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The Art of Found Objects

Interviews with Texas Artists

Robert Craig Bunch

In this first book of interviews with visual artists from across Texas, more than sixty artists reflect on topics from seminal influences and inspirations to their common engagement with found materials. Beyond the art itself, no source is more primary to understanding art and artist than the artist’s own words. After all, who can speak with more authority about the artist’s influences, motivations, methods, philosophies, and creations?

Since 2010, Robert Craig Bunch has interviewed sixty-four of Texas’ finest artists, who have responded with honesty, clarity, and—naturally—great insight into their own work. None of these interviews has been previously published, even in part. Incorporating a striking, full-color illustration of each artist’s work, these absorbing self-examinations will stand collectively as a reference of lasting value.

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The Art of George Ames Aldrich

with contributions by Gregg Hertzlieb and Michael Wright. Wendy Greenhouse

A highly regarded impressionist-style artist, George Ames Aldrich drew on his years of experience living and studying in Europe to create beautiful landscape paintings. His life and work are explored in this gorgeous book. Many of the artist's finest creations, some representing French subjects and others depicting the midwestern steel industry and American landscapes, are included in this book. It features color reproductions, along with other archival and contextual images. Essays by Michael Wright and Wendy Greenhouse explore in detail Aldrich's life, influences, sources of inspiration, and art historical context. Exploiting a wide variety of sources, Wright and Greenhouse have discovered exciting new information about the artist and his times.

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The Art of Loving Krishna

Ornamentation and Devotion

Cynthia Packert

Since ancient times, Hindus have expressed their love and devotion to their deities through beautiful ornamentation -- dressing and decorating the deities with elaborate clothing, jewelry, and flowers. In this pioneering study of temples in Vrindaban and Jaipur, India, Cynthia Packert takes readers across temple thresholds and into the god Krishna's sacred domain. She describes what devotees see when they behold gorgeously attired representations of the god and why these images look the way they do. She discusses new media as well as global forms of devotion popular in India and abroad. The Art of Loving Krishna opens a universe of meaning in which art, religious action, and devotion are dynamically intertwined.

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The Art of Memory

Historic Cemeteries of Grand Rapids, Michigan

Thomas R. Dilley

In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, the look and feel of cemeteries in the United States changed dramatically, from utilitarian burial grounds to the serene park-like spaces that we know today. The so-called park cemetery was innovative not only for its distinctive landscape architecture but also because, for the first time, its staff took on the tasks of designing, running, and maintaining the cemetery itself, leading to a very consistent appearance. By the mid-1800s, the influence of park cemeteries began to spread from big cities on the east coast to the Midwest—eventually producing fifteen transitional examples in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In The Art of Memory: Historic Cemeteries of Grand Rapids, Michigan Thomas R. Dilley details the history of Grand Rapids’ park cemeteries, finding that their development mimicked national trends and changing cultural beliefs about honoring the dead. Dilley begins by outlining the history and evolution of cemetery design from its earliest days to present, including information about key design elements and descriptions of important designers. He continues by introducing readers to the fifteen historic cemeteries located in the city of Grand Rapids, detailing their histories, formats, and developmental changes along with more than two hundred photos. The cemeteries are divided between public and private properties, and are discussed chronologically, according to the dates of their founding. Dilley also considers the artistic and architectural forms that appear in the Grand Rapids cemeteries, including a thorough discussion of the religious and decorative symbols used on markers, the use of sometimes florid epitaphs, and variations in the form, structure, and materials of cemetery markers of the time. A brief section on the future of the cemetery and an extensive list of bibliographic sources and suggestions for further reading round out this informative volume. Readers with roots in Grand Rapids as well as those interested in social and cultural history will enjoy The Art of Memory.

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The Art of Philosophy

Visual Thinking in Europe from the Late Renaissance to the Early Enlightenment

Susanna Berger

The first book to explore the role of images in philosophical thought and teaching in the early modern period

Delving into the intersections between artistic images and philosophical knowledge in Europe from the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries, The Art of Philosophy shows that the making and study of visual art functioned as important methods of philosophical thinking and instruction. From frontispieces of books to monumental prints created by philosophers in collaboration with renowned artists, Susanna Berger examines visual representations of philosophy and overturns prevailing assumptions about the limited function of the visual in European intellectual history.

Rather than merely illustrating already existing philosophical concepts, visual images generated new knowledge for both Aristotelian thinkers and anti-Aristotelians, such as Descartes and Hobbes. Printmaking and drawing played a decisive role in discoveries that led to a move away from the authority of Aristotle in the seventeenth century. Berger interprets visual art from printed books, student lecture notebooks, alba amicorum (friendship albums), broadsides, and paintings, and examines the work of such artists as Pietro Testa, Léonard Gaultier, Abraham Bosse, Dürer, and Rembrandt. In particular, she focuses on the rise and decline of the "plural image," a genre that was popular among early modern philosophers. Plural images brought multiple images together on the same page, often in order to visualize systems of logic, metaphysics, natural philosophy, or moral philosophy.

Featuring previously unpublished prints and drawings from the early modern period and lavish gatefolds, The Art of Philosophy reveals the essential connections between visual commentary and philosophical thought.

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The Art of Professing in Bourbon Mexico

Crowned-Nun Portraits and Reform in the Convent

By James M. Córdova

Offering a pioneering interpretation of the “crowned nun” portrait, this book explores how visual culture contributed to local identity formation at a time when the colonial Church instituted major reforms that radically changed the face of New Spain’s convents and religious character.

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Art of Suppression

Confronting the Nazi Past in Histories of the Visual and Performing Arts

Pamela M. Potter

This provocative study asks why we have held on to vivid images of the Nazis’ total control of the visual and performing arts, even though research has shown that many artists and their works thrived under Hitler. To answer this question, Potter investigates how historians since 1945 wrote about music, art, architecture, theater, film, and dance in Nazi Germany and how their accounts were colored by politics of the Cold War, the fall of communism, and the wish to preserve the idea that true art and politics cannot mix. She doesn't deny that the persecution of Jewish artists and other “enemies of the state” was a high priority in the Third Reich, but this did not erase their artistic legacies from German cultural life. Art of Suppression examines the cultural histories of the Third Reich to help us understand how the circumstances of exile, the Allied occupation of Germany, the Cold War, and the complex meanings of modernism have sustained a distorted and problematic characterization of cultural life in the Third Reich.

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The Art of the Woman

The Life and Work of Elisabet Ney

Emily Fourmy Cutrer

The Art of the Woman explores the life of German-born Elisabet Ney, a flamboyant sculptor who transfixed the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer and left the court of the half-mad Ludwig of Bavaria to put down new roots in Texas. Born in 1833, Ney gained notoriety in Europe by sculpting the busts of such figures as Ludwig II, Schopenhauer, Garibaldi, and Bismarck. In 1871 she abruptly emigrated to America and became something of a recluse until resuming her sculpting career two decades later. In Texas, she was known for stormy relationships with officials, patrons, and women’s organizations. Her works included sculptures of Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin and are exhibited in the state and US capitols as well as the Smithsonian.

 Emily Fourmy Cutrer’s biography of Ney makes extensive use of primary sources and was the first to appraise both Ney’s legend and individual works of art. Cutrer argues that Ney was an accomplished sculptor coming out of a neglected German neoclassical tradition and that, whatever her failures and eccentricities, she was an important catalyst to cultural activity in Texas.

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Art, Peace, and Transcendence

Réograms That Elevate and Unite

Paul Ré

American artist Paul Ré invites us to join him on his journey for harmony, wisdom, and inner joy with Art, Peace, and Transcendence. His hybrid hand-digital prints, Réograms, are a unique art form very different from the Rayograms made in the twentieth century by the American Surrealist Man Ray. Ré’s digital prints are computer manipulations of the drawings, paintings, and sculpture he has created over his forty-year career—the transformations may be mild or dramatic, each manually massaged into a harmonious whole. Commentary by the artist, drawing from his background in physics, philosophy, and the practice of yoga and meditation, accompanies the fifty-eight full-page plates, placing each piece in its historical context. Bridging the lines of art and science, Ré takes us on a discovery of our oneness with the whole of the universe and the source from which it emerged.

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Art Quilts the Midwest

Linzee Kull McCray

A milestone in perception occurred in 1971, when the Whitney Museum of American Art displayed quilts in a museum setting: Abstract Design in American Quilts bestowed institutional recognition of the artistry inherent in these humble textiles. In subsequent decades, quilting’s popularity exploded. Some who took up quilting created pieced quilts that honored traditional patterns, symmetry, and repetition. But others saw the potential for pushing beyond patchwork, giving birth to the art quilt. Today, adherents from both art and quilting backgrounds incorporate storytelling, digital images, nonfabric materials, asymmetry, and three dimensions—in short, anything goes in the world of art quilting, as long as the result is stitched, layered, and not primarily functional.

As a writer covering textiles, art, and craft, Linzee Kull McCray wondered just how deeply fiber artists were influenced by their surroundings. Focusing on midwestern art quilters in particular, she put out a call for entries and nearly 100 artists responded; they were free to define those aspects of midwesterness that most affected their work. The artists selected for inclusion in this book embrace the Midwest’s climate, land, people, and culture, and if they don’t always embrace it wholeheartedly, then they use their art to react to it. The proof can be seen in the varied, powerful quilts in this energizing book.

Enlivened by the Midwest’s landscapes and seasons, Sally Bowker paints her fabrics with acrylics, creating marks and meaning with layers of hand stitching and appliqued bits of fabric. Shin-hee Chin uses sketchlike stitching for its ability to penetrate fabric and create depth; living in the Midwest helps her stay balanced between eastern philosophy and western culture. The metals and mesh that Diane Núñez incorporates into her quilts connect to her days as a jeweler as well as to the topography of her home state of Michigan. Pat Owoc prepares papers with disperse dyes, then selects from as many as 150 to create her fabrics; her art-quilt series honors midwestern pioneers. Martha Warshaw photographs old fabrics, tweaks the images in Photoshop, and prints the results for her pieces, which connect her to the legacy of quilting in past generations.

The Midwest has always had strong textile communities. Now the twenty artists featured in this beautifully illustrated book have created a new community of original art forms that bring new life to an old tradition.

The Artists
Marilyn Ampe, St. Paul, Minnesota
Gail Baar, Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Sally Bowker, Cornucopia, Wisconsin
Peggy Brown, Nashville, Indiana
Shelly Burge, Lincoln, Nebraska
Shin-hee Chin, McPherson, Kansas
Sandra Palmer Ciolino, Cincinnati, Ohio
Jacquelyn Gering, Chicago, Illinois
Kate Gorman, Westerville, Ohio
Donna Katz, Chicago, Illinois
Beth Markel, Rochester Hills, Michigan
Diane Núñez, Southfield, Michigan
Pat Owoc, St. Louis, Missouri
BJ Parady, Batavia, Illinois
Bonnie Peterson, Houghton, Michigan
Luanne Rimel, St. Louis, Missouri
Barbara Schneider, Woodstock, Illinois
Susan Shie, Wooster, Ohio
Martha Warshaw, Cincinnati, Ohio
Erick Wolfmeyer, Iowa City, Iowa

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