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Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), perhaps the most famous of all German artists, embodies the modern ideal of the Renaissance man—he was a remarkable painter, printmaker, draftsman, designer, theoretician, and even a poet. More is known about his thoughts and his life than about any other Northern European master of his time, since he wrote extensively about himself, his family's history, his travels, and his friends. His woodcuts and engravings were avidly collected and copied across Europe, and they quickly established his reputation as a master. Praised in life and elegized in death by such thinkers as Martin Luther and Erasmus, he served Emperor Maximilian and other leading church and secular princes in the Holy Roman Empire.
Although there is a vast specialized literature on the Nuremberg master, The Essential Dürer fills the need for a foundational book that covers the major aspects of his career. The essays included in this book, written by leading scholars from the United States and Germany, provide an accessible, up-to-date examination of Dürer's art and person as well as his posthumous fame. The essays address an array of topics, from separate and detailed studies of his paintings, drawings, printmaking, and sculpture, to broader concerns such as his visits to and interactions with Venice and the Netherlands, his personal relationships, and his relationships with other artists. Collectively these stimulating essays explore the brilliance of Dürer's creativity and the impact he had on his world, exposing him as an artist fully engaged with the tumultuous intellectual and religious challenges of his time.
African Americans and the American Art Museum
In 1927, the Chicago Art Institute presented the first major museum exhibition of art by African Americans. Designed to demonstrate the artists’ abilities and to promote racial equality, the exhibition also revealed the art world’s anxieties about the participation of African Americans in the exclusive venue of art museums—places where blacks had historically been barred from visiting let alone exhibiting. Since then, America’s major art museums have served as crucial locations for African Americans to protest against their exclusion and attest to their contributions in the visual arts. In Exhibiting Blackness, art historian Bridget R. Cooks analyzes the curatorial strategies, challenges, and critical receptions of the most significant museum exhibitions of African American art. Tracing two dominant methodologies used to exhibit art by African Americans—an ethnographic approach that focuses more on artists than their art, and a recovery narrative aimed at correcting past omissions—Cooks exposes the issues involved in exhibiting cultural difference that continue to challenge art history, historiography, and American museum exhibition practices. By further examining the unequal and often contested relationship between African American artists, curators, and visitors, she provides insight into the complex role of art museums and their accountability to the cultures they represent.
Jones explores the human impulse to create, the necessity for having aesthetically satisfying experiences, and the craving for tradition. He also considers topics such as making chairs, remodeling houses, using and preserving soda-fountain slang, preparing and eating food, and sculpting lifelike figures out of cement.
100 Years of the College Art Association
The Eye, the Hand, the Mind, celebrating the centennial of the College Art Association, is filled with pictorial mementoes and enlivening stories and anecdotes that connects the organization's sixteen goals and tells its rich, sometimes controversial, story. Readers will discover its role in major issues in higher education, preservation of world monuments, workforce issues and market equity, intellectual property and free speech, capturing conflicts and reconciliations inherent among artists and art historians, pedagogical approaches and critical interpretations/interventions as played out in association publications, annual conferences, advocacy efforts, and governance.
An Album of Union Soldiers and Their Stories
Before going off to fight in the Civil War, many soldiers on both sides of the conflict posed for a carte de visite, or visiting card, to give to their families, friends, or sweethearts. Invented in 1854 by a French photographer, the carte de visite was a small photographic print roughly the size of a modern trading card. The format arrived in America on the eve of the Civil War, which fueled intense demand for the convenient and affordable keepsakes. Considerable numbers of these portrait cards of Civil War soldiers survive today, but the experiences—and often the names—of the individuals portrayed have been lost to time. A passionate collector of Civil War–era photography, Ron Coddington became intrigued by these anonymous faces and began to research the history behind them in military records, pension files, and other public and personal documents. In Faces of the Civil War, Coddington presents 77 cartes de visite of Union soldiers from his collection and tells the stories of their lives during and after the war. The soldiers portrayed were wealthy and poor, educated and unschooled, native-born and immigrant, urban and rural. All were volunteers. Their personal stories reveal a tremendous diversity in their experience of war: many served with distinction, some were captured, some never saw combat while others saw little else. The lives of those who survived the war were even more disparate. While some made successful transitions back to civilian life, others suffered permanent physical and mental disabilities, which too often wrecked their families and careers. In compelling words and haunting pictures, Faces of the Civil War offers a unique perspective on the most dramatic and wrenching period in American history.
An Album of Southern Soldiers and Their Stories
“The history of the Civil War is the stories of its soldiers,” writes Ronald S. Coddington in the preface to Faces of the Confederacy. This book tells the stories of seventy-seven Southern soldiers—young farm boys, wealthy plantation owners, intellectual elites, uneducated poor—who posed for photographic portraits, cartes de visite, to leave with family, friends, and sweethearts before going off to war. Coddington, a passionate collector of Civil War–era photography, conducted a monumental search for these previously unpublished portrait cards, then unearthed the personal stories of their subjects, putting a human face on a war rife with inhuman atrocities. The Civil War took the lives of 22 of every 100 men who served. Coddington follows the exhausted survivors as they return home to occupied cities and towns, ravaged farmlands, a destabilized economy, and a social order in the midst of upheaval. This book is a haunting and moving tribute to those brave men. Like its companion volume, Faces of the Civil War: An Album of Union Soldiers and Their Stories, this book offers readers a unique perspective on the war and contributes to a better understanding of the role of the common soldier.
College Farm to University Museum
Power and the Politics of Dress
Everywhere in the world there is a close connection between the clothes we wear and our political expression. To date, few scholars have explored what clothing means in 20th-century Africa and the diaspora. In Fashioning Africa, an international group of anthropologists, historians, and art historians bring rich and diverse perspectives to this fascinating topic. From clothing as an expression of freedom in early colonial Zanzibar to Somali women's headcovering in inner-city Minneapolis, these essays explore the power of dress in African and pan-African settings. Nationalist and diasporic identities, as well as their histories and politics, are examined at the level of what is put on the body every day. Readers interested in fashion history, material and expressive cultures, understandings of nation-state styles, and expressions of a distinctive African modernity will be engaged by this interdisciplinary and broadly appealing volume.
Contributors are Heather Marie Akou, Jean Allman, A. Boatema Boateng, Judith Byfield, Laura Fair, Karen Tranberg Hansen, Margaret Jean Hay, Andrew M. Ivaska, Phyllis M. Martin, Marissa Moorman, Elisha P. Renne, and Victoria L. Rovine.
No bird is common, if we use “common” to mean ordinary. But birds that are seen more commonly than others can seem less noteworthy than species that are rarely glimpsed. In this gathering of essays and illustrations celebrating fifty of the most common birds of the Upper Midwest, illustrator Dana Gardner and writer Nancy Overcott encourage us to take a closer look at these familiar birds with renewed appreciation for their not-so-ordinary beauty and lifeways. Beginning with the garishly colored male and the more gently colored female wood duck, whose tree cavity nest serves as a launching pad for ducklings in the summer months, and ending on a bright yellow note with the American goldfinch, whose cheerful presence enlivens the midwestern landscape all year long, Overcott combines field observations drawn from her twenty-plus years of living and birding in Minnesota's Big Woods with anecdotes and data from other ornithologists to portray each species' life cycle, its vocalizations and appearance, and its habitat, food, and foraging methods as well as migration patterns and distribution. Infused with a dedication to conserving natural resources, her succinct yet personable prose forms an ideal complement to Gardner's watercolors as this renowned illustrator of avian life worldwide revisits the birds of his childhood. Together art and text ensure that the wild turkey, great blue heron, sharp-shinned hawk, barred owl, pileated woodpecker, house wren, ovenbird, field sparrow, rose-breasted grosbeak, red-winged blackbird, and forty other species of the Upper Midwest are never seen as common again.
Resighting My Self in the Art of Michael Snow
Can visual art help redeem one’s sense of self, damaged by technological society?
Michael Snow’s work is often described as self-referential, meaning that it “talks” about the relationships between its materials and images, largely ignoring relationships beyond the “frame.” However, since the work also encompasses the way in which the interior relationship of the work intersects with sight and how they, together, create the frame, the work also must include the people looking at it.
This book explores how the visual art practice of Michael Snow asks the question Who? of the viewers as they interpret what lies before them. Much criticism of Snow objectively analyzes the material interrelationships in his work, ignoring viewer participation, and implicitly giving the artist control of the view. However, what if the “who” is addressed from the perspective of the viewer, who is looking across a gap created by concrete representation, time, place, experience and, perhaps, gender? How then can it remain objective?
Following on writers such as Martin Heidegger, Walter Benjamin, Paul Ricoeur, Jacques Derrida and Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, Figuring Redemption questions the proposal that the contemporary sense of self is “fallen” as a result of modern technology, but can be redeemed in some part by certain kinds of visual art.
Original in its positioning of interpretive and critical writing on the side of an embodied viewer, this book rejuvenates Snow criticism by going beyond discussions of materials and operation or of loss and distancing due to mediation. By alternating personal performance writing with objective analysis, the text participates in the destabilizing process of questioning self-recognition that Snow’s practice initiates.