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Space, Gender, and Aesthetics
From the avant-garde design of the Islamic Cultural Center in New York City to the simplicity of the Dar al-Islam Mosque in Abiquiu, New Mexico, the American mosque takes many forms of visual and architectural expression. The absence of a single, authoritative model and the plurality of design nuances reflect the heterogeneity of the American Muslim community itself, which embodies a whole spectrum of ethnic origins, traditions, and religious practices. In this book, Akel Ismail Kahera explores the history and theory of Muslim religious aesthetics in the United States since 1950. Using a notion of deconstruction based on the concepts of "jamal" (beauty), "subject," and "object" found in the writings of Ibn Arabi (d. 1240), he interprets the forms and meanings of several American mosques from across the country. His analysis contributes to three debates within the formulation of a Muslim aesthetics in North America—first, over the meaning, purpose, and function of visual religious expression; second, over the spatial and visual affinities between American and non-American mosques, including the Prophet’s mosque at Madinah, Arabia; and third, over the relevance of culture, place, and identity to the making of contemporary religious expression in North America.
Jörg Haider and the Politics of Austria
Whether or not Haider has followed the ideological path of his compatriot Adolf Hitler, says Austrian political historian Höbelt, he has certainly followed his route to publicity around the world. He explores the politics of modern Austria, and debunks the myth that Haider is driven by passion rather than self-interest.
In this masterful intellectual and cultural biography of Denman Ross (1853-1935), the American design theorist, educator, art collector, and painter who taught at Harvard for over 25 years, Marie Frank has produced a significant artistic resurrection. An important regional figure in Boston's fine arts scene (he remains one of the largest single donors to the collections of the MFA to this day), Ross was a friend and colleague of Arthur Wesley Dow, Bernard Berenson, Jay Hambidge, and others. He gained national and international renown with his design theory, which ushered in a shift from John Ruskin's romantic naturalism to the formalist aesthetic that characterizes modern art and architecture. Ross's theory attracted artists, Arts and Crafts artisans, and architects, and helped shape architectural education, scholarship, and museum practices. This biography of an important intellectual figure is also a fascinating and illuminating guide to a pivotal point in American cultural history and a reminder of the days when Boston was America's salon.
U.S. Architectural Visions for the Western Hemisphere
Coinciding with the centennial of the Pan American Union (now the Organization of American States), González explores how nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. architects and their clients built a visionary Pan-America to promote commerce and cultural exchange between United States and Latin America.
Playthings and Places in Midcentury America
The postwar American stereotypes of suburban sameness, traditional gender roles, and educational conservatism have masked an alternate self-image tailor-made for the Cold War. The creative child, an idealized future citizen, was the darling of baby boom parents, psychologists, marketers, and designers who saw in the next generation promise that appeared to answer the most pressing worries of the age.
Designing the Creative Child reveals how a postwar cult of childhood creativity developed and continues to this day. Exploring how the idea of children as imaginative and naturally creative was constructed, disseminated, and consumed in the United States after World War II, Amy F. Ogata argues that educational toys, playgrounds, small middle-class houses, new schools, and children’s museums were designed to cultivate imagination in a growing cohort of baby boom children. Enthusiasm for encouraging creativity in children countered Cold War fears of failing competitiveness and the postwar critique of social conformity, making creativity an emblem of national revitalization.
Ogata describes how a historically rooted belief in children’s capacity for independent thinking was transformed from an elite concern of the interwar years to a fully consumable and aspirational ideal that persists today. From building blocks to Gumby, playhouses to Playskool trains, Creative Playthings to the Eames House of Cards, Crayola fingerpaint to children’s museums, material goods and spaces shaped a popular understanding of creativity, and Designing the Creative Child demonstrates how this notion has been woven into the fabric of American culture.
The Art History and Popular Celebrity of Frida Kahlo
Beginning in the late 1970's Frida Kahlo achieved cult heroine status less for her richly surrealist self-portraits than by the popularization of the events of her tumultuous life. Her images were splashed across billboards magazine ads, and postcards; fashion designers copied the so-called "Frida" look in hairstyles and dress; and "Fridamania" even extended to T-shirts, jewelry, and nail polish. Margaret A. Lindauer argues that this mass market assimilation of Kahlo's identity has consistently detracted from appreciation of her work, leading instead to narrow interpretations based on "an entrenched narrative of suffering." While she agrees that Kahlo's political and feminist activism, her stormy marriage to fellow artist Diego Reviera, and the tragic reality of a progressively debilitated body did represent a biography colored by emotional and physical upheaval, she questions an "author-equals-the-work" critical tradition that assumes a :one-to-one association of life events to the meaning of a painting." In kahlo's case, Lindauer says, such assumptions created a devouring mythology, an iconization that separates us from rather than leads us to the real significance of the oeuvre. Accompanied by 26 illustrations and deep analysis of Kahlo's central themes, this provocative, semiotic study recontextualizes an important figure in art history at the same time it addresses key questions about the language of interpretation, the nature of veneration, and the truths within self-representation.
Ebook Edition Note: All images have been redacted.
For thirty years, Margo Klass has created hand-crafted book forms. In the last decade she's turned her skills to making elegant and profound sculptures. She constructs box forms, icons, and altarpieces, and covers them in cloth or fine paper. Some have windows or skylights so shadow and light can collaborate. Then she gleans from the wide world found objects that she places in gorgeous juxtaposition. From this process come altarpieces and icons, tiny rooms and vast expanses that draw us into their worlds. Frank Soos spends time in each of these created spaces, and responds in miniature essays, pieces of brief prose no longer than a paragraph. The interplay between words and objects is startling, playful, thought-provoking, and emotionally complex. Reflection and refraction—we take in both words and images, and then our imaginations continue the transformations.
Tradition and Innovation in Cooking Technology
A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication
Among southeastern Indians pottery was an innovation that enhanced the economic value of native foods and the efficiency of food preparation. But even though pottery was available in the Southeast as early as 4,500 years ago, it took nearly two millenia before it was widely used. Why would an innovation of such economic value take so long to be adopted?
The answer lies in the social and political contexts of traditional cooking technology. Sassaman's book questions the value of using technological traits alone to mark temporal and spatial boundaries of prehistoric cultures and shows how social process shapes the prehistoric archaeological record.