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SIGGRAPH is the special interest group on graphics of the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery)organization, the major professional association for computer science. Many years ago SIGGRAPH started out very small; as the interest in computer graphics has grown, however, so has the organization. The yearly meetings are now a major international event for those interested in computer graphics and one of the most important forums for work in this field. Each year the latest work in computer graphics is presented in the technical sessions, video show, and art show of the SIGGRAPH conference. The sessions range from advanced mathematics to entertainment applications. The proceedings are the written record of these sessions. Where appropriate the papers are richly illustrated. Examples of titles included are “A Muscle Model for Animating Facial Expression”, “Principles of Traditional Animation Applied to 3D Computer Animation”, “A Parallel Processor Architecture For Graphics Arithmetic Operations” and “Where Do User Interfaces Come From”. TheProceedings areavaluable resource for those intensely interested in the field and a timely way to keep up with developments. Leonard0 readers should be aware of some reservations. Because the presenters usually assume their audiences have strong technical backgrounds , the papers are often quite technical and provide only limited introduction for the novice. Also, the papers sometimes seem weak relative to the oral presentations-they do not present the elaborations and questionand -answer sessions that often make technical conferencescomealive. Nonetheless ,many readerswillfindtheProceedings a workable substitute for attendanceat a SIGGRAPH conference. ARRESTAND MOVEMENT.AN ESSAY ON SPACE AND TIME IN THE REPRESENTATIONAL ART OF THE NEAR EAST by H.A. Groenewegen-Frankfort. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, U.S.A., 1987. 222 pp., illus. Paper, $18.95. Reviewed by Rudolf Arnheim, 1133South Seventh Street, Ann Arbor, MI, U.S.A. One of the landmarks of art history has been brought into easier reach by the American paperback edition of Henriette Antonia Groenewegen-Frankfort’s monograph on the art of the Ancient Near East. Her book is one of the attempts to analyze basic formal features of art by examples taken from one or several periods of art history. The visual features singled out in this case are described by pairs of concepts such as arrest and movement, time and space, pictogram and narrative scene, abstraction and lifelike representation. When such a systematic analysis is combined with a full history of the period from which the examples are taken, some structural ambiguity is inevitable in the presentation. History always provides more instances than are needed to make the point of theory. Few readers,however, are likely to complain about the abundance of facts assembled by Frankfort. It would be hard to find a livelier and subtler history especially of Egyptian painting and reliefs. And the few pages introducing the section on the Minoan art of Crete (pp. 185-187) are alone worth the price of the book. Such inspired passages become more frequent as Frankfort proceeds from the austerity of the Egyptian tombs to the dramatic chronicles of the Assyrian reliefs and finally the lyrical flourishing of Minoan painting. Frankfort’s sympathy is clearly more with movement than with arrest. She belongs to the traditional school of art historians for whom art aspired to nature and Greek naturalism supplied forever the standardfrom which no styleveered away without impunity. A watershed divides such commitment to naturalism from another approach that, in keeping with the outlook of modern art,derivesartisticformfrom the character traitsof the medium. Within the idiom of their medium, artists conceive of shapes that may or may not try to match those of nature. The latter approach,clearly the best for the understanding of early art forms, was applied to Egyptian art, 30 years before Frankfort’s book, in Heinrich Schaefer’s classic treatise, in which he derived the rules of spatial representation in early two-dimensional work from what he had observed in the drawings of children. To his Egyptian examples he added illustrations of two modern paintings, one of them by Chagall. Schaefer, too, however, clung still to the dogma that a difference in principle separates so-called conceptual art from perceptual art. In the same vein, Frankfort separatesworksthatsupposedly look like nature from others that do...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
p. 330
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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