Theory - tutti i libri per gli amanti del genere Theory - Johan & Levi Editore

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Theory

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.
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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
The history of art, as Benjamin wrote, is a history of prophecies. Certain works of art can only be understood when the circumstances that they anticipated have matured. The century of the avant-garde movements was teeming with subversive enterprises, but there are some whose telluric power jolted modernity forever, creating a new paradigm to fill in the cracks. In fact, the seed of the contemporary first took root in one precise moment: the exhibition of Duchamp’s Fountain. The artist had bought a typical urinal in a plumbing supply shop in New York and sent it to the Society of Independent Artists exhibit in 1917, paying six dollars for the privilege to exhibit. The radical break was visible to all: indeed, the very nature of art was being brought into question. After this “alien spore” of non-art, the movement mushroomed through the continuous and systematic transgression of the limits of art. Exploring – to use Arthur Danto’s term – the art world of the dramatic catastrophes of the 20th century, this book recounts the stories behind revolutionary works, inseparable from the personalities and ideas of their authors, precariously balanced between provocation and prophecy. We learn, for instance, that the disconcerting rigour of Cage’s 4'33' of silence has everything to do with the emphasis on the conceptual and the obliteration of the boundary between art and life; that the impetuous Klein’s experiments with the void and Manzoni’s acerbic paradoxical works inaugurate the practice of constructing the myth of the artist, which becomes a work of art in and of itself, and that Warhol’s iconic Brillo Box upends the modernist hierarchies, spectacularly manifesting the cultural turning point that would come to be known as the postmodern. Luigi Bonfante reveals the importance of a retroactive vision able to recognize the most relevant characteristics of the contemporary in these fractures while simultaneously interpreting the ambiguity of the present, without being seduced by the unsolvable question dominating today’s aesthetic: Are we on the brink of an apocalypse or a regeneration?
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Catastrofi d'arte

Storie di opere che hanno diviso il Novecento

Luigi Bonfante

pages: 184 pages

The history of art, as Benjamin wrote, is a history of prophecies. Certain works of art can only be understood when the circumstances that they anticipated have matured. The century of the avant-garde movements was teeming with subversive enterprises, but there are some whose telluric power jolted modernity forever, creating a new paradigm to fill
At a time when historical avant-gardes are starting to question it deeply, the frame has become a subject of great interest to philosophers, art historians and semiologists. The quintessential amphibian device, a mediation tool that isolates the image from the real space, not being assimilated with either despite relating to both, the frame is a threshold: it leads us into a realm where other laws are in force compared to those of everyday life. The frame is called upon to prevent the painting from invading the world and vice versa, until we accept the idea of art as a reality that is separate from the one in which we live and breathe. However, 20th-century artistic practices deny this principle with great vehemence. A history of the frame has to include a reflection on the overcoming of its boundaries, necessarily leading us to examine how its role as a modest servant to the image has evolved over the centuries. As an outdated expedient, able to activate a force field and boost the centripetal direction of the gaze, a paradoxical fate awaits it. At the moment when it presumes to take on its own autonomous aesthetic value, it abdicates to its ancillary function, entering into competition with the work, sometimes even replacing it, going from a marginal object to the primary subject of the representation. The eclipse of this element paves the way for the establishment of another kind of frame: the museum as the favoured place for the institutionalization, certification and conservation of artistic value. Daniela Ferrari and Andrea Pinotti look back over the fundamental stages in the history of the frame and its crucial role in the experience of the pictorial image, featuring the main contributions to the phenomenology of this device in this volume: from Simmel to Stoichita, taking in Ortega y Gasset, Bloch, Schapiro, Derrida, Arnheim, Marin and the Groupe μ. The entire 20th century is represented here from different disciplinary perspectives, confirming the fact that this was the century in which the frame fully took on the explicit statute of theoretical object.
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La cornice

Storie, teorie, testi

pages: 232 pages

At a time when historical avant-gardes are starting to question it deeply, the frame has become a subject of great interest to philosophers, art historians and semiologists. The quintessential amphibian device, a mediation tool that isolates the image from the real space, not being assimilated with either despite relating to both, the frame is a th
Devoid of ascertainable origins, freed from the sequentiality of a before and after, the work of art demolishes the barriers of time and projects us into a space extraneous to progress. That art does not evolve, that is, it does not proceed by means of a linear temporal development but is instead capable of introducing new ideas not even hinted at before, is the thesis of this essay on the poetics of immortality in Gino De Dominicis. It is an investigation of a mystery – creation ex nihilo – and a meditation on the origin of all things. Guercio’s starting point is the artist’s most emblematic and controversial work, Second solution of immortality: the universe is immobile, exhibited in 1972 at the Venice Biennale in a room that is the summation of De Dominicis’ reflections and caused such a sensation that it was immediately closed to the public. The reason for the scandal was the presence of a young Venetian man with Down’s syndrome. Positioned facing three objects on the floor – a stone, a rubber ball and the outline of a white square – Paolo Rosa was not merely a provocation as the most reactionary thought, but the fulcrum around which the other elements are arranged, the key to the whole grouping. The multiple dynamics created by this figure allowed the artist to endow the work with an unprecedented power: to open a breach in eternity. Is it possible to read into De Dominicis’ Second Solution a paradigm of immortality that functions outside the closed system of his work? That is, can we establish a link between artistic creation in its broader sense and the search for immortality? This question, posed at the opening of the essay, engages the reader, drawing us into a complete examination of the artist’s themes, pointing up the ones that can support a presumption of contemporaneity over the present period, such as the primacy of the image over the word and the power of discontinuity when faced with a viral proliferation of connections.
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L'arte non evolve

L'universo immobile di Gino De Dominicis

Gabriele Guercio

pages: 128 pages

Devoid of ascertainable origins, freed from the sequentiality of a before and after, the work of art demolishes the barriers of time and projects us into a space extraneous to progress. That art does not evolve, that is, it does not proceed by means of a linear temporal development but is instead capable of introducing new ideas not even hinted at
This is the eternal question that the philosopher and critic Arthur C. Danto tackles in an essay that is part philosophical dissertation, part autobiographical musings. Taking his distance from the view that reduces art to what is regarded as such in an institutional context, or those who even consider it to be indefinable, the author identifies various features that can help provide some clear outlines, including the ontological permanence of art, beyond the different forms in which it manifests itself. What makes art art is the ability to lend form to an idea, to express an idea by means of an artistic "modus operandi" that translates thought into matter in the most effective way, bypassing contingencies. But that's not the full story. Art has to embody something intangible: like a daydream, it has to induce a new emotive and sensory state in the viewer. Danto thus arrives at conclusions far removed from the relativism attributed to him for decades: understanding art does not depend on an open concept, but an open mind. Guiding the reader through the big names in philosophy and art of every age (particularly Michelangelo, Poussin, Duchamp and Warhol), the author takes an ambitious path from Platonic and Kantian theory to an analysis of the innovations - perspective, chiaroscuro, physiognomy and the advent of photography - that have shaped Western art, until its apparent burn-out with the arrival of conceptual poetics and the disappearance of aesthetics as a value. As well as exploring fascinating new developments, What is Art? distills the essence of decades of work, and thus represents an ideal introduction to the work of America's greatest visual arts critic.
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Che cos'è l'arte

Arthur C. Danto

pages: 126 pages

This is the eternal question that the philosopher and critic Arthur C. Danto tackles in an essay that is part philosophical dissertation, part autobiographical musings. Taking his distance from the view that reduces art to what is regarded as such in an institutional context, or those who even consider it to be indefinable, the author identifies va
Lucid exponent of the American New Topographics current in the 1970s, and constantly engaged in deconstructing the politics of places and representations, since his debut Lewis Baltz has combined his visual art with thoughtful critical - and self-critical - writings. The reflections gathered in this book offer various perspectives on his forty year career and the transatlantic context it developed in, with pieces that accompany the early topographical pieces, narratives embedded in the text-image works of the late 1980s, and a substantial series of essays devoted to some of the most important photographers and artists of the twentieth century. In the latter, attention to the enigmatic materiality of the works is combined with a cool, disenchanted critique of their cultural, and also political worth. In this vein there are essays dedicated to Walker Evans, Edward Weston, Robert Adams, Michael Schmidt, Allan Sekula, Thomas Ruff and Jeff Wall, which explore the potential and limits of modernist photography. The book also contains detailed appreciations of artists like Krzysztof Wodiczko, Félix González-Torres, Barry Le Va, Chris Burden, James Turrell and Robert Irwin, John McLaughlin and Alessandro Laita, contemporaries of Baltz's with whom he shared artistic and life experiences. The book also offers insights on more general issues, such as the landscape and cities "in the age of nothing special". While the gelid calm of Baltz's post-apocalyptic imagery helped purify the photograph of the last thirty years from the rhetorically opposing currents of social exposé and revelation, the harsh, even caustic tone of these writings continues to be relevant, challenging the presumed certainties upon which we base the institutions of art and photography.
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Scritti

Lewis Baltz

pages: 176 pages

Lucid exponent of the American New Topographics current in the 1970s, and constantly engaged in deconstructing the politics of places and representations, since his debut Lewis Baltz has combined his visual art with thoughtful critical - and self-critical - writings. The reflections gathered in this book offer various perspectives on his forty year
Cinema studies have undergone such proliferation since the 1990s as to become an authentic academic discipline. Their object of investigation now appears, however, to be gradually dissolving into a flux of ever-changing, global and globalizing culture of the image, audiovisual, electronic, digital and web. Miriam Bratu Hansen goes back to the principle, to the clear-sighted critique of modernity developed by three pillars of 20th-century aesthetics, Kracauer, Benjamin and Adorno, on this particular medium: not on what cinema is but on what it does, on the particular sensory and mimetic experience that it makes possible for spectators. Starting, for example, from the Mickey Mouse cartoons, whose immense popularity Benjamin attributed simply to “the fact that the public recognizes its own life in them”. This is not therefore an ontology of cinema but an attempt to understand its role within evolving modernity, albeit with different perspectives and approaches. In point of fact, films make a substantial contribution to the reconfiguration of experience understood in its fullest sense of Erfahrung, as everyday life, social and working relationships, the economic and political spheres. Despite the competitive media environment into which it is embedded, cinema has survived, adapted and transformed itself. The recent opening of the digital frontier and the necessary rethinking of devices as well as fundamental film categories like movement and animation present a new challenge that is not, however, a threat. Having “burst this prison-world asunder with the dynamite of the tenth of a second”, cinema could reopen apparently closed chapters of aesthetics and restore their contemporary relevance.
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Cinema & Experience

Le teorie di Kracauer, Benjamin e Adorno

Miriam Bratu Hansen

pages: 416 pages

Cinema studies have undergone such proliferation since the 1990s as to become an authentic academic discipline. Their object of investigation now appears, however, to be gradually dissolving into a flux of ever-changing, global and globalizing culture of the image, audiovisual, electronic, digital and web. Miriam Bratu Hansen goes back to the prin
There was once the easel painting with a solid frame and a complete perspective system in which a illusion of reality was embedded. Then the Impressionist landscapes appeared on the horizon and began to give instructions to viewers as to where they must stand, the right distance for observation and the attitude to be adopted. But this was not the end. The huge canvases of the Abstract Expressionists, fraught with vital tension, expanded still further laterally and came to break through the border. The frame, now reduced to a parenthesis, dissolved to liberate illusion and its function was transferred as though by magic to the exhibition space. The time was ripe for Marcel Duchamp to hang 1,200 coal sacks from the ceiling of Galerie Beaux-Arts in 1938 and stand the visitors on their heads. For the first time the exhibition space was treated as a box, a display window to manipulate. Duchamp’s gesture “dispatches the bull of history with a single thrust”. The years go by and, as in an echo chamber, it will appear more successful all the time. The white cubebegins to devour the object. The context upstages the work exhibited and becomes a “chamber of transformation” that turns whatever enters it into art. The gallery can also remain empty, be filled with rubbish, remain closed for the entire period of the show, simulate a space of real life, be wrapped with tarpaulin and rope together with the entire museum building, host tableaux vivants or shocking happenings. The same scenes would probably not attract the slightest attention outside the white cube, but inside it even our everyday life – the café, the bedroom, the service station – becomes art, an experience that goes beyond looking. As though on board a spaceship, scrutinizing the Earth as it disappears on the horizon, Brian O’Doherty reconstructs a history of the art of the 20th century from the perspective of the evolution of the exhibition space, now to be regarded as the undisputed arena of discourse.
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Inside the White Cube

L'ideologia dello spazio espositivo

Brian O'Doherty

pages: 146 pages

There was once the easel painting with a solid frame and a complete perspective system in which a illusion of reality was embedded. Then the Impressionist landscapes appeared on the horizon and began to give instructions to viewers as to where they must stand, the right distance for observation and the attitude to be adopted. But this was not the e
Conceptual Art was one of the most important movements of the second half of the 20th century. Starting from its origins in the 1960s and the principles formulated by Dan Graham, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt and Lawrence Weiner, Alberro addresses its specifically New York trajectory through the career of Seth Siegelaub, who unquestionably played a key role. An eccentric, multifaceted art dealer, Siegelaub employed wholly unconventional methods of promotion to support artists who seemed to create works out of nothing, sponsored them with shrewd and diplomatic business acumen, and paved the way for the appearance of a new type of actor on the art scene, the freelance curator. Alberro offers an unprecedented overview of materials and reviews regarding the most important works, embedding Conceptual Art in the social context of rebellion against traditional cultural institutions, commercialization and the dawn of the globalized world. A new perspective emerges, however, from his meticulous reconstruction. In actual fact, this movement had no intention whatsoever of rejecting the market but rather aimed at revolutionizing and conquering it. It was to this end, for example, that Siegelaub founded Image Art Programs for Industry Inc., a firm that used contemporary art to confer added value on companies seeking social visibility, and drew up theArtist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sales Agreement, a new type of contract aimed at limiting the overwhelming power of collectors, galleries and museums and increasing the rights of artists. In the end, this instrument involuntarily set the seal on the wedding of art and capitalism.
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Arte Concettuale e strategie pubblicitarie

Alexander Alberro

pages: 216 pages

Conceptual Art was one of the most important movements of the second half of the 20th century. Starting from its origins in the 1960s and the principles formulated by Dan Graham, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt and Lawrence Weiner, Alberro addresses its specifically New York trajectory through the career of Seth Siegelaub, who unquestionably played a key
This volume offers the broadest Italian collection of writings by Clement Greenberg (1909–94), an essential author for anyone with an interest in the period full of formal revolutions that saw the quick succession of artistic avant-garde movements as from the late 19th century. One of the most influential and controversial figures in 20th-century American art criticism, Greenberg bore witness to the decline of the three-dimensional illusionism of easel painting and the gradual triumph of abstract art leading up to the goal of radical flatness, which he saw as the hallmark of modernism. One of the first to sense the shattering importance of the painting of Jackson Pollock and the American Abstract Expressionists, he subsequently endorsed the practitioners of Post-Painterly Abstraction, including Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland. With a corpusof over three hundred essays, Greenberg’s militant criticism accompanied more than forty years of new American art and made a crucial contribution to New York’s replacement of Paris as the world capital of art. The texts are selected here in order to highlight the European cast of his critical thought. The influence of Kant and Trotsky as well as Italian thinkers like Croce and Lionello Venturi can be discerned in a critic capable of taking an exemplary approach to the development of modernism in the visual arts and asserting its values of objectivity. Alongside an acute socio-cultural analysis of the phenomenon of mass culture and its social consequences, Greenberg addressed longstanding questions such as those beauty and quality and objective values in art prompted by the urgent need to oppose the degradation of kitsch and academicism. An undisputed champion of American art and highly controversial figure, Greenberg still remains a primary interpreter of modernism. Over fifteen years after his death, his legacy of writings is an indispensable aid to orientation in the complex artistic panorama of the second half of the 20th century.
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L'avventura del modernismo

Antologia critica

Clement Greenberg

pages: 448 pages

This volume offers the broadest Italian collection of writings by Clement Greenberg (1909–94), an essential author for anyone with an interest in the period full of formal revolutions that saw the quick succession of artistic avant-garde movements as from the late 19th century. One of the most influential and controversial figures in 20th-century

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