Calvin Tomkins: The Bride and the Bachelors: Five Masters of the Avant-Garde (1965/1976)

29 July 2014, dusan

A classic work of art criticism. The chapters on Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Jean Tinguely, Robert Rauschenberg, and Merce Cunningham by an author also known for his work for Radio Free Europe, Newsweek, and The New Yorker.

First published by Viking Press, 1965
Viking Compass Edition with a new Introduction and expanded text published 1968
This edition by Penguin, 1976
ISBN 0140043136
306 pages

Download (36 MB, no OCR)

Sigmund Freud: Writings on Art and Literature (1997)

13 June 2014, dusan

For Freud, interpreting a work of art was less the task of assigning meanings to it than accounting for why the reader or reviewer is so powerfully affected by it.

These fourteen essays cover the entire range of his work on these subjects, in chronological order beginning with his first published analysis of a work of literature, the 1907 “Delusion and Dreams in Jensen’s Gradiva” and concluding with the 1940 posthumous publication of “Medusa’s Head.” Many of the essays included in this collection have been crucial in contemporary literary and art criticism and theory.

Among the subjects Freud engages are Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, and Macbeth, Goethe’s Dichtung und Wahrheit, Michelangelo’s Moses, E. T. A. Hoffman’s “The Sand Man,” Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, fairy tales, the effect of and the meaning of beauty, mythology, and the games of aestheticization. All texts are drawn from The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, edited by James Strachey. The volume includes the notes prepared for that edition by the editor.

With a Foreword by Neil Hertz
Publisher Stanford University Press, 1997
Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics series
ISBN 0804729735, 9780804729734
290 pages
via tenderage

Review (Richard D. Chessick, The American Journal of Psychiatry, 1998)


Download (updated on 2014-6-15 to an OCR’d version via Marcell Mars, 8 MB)

Richard Kostelanetz: Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes (1993)

6 April 2014, dusan

“This book elucidates, celebrates, enumerates, and sometimes obliterates achievers and achievements in the avant-garde arts. Although it runs from A to Z, it could as easily have been written from Z to A (or in any other order you might imagine) and may be read from front to back, back to front, or point to point. It is opinionated, as all good dictionaries should be, but it is also inclusive, because there can never be just one avant-garde.

Blake • Rimbaud • Apollinaire • Stein • Cage • Lichtenstein • Tatlin • Keaton • Captain Beefheart • Hologram • Text-Sound Texts • Strobe Light • Grotowski • Soho • Micropress • Electronic Music • Reinhardt • Pound • Performance • Postmodern • Duchamp • Fuller • Oldenberg • Paik • Armory Show • Reich • Cunningham • Copy Culture • Pattern Poetry • Bread and Puppet Theatre” (from the back cover)

With contributions by Richard Carlin, Geof Huth, Gerald Janecek, Katy Matheson, H.R. Brittain, John Robert Colombo, Ulrike Michal Dorda, Charles Doria, and Robert Haller.

Publisher A Capella Books, an imprint of Chicago Review Press, 1993
ISBN 1556522029
246 pages

New additions (2011) selected for Soanyway by Derek Horton (HTML)

Jean-François Lyotard: Miscellaneous Texts, I-II: Aesthetics and Theory of Art & Contemporary Artists (2012) [EN/FR]

24 March 2014, dusan

The first volume, which is itself the fourth of six in the series devoted to Lyotard’s writings on contemporary art and artists published by Leuven University Press, presents nine essays on general aesthetics and the theory of art. Most of these texts, preserved in the Lyotard archives of the Bibliothèque Littéraire Jacques Doucet in Paris, are published here for the first time. They do not reveal ‘another Lyotard’ than the one whom we know through his major writings. Nevertheless, they cover the whole period of his production, from 1969 to 1997; and they make the development of his philosophy of art explicit. After the ‘libidinal’ conception of art in his early writings, the ‘Kantian twist’ of around 1980 places his view on art under the aegis of the sublime.

The second volume brings together thirty-nine essays by Lyotard that deal with twenty-seven artists: Luciano Berio, Richard Lindner, René Guiffrey, Gianfranco Baruchello, Henri Maccheroni, Riwan Tromeur, Albert Ayme, Manuel Casimiro, Ruth Francken, Barnett Newman, Jean-Luc Parant, François Lapouge, Sam Francis, André Dubreuil, Joseph Kosuth, Sarah Flohr, Lino Centi, Gigliola Fazzini, Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger, Henri Martin, Michel Bouvet, Corinne Filippi, Stig Brøgger, François Rouan, Pierre Skira, and Béatrice Casadesus. Some of these texts were originally written as contributions to catalogues, others were published in now-inaccessible journals.

Textes dispersés I: esthétique et théorie de l’art; II: artistes contemporains
Edited by Herman Parret
With epilogues by Jean-Michael Durafour (I) and Dolorès Lyotard (II)
Translated by Vlad Ionescu, Erica Harris and Peter W. Milne
Publisher Leuven University Press, 2012
Jean-François Lyotard: Writings on Contemporary Art and Artists series, 4/I+II
ISBN 9789058677914 & 9789058678867
264 and 720 pages


Volume I, Alt link (watermarked)
Volume II, Alt link (watermarked)

Peter Bürger: Theory of the Avant-Garde (1974–) [DE, EN, ES, PT]

23 March 2014, dusan

In this volume, Peter Bürger formulates a theory of the “institution of art.” He argues that the social status of literature and art cannot be explained by making simple, direct links between the contents of individual works and social history. Rather, he holds, it is the social status of art, its function and prestige in society, that provides the connection between the individual art work and history. Bürger’s concept of the institution of art establishes a framework within which a work of art is both produced and received.

The French and German literary and visual avant-garde of the 1920s provides the test of Bürger’s theory. Focusing on the role of the artistic manifesto and, particularly, on the collage as an art form, he shows how avant-garde movements questioned the autonomous, self-referential status of art in bourgeois society and thus represented a radical break with the aestheticism of high modernism. Bürger attacks metaphysical aesthetics and argues instead for a materialistic aesthetic theory for today, one that is rooted in the reality of the social sphere. His theory calls into question any conventional concept of art derived from Romantic notions of organic unity.

Theory of the Avant-Garde provoked such discussion in Germany that its publisher, Suhrkamp Verlag, issued a book of responses that was more than twice the size of Bürger’s own book. (from the back cover)

German edition
Publisher Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, 1974
147 pages

English edition
Translated by Michael Shaw
Foreword by Jochen Schulte-Sasse
Publisher University of Minnesota Press, 1984
Theory of History and Literature series, 4
ISBN 0816610673
134 pages

Review (Leah Ulansey, MLN, 1984)
Review (Daglind Sonolet, Telos, 1984)

Publisher (DE)
Publisher (EN)

Theorie der Avantgarde (German, 1974, no OCR), Alt link
Theory of the Avant-Garde (English, 1984, assembled from various sources, no OCR, updated to a full version on 2014-5-12 via Charles)
Teoría de la vanguardia (Spanish, trans. Jorge García, 1987), 3rd edition (2000, 51 MB)
Teoria da vanguarda (Portuguese, trans. Ernesto Sampaio, 1993)

See also Bürger’s essay Avant-Garde and Neo-Avant-Garde: An Attempt to Answer Certain Critics of Theory of the Avant-Garde, 2010.

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