and gesture, even their silences and alternating moods, outlining the direction of their thinking in a few lines. Then, at just the right moment, comes the insidious question. The answers, sometimes scathing and sometimes admiring but never deferential, reveal uncommon acumen and great intimacy also with artists of a very different nature. We thus find Chagall unforeseeably moved by Courbet (“a great poet”) and irritated with Ingres (“too polished”), Giacometti enamoured of the Tintoretto self-portrait (“the most magnificent head in the Louvre”), and Miró onomatopoeically entranced, whistling with admiration at African mosaics. The eye of each glides over the works to plumb their material depths, comment on their “chemistry” and finally decide how they have stood up over time. These fascinating walks are informed by a spirit of reconciliation between old and new that explodes any notion of the museum as a warehouse of obsolete objects with nothing to say to contemporaries. The Louvre appears to its eleven extraordinary guests as a book from which you learn to read, a gymnasium to build up your strength, a school to hone your vision, the ideal cemetery, a time machine that eliminates millennial gaps, a bridge between past and present and above all the place where it is possible to address the greatest things created since the beginning of time.
Discover

Louvre, mon amour

Undici grandi artisti in visita al museo più famoso del mondo

Pierre Schneider

pages: 192 pages

Do you have to set the Louvre on fire to establish yourself as one of the masters of your time? In order to answer this provocative question, in the 1960s the art critic Pierre Schneider invited eleven celebrated artists of the day, including Giacometti, Miró, Chagall and Steinberg, to accompany him one at a time through the museum’s sumptuous r
Hitler e il potere dell’estetica
Countless books have been written on Adolf Hitler. When CBS announced its intention of producing a film on his youth years ago, the almost unanimous chorus of protest that ensued can be summarised as saying: “We know who he was and what he did. What else is there to know?” Frederic Spotts offers a completely unprecedented view of Hitler and the Third Reich in a surprising examination of the Führer’s aims and huge machinery he built up around him. The key role of culture in his vision of the Arian super state has seldom been addressed. It was not the end to which power should aspire but a means to obtain it. From the spectacular mass rallies in Nuremberg to the imposing architectural works, from the musical festivals and his tormented relationship with Wagner to the policies of cleansing, from his own watercolours to the dream of opening an enormous art gallery in Linz: the artist manqué thus succeeded in expressing his talent by mesmerizing Germany and most of Europe. The only enemy that Hitler would not have imprisoned once the fighting was over but “left living comfortably in a fortress with permission to write his memoirs and paint” was Winston Churchill, the British officer who painted the ruins of a village during the Great War while Hitler immortalized a church on the other side of the river. Carl Burckhardt, the commissioner of the League of Nations in Danzig who met the Führer twice in 1939, was therefore probably right to suggest that the dictator had a split personality: “the rather gentle artist” on the one hand and “the homicidal maniac” on the other. For obvious reasons, writers have concentrated on the homicidal maniac for over fifty years now. While in no way wishing to ignore the second Hitler, Spotts addresses the first.
Discover

Hitler e il potere dell’estetica

Frederic Spotts

pages: 480 pages

Countless books have been written on Adolf Hitler. When CBS announced its intention of producing a film on his youth years ago, the almost unanimous chorus of protest that ensued can be summarised as saying: “We know who he was and what he did. What else is there to know?” Frederic Spotts offers a completely unprecedented view of Hitler and th
Nonumento - Un paradosso della memoria
We entrust our memories to monuments so that they might preserve them for us. Hence we can afford to forget them. This is the paradox of the memorial: built as an aid to remembrance, it becomes the opposite, a machine of forgetting. Contemporary monumental art has racked its brains to find a remedy for this pathology. The 1960s saw the formation of a heterogeneous, often radical and contradictory movement of artists involved in the design of “counter-monuments” or “anti-monuments”.   Devices that use negative means to make us profoundly question our paradoxical relationship with memory and forgetting.  Andrea Pinotti borrows Gordon Matta-Clark’s term “non-uments”, which he translates as nonumenti, of which he offers both a grammar and typology. But does the “non-ument” really do any better than the monument? Does a parallelepiped or a fountain that disappears into the ground really help our forgetfulness more than a proudly erect, stubbornly vertical obelisk or column? Does a performance or reenactment lasting a few minutes or hours do a better job than a mausoleum firmly planted where it has stood for centuries? Do air, light, colours and bits truly save us from amnesia more than stone, bronze or iron? Today these questions have become more pressing than ever: the memorial is a red hot issue again, just when efforts are being made in several quarters to demolish as many as possible. At a time when statues are being dumped in landfills as a consequence of the wave of iconoclastic violence inspired by cancel or woke culture, this book proposes an aesthetic and political reflection on contemporary monumental art and the contradiction that besets it: denying the monument, in order to reaffirm it, and making the “non-ument”.
Discover

Nonumento

Un paradosso della memoria

Andrea Pinotti

pages: 320 pages

We entrust our memories to monuments so that they might preserve them for us. Hence we can afford to forget them. This is the paradox of the memorial: built as an aid to remembrance, it becomes the opposite, a machine of forgetting. Contemporary monumental art has racked its brains to find a remedy for this pathology. The 1960s saw the formation of

Sul design

Anni Albers

pages: 128 pagine

At Black Mountain College, the experimental school in North Carolina that had welcomed the Albers fleeing Nazism, Anni would tell her students: “We have to go where no one was before us.” A bold attitude that did not stop her from looking back over things to gauge the progress made in the arts and design. Only by knowing exactly where we stand
Il paradigma dell'arte contemporanea - Strutture di una rivoluzione artistica
In an article of 1999 Nathalie Heinich proposes considering contemporary art as a “genre” with specific characteristics, and as distinct from modern as well as classical art. When she returned to this issue 15 years later, the heated debate on contemporary art had still not burned itself out; on the contrary, the flames had been fanned by the explosion of prices and the sensationalization of the art displayed in the most revered institutions. Rather than a genre, the author ventures, contemporary art has now introduced a new paradigm. According to the meaning attributed to the term by epistemologist Thomas Kuhn, the imposition of a new paradigm engenders a violent break with the past and the redefinition of the norms governing a human activity. In the field of artistic practices this has upset the system of values that determine what can legitimately be considered art. Beauty andspiritual expression – required by previous paradigms – are no longer the order of the day and have given way to the tendency to overstep limits, always moving the horizon of the possible a little farther away. A “regime of uniqueness” is now in force, which, on principle, privileges anything that is innovative. Heinich traces the stages of this revolution, starting with the prize awarded to Rauschenberg at the 1964 Venice Biennale and the fierce reactions it caused. She describes the effects of this on the mechanisms of the art world, showing how it has changed the criteria governing the production and circulation of works, the status of the artist and the role of intermediaries and institutions. Hers is an outsider’s viewpoint: as a sociologist she conducts a rigorous and impartial investigation, filled with anecdotes that become valuable analytical tools. The aim is not to supply ammunition to the prosecution or defence in the trial of contemporary art, but to state the facts. Only by registering the paradigm shift is it possible to get the obsolete categories out of the way and to approach  contemporary art with the desire to understand, rather than approve or deprecate it.
Discover

Il paradigma dell'arte contemporanea

Strutture di una rivoluzione artistica

Nathalie Heinich

pages: 272 pagine

In an article of 1999 Nathalie Heinich proposes considering contemporary art as a “genre” with specific characteristics, and as distinct from modern as well as classical art. When she returned to this issue 15 years later, the heated debate on contemporary art had still not burned itself out; on the contrary, the flames had been fanned by the e
Il quadro che mi manca
Giorgio Soavi goes hunting for art with an eager, avid gaze. As a viewer with an insatiable appetite he devours paintings, drawings and sculptures as if they were gourmet dishes, savouring every single ingredient. And if he often pairs eye and palate, it’s because he sees art and its products like an animal sees and devours the food it needs to survive. A writer but also  collector, in these brief accounts published for the first time in 1986 Soavi tells us about the life, works, habits and ways of the artists he adores and has frequented.Names like Giacometti, de Chirico and Balthus, whom he surprises in their intimate environment, capturing live the transition from life to art and vice versa. He does not do this as a Sunday journalist, and even less by employing the sibylline jargon of the art critic, but as a connoisseur of the subject he is writing about, because he has chewed it over for a long time, without ever satiating his appetite. The novelist’s inventiveness and dexterity come into play when he describes, for example, the feeling of langour and obscenity transmitted by Horst Janssen’s flowers captured just as they begin to wilt. He has the same kind of empathic relationship with the meticulous still lifes by Gianfranco Ferroni, the seascapes and landscapes by Piero Guccione, the flower herbariums by Jean-Pierre Velly, his beloved drawings and watercolours by Folon, Tullio Pericoli and Saul Steinberg, and Domenico Gnoli’s canvases. It seems that the only way for Soavi to write about pictures and artists is to treat them like tempting details of a story, composing pages redolent with aromas and flavours, filled with the genuineness of conversations with friends. With a foreword by Andrea Pinotti
Discover

Il quadro che mi manca

Giorgio Soavi

pages: 320 pages

Giorgio Soavi goes hunting for art with an eager, avid gaze. As a viewer with an insatiable appetite he devours paintings, drawings and sculptures as if they were gourmet dishes, savouring every single ingredient. And if he often pairs eye and palate, it’s because he sees art and its products like an animal sees and devours the food it needs to s

Il Novecento di Baudelaire

L'arte evanescente

Adolfo Tura

pages: 120 pages

The focus of this essay is an evolutionary moment in painting driven by the modern age which Charles Baudelaire contributed to ushering in. In his insightful observations on culture, he did not simply admire and comment on many of the leading painters of his day, but also foresaw, and even encouraged, a new art whose first audacious manifestations
Lo strano posto della religione nell'arte contemporanea
Those who love art will certainly have noticed a development which, though momentous, is seldom discussed: the absence of genuinely religious works, meaning those whose religious sentiment is free of irony or irreverence, in galleries and museums of modern art. The schism between art and religion, far from being a conspiracy of the art world, has distant roots. Having gradually come into being in the Renaissance, it intensified in the 19th century, until today the break appears irreparable. To mend it, the underlying idea of the entire modernist project must be dismantled.This book, which couples rigorous analysis with experimentation, breaks the deafening silence around an issue so thorny it defies attempts to address it both in official art circles and the world of art education. Indeed, this silence forces students to cultivate their religious feelings in secret, lest they be excluded from the system. Drawing on his experience at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, James Elkins takes a pragmatically innovative approach to the tangled mass of practices, opinions and misunderstandings, choosing five students of his who each hold a distinct position on the question: five artists’ accounts which deftly describe the troubled relationship between religion and modern art.But the good intentions of a few isolated figures cannot satisfy the author’s wish for a healing of the chasm of incomprehension between the two sides. What is needed are brand-new forms of dialogue, conversations able to encompass the full scope of the participants’ emotions and experiences. Elkins is already working in this direction, providing artists, students, teachers and scholars with the tools needed to start a constructive, enthralling debate.
Discover

Lo strano posto della religione nell'arte contemporanea

James Elkins

pages: 160 pages

Those who love art will certainly have noticed a development which, though momentous, is seldom discussed: the absence of genuinely religious works, meaning those whose religious sentiment is free of irony or irreverence, in galleries and museums of modern art. The schism between art and religion, far from being a conspiracy of the art world, has d
La notte dei simulacri - Sogno, cinema, realtà virtuale
While deep in sleep, we inhabit spaces where sounds, images and people around us appear vivid and tangible. But once we open our eyes, the spell lifts and these folly- and wonder-tainted visions turn out to be no more than a dream. Something similar also occurs during virtual reality simulations, those multisensorial experiences in which the course of events can be simply interrupted by removing the headset from one’s eyes, just like suddenly waking up.The worlds of dream and of virtual reality have far more in common than one would think: both revolve around a subjective point of view, and above all both engage an aesthetic relation with images, a dimension that begins to be investigated in the 1800s – a time that more than others focused on revealing the workings of our dreams – and that in the advent of digital technology has found its fullest and most complete realization. At the centre of this framework is cinema, the art that in the 20th century expressed and gave form to human fantasies and nightmares, channelling the immersive experience out of the rigid bidimensional quality of the screen, “piercing” its surface like Buster Keaton in one of his most famous films.This book sheds light on what the early sensational landscapes and cycloramas have in common with the new media art of Zoe Beloff and Char Davies, on how Mickey Mouse goes hand in hand with Cocteau and Kurosawa, and on how modern VR devices can be considered an evolution of sleep masks: the author presents us with an archaeological approach to the history of media and to the concept of immersivity inviting us to recognise a new type of artistic horizon, projected beyond mere visual data.
Discover

La notte dei simulacri

Sogno, cinema, realtà virtuale

Giancarlo Grossi

pages: 197 pages

While deep in sleep, we inhabit spaces where sounds, images and people around us appear vivid and tangible. But once we open our eyes, the spell lifts and these folly- and wonder-tainted visions turn out to be no more than a dream. Something similar also occurs during virtual reality simulations, those multisensorial experiences in which the course

Enter the code for the download.

Enter the code to activate the service.