Mark Rothko: The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art (2004)

29 November 2014, dusan

“One of the most important artists of the twentieth century, Mark Rothko (1903–1970) created a new and impassioned form of abstract painting over the course of his career. Rothko also wrote a number of essays and critical reviews during his lifetime. Although the artist never published a book of his views, his heirs indicate that he occasionally spoke of the existence of such a manuscript to friends and colleagues. Stored in a New York City warehouse since the artist’s death more than thirty years ago, this manuscript, titled The Artist’s Reality, is now being published for the first time.

Probably written around 1940–41, this book discusses Rothko’s ideas on the modern art world, art history, myth, beauty, the challenges of being an artist in society, the true nature of “American art,” and much more. The Artist’s Reality also includes an introduction by Christopher Rothko, the artist’s son, who describes the discovery of the manuscript and the process of bringing it to publication. The introduction is illustrated with a small selection of relevant examples of the artist’s own work as well as with reproductions of pages from the actual manuscript.”

Edited and with an Introduction by Christopher Rothko
Publisher Yale University Press, 2004
ISBN 0300115857, 9780300115857
136 pages



Alfred Gell: Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory (1998)

14 September 2014, dusan

Alfred Gell puts forward an anthropological theory of visual art seen as a form of instrumental action: the making of things as a means of influencing the thoughts and actions of others. He argues that existing anthropological and aesthetic theories take an overwhelmingly passive point of view, and questions the criteria that accord art status only to a certain class of objects and not to others. The anthropology of art is here reformulated as the anthropology of a category of action: Gell shows how art objects embody complex intentionalities and mediate social agency. He explores the psychology of patterns and perceptions, art and personhood, the control of knowledge, and the interpretation of meaning, drawing upon a diversity of artistic traditions-European, Indian, Polynesian, Melanesian, and Australian.

With a Foreword by Nicholas Thomas
Publisher Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1998
ISBN 0198280149, 9780198280149
272 pages
via mrcds

Commentary (Robert Layton, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 2003)
Review (Michèle Coquet, L’Homme, 2001, in French)
Review (Ross Bowden, Oceania, 2004)


PDF (64 MB, no OCR)
EPUB (4 MB, added on 2014-9-14 via Marcell)

Ellen Røed: Skyvelære (2014)

5 September 2014, dusan

Composed of the words sliding and knowing, the Norwegian term skyvelære means caliper, a device for measuring distance. In her research Ellen Røed reflects on devices and procedures that are used in video art and in the natural sciences. She considers various relationships involved in creating representations; field trips, story telling, gathering or capturing of data, measuring and calibrating.

Critical Reflection on Artistic Results of a Fellowship Project in Artistic Research
Bergen Academy of Art and Design, 2014
143 pages

Download (15 MB)
Download the video Skyvelære (While Attempting to Balance) (2013, 276 MB, MOV)

Jonathan Crary: Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (1990–) [EN, HU, ES]

1 June 2014, dusan

In Techniques of the Observer Jonathan Crary provides a dramatically new perspective on the visual culture of the nineteenth century, reassessing problems of both visual modernism and social modernity.

Inverting conventional approaches, Crary considers the problem of visuality not through the study of art works and images, but by analyzing the historical construction of the observer. He insists that the problems of vision are inseparable from the operation of social power and examines how, beginning in the 1820s, the observer became the site of new discourses and practices that situated vision within the body as a physiological event. Alongside the sudden appearance of physiological optics, Crary points out, theories and models of “subjective vision” were developed that gave the observer a new autonomy and productivity while simultaneously allowing new forms of control and standardization of vision.

Crary examines a range of diverse work in philosophy, in the empirical sciences, and in the elements of an emerging mass visual culture. He discusses at length the significance of optical apparatuses such as the stereoscope and of precinematic devices, detailing how they were the product of new physiological knowledge. He also shows how these forms of mass culture, usually labeled as “realist,” were in fact based on abstract models of vision, and he suggests that mimetic or perspectival notions of vision and representation were initially abandoned in the first half of the nineteenth century within a variety of powerful institutions and discourses, well before the modernist painting of the 1870s and 1880s.

Publisher MIT Press, 1990
ISBN 0262031698
171 pages
via De Artes y Pasiones

Publisher (EN)

Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (English, 1990, no OCR, low quality images)
A megfigyelő módszerei. Látás és modernitás a 19. században (Hungarian, trans. Ágnes Lukács, 1999, no OCR)
Las técnicas del observador: visión y modernidad en el siglo XIX (Spanish, trans. Fernando López García, 2008)

Nikolaus Gansterer (ed.): Drawing A Hypothesis: Figures of Thought (2011)

29 March 2014, dusan

Drawing a Hypothesis is a reader on the ontology of forms of visualizations and on the development of the diagrammatic view and its use in contemporary art, science and theory. In a process of exchange with artists and scientists, Nikolaus Gansterer reveals drawing as a media of research enabling the emergence of new narratives and ideas by tracing the speculative potential of diagrams. Based on a discursive analysis of found figures with the artists’ own diagrammatic maps and models, the invited authors create unique correlations between thinking and drawing. Due to its ability to mediate between perception and reflection, drawing proves to be one of the most basic instruments of scientific and artistic practice, and plays an essential role in the production and communication of knowledge. The book is a rich compendium of figures of thought, which moves from scientific representation through artistic interpretation and vice versa.

Translation: Veronica Buckley, Aileen Derieg
Publisher Springer, 2011
Edition Angewandte
ISBN 3709108020, 9783709108024
352 pages

Review (Mark Robert Doyle)
Review (Gert Hasenhuetl, in German)

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