Anne Hollander: Seeing Through Clothes (1978)

29 November 2014, dusan

Seeing Through Clothes is a vivid pictorial history of the changing images of ourselves in fashion. From classical Greek sculpture through the photographs of Avedon, Anne Hollander shows us how art has determined, rather than reflected, our concept of beauty and fashion. She examines the evolution of underclothes, hair as a sexual symbol, the difference between ‘naked’ and ‘nude,’ the role of black clothing, the meaning of mirror images, and how our concept of the perfect figure changes, and thus has altered fashion through the ages.” (from the back cover)

Publisher Avon Books, New York, 1978
ISBN 0380487772
504 pages

Review (Kirkus Reviews, n.d.)
Commentary (Dan Piepenbring, The Paris Review, 2014)
Commentary (Valerie Steele, Artforum, 2014)

WorldCat

PDF (86 MB, no OCR)
PDF (38 MB, OCR’d version via Marcell Mars added on 2014-11-30)

Hillel Schwartz: The Culture of the Copy: Striking Likenesses, Unreasonable Facsimiles, 2nd ed. (1996/2013)

7 March 2014, dusan

The Culture of the Copy is an unprecedented attempt to make sense of the Western fascination with replicas, duplicates, and twins. In a work that is breathtaking in its synthetic and critical achievements, Hillel Schwartz charts the repercussions of our entanglement with copies of all kinds, whose presence alternately sustains and overwhelms us. Through intriguing, and at times humorous, historical analysis and case studies in contemporary culture, Schwartz investigates a stunning array of simulacra—counterfeits, decoys, mannequins, and portraits; ditto marks, genetic cloning, war games, and camouflage; instant replays, digital imaging, parrots, and photocopies; wax museums, apes, and art forgeries, not to mention the very notion of the Real McCoy. Working through a range of theories on biological, mechanical, and electronic repro­duction, Schwartz questions the modern esteem for authenticity and uniqueness. The Culture of the Copy shows how the ethical dilemmas central to so many fields of endeavor have become inseparable from our pursuit of copies—of the natural world, of our own creations, indeed of our very selves.

This updated edition takes notice of recent shifts in thought with regard to such issues as biological cloning, conjoined twins, copyright, digital reproduction, and multiple personality disorder. At once abbreviated and refined, it will be of interest to anyone concerned with proglems of authenticity, identity, and originality.

First published in 1996
Publisher Zone Books, New York, 2013
ISBN 1935408453, 9781935408451
480 pages

Review (Terence Hawkes, London Review of Books, 1997)
Review (Francis Kane, The New York Times, 1997)
Review (Todd Gitlin, Los Angeles Times, 1997)

Publisher
Google books

Download (removed on 2014-3-20 upon request of the publisher)

Susan Buck-Morss: The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (1989-) [English, Spanish]

1 May 2013, dusan

“Walter Benjamin’s magnum opus was a book he did not live to write. In The Dialectics of Seeing, Susan Buck-Morss offers an inventive reconstruction of the Passagen-Werk, or Arcades Project, as it might have taken form.

Working with Benjamin’s vast files of citations and commentary which contain a myriad of historical details from the dawn of consumer culture, Buck-Morss makes visible the conceptual structure that gives these fragments philosophical coherence. She uses images throughout the book to demonstrate that Benjamin took the debris of mass culture seriously as the source of philosophical truth.

The Paris Arcades that so fascinated Benjamin (as they did the Surrealists whose “materialist metaphysics” he admired) were the prototype, the 19th century “ur-form” of the modern shopping mall. Benjamin’s dialectics of seeing demonstrate how to read these consumer dream houses and so many other material objects of the time—from air balloons to women’s fashions, from Baudelaire’s poetry to Grandville’s cartoons—as anticipations of social utopia and, simultaneously, as clues for a radical political critique.

Buck-Morss plots Benjamin’s intellectual orientation on axes running east and west, north and south—Moscow Paris, Berlin-Naples—and shows how such thinking in coordinates can explain his understanding of “dialectics at a standstill.” She argues for the continuing relevance of Benjamin’s insights but then allows a set of “afterimages” to have the last word.”

Publisher MIT Press, 1989
Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought Series
ISBN 0262022680
493 pages

Review (Beste Alpay, The Montréal Review)

Publisher (EN)
Susan Buck-Morss at Monoskop wiki (incl. source bibliography)

The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project (English, 98 MB, PDF, updated on 2019-3-25)
Dialectica de la mirada: Walter Benjamin y el proyecto de los Pasajes (Spanish, trans. Nora Rabotnikof, 1995, updated on 2013-5-2)