- Ancestral Modern - Australian Aboriginal Art
"Ancestral Modern" explores the extraordinary transformation in Australian Aboriginal art that began in the 1970s. Instead of making art primarily for each other-whether painted or inscribed on rock walls, on the ground, on bark, or on bodies as part of ceremonies-artists began rephrasing their practices to inform outsiders about the complexities of their cultures and the remarkable lands that Aboriginal communities have managed for centuries.
Many of the paintings in "Ancestral Modern" initially appear abstract but communicate surprisingly specific observations about places and people, flora and fauna, and Aboriginal history. In three wide-ranging essays and illuminating discussions of fifty individual works, the authors consider how deceptively simple means yield richly multilayered meanings. What appears to be a geometric maze turns into the path of ancestral beings establishing features of the landscape. Canvases resembling maps record memories of sacred ceremonies. Dazzling linear patterns conjure up leaves blown across a windswept desert, and herringbone hatching designates clan identities. Along the way, this collection offers many new visions of Australia-peering underground to see yams grow, trekking over vast salt lakes, following the trail of a blue-tongued lizard, and encountering a lightning-spitting serpent in swirling water.
Two Australian and two American curators each contribute a distinct perspective on this collection of over one hundred artworks that span the Australian continent and the varying approaches to art pursued by diverse Aboriginal communities. Acrylic paintings from the desert, bark canvases from the north, and ochre-painted canvases from the west are joined by new uses of fiber, clay, and photography. Complementing the fully illustrated essays and catalogue entries are a visual glossary, which offers glimpses of the real-life creatures and landscapes that helped inspire the artworks, and a glossary of terms defining some of the essential concepts of Aboriginal culture. Ancestral Modern is dedicated to a vanguard effort by artists who are showing the world another way to experience not only their own country and worldviews but nature itself, wherever it is encountered.
- Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand - Masterworks from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), Edward Steichen (1879-1973), and Paul Strand (1890-1976) are among the most famous photographers of the 20th century. This handsome volume showcases for the first time The Metropolitan Museums extraordinarily rich holdings of works by these diverse and groundbreaking masters. A passionate advocate for photography and modern art promoted through his Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession (also known as 291) and his sumptuous journal Camera Work, Stieglitz was also a photographer of supreme accomplishment. Featured works by Stieglitz include portraits, landscapes, city views, and cloud studies, along with photographs from Stieglitzs composite portrait of Georgia OKeeffe (selected by OKeeffe herself for the Museum). Perhaps best known as a fashion photographer, celebrity portraitist, and MoMA curator, Steichen was, at the turn of the century, Stieglitzs man in Paris, gallery collaborator, and most talented exemplar of Photo-Secessionist photography. Steichens three large variant prints of The Flatiron and his moonlit photographs of Rodins Balzac are highlighted here. Marking a pivotal moment in the course of photography, the final issue of Camera Work (1916) was devoted to the young Paul Strand, whose photographs from 1915 and 1916 treated three principal themes - movement in the city, abstractions, and street portraits - and pioneered a shift from the soft-focus Pictorialist aesthetic to the straight approach and graphic power of an emerging modernism. This book reproduces Strands rare large platinum prints, most of them unique exhibition prints of images popularly known only as Camera Work photogravures. The rarely exhibited masterpieces gathered together in Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand are among the crown jewels of the Metropolitans photography collection.
- The Age of Secrecy - Jews, Christians, and the Economy of Secrets, 1400-1800
The fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries were truly an Age of Secrecy in Europe, when arcane knowledge was widely believed to be positive knowledge that extended into all areas of daily life, from the economic, scientific, and political spheres to the general activities of ordinary people.
So asserts Daniel Jutte in this engrossing, vivid, and award-winning work. He maintains that the widespread acceptance and even reverence for this "economy of secrets" in premodern Europe created a highly complex and sometimes perilous space for mutual contact between Jews and Christians. Surveying the interactions between the two religious groups in a wide array of secret sciences and practices--including alchemy, cryptography, medical arcana, technological and military secrets, and intelligence--the author relates true stories of colorful "professors of secrets" and clandestine encounters. In the process Jutte examines how our current notion of secrecy is radically different in this era of WikiLeaks, Snowden, et al., as opposed to centuries earlier when the truest, most important knowledge was generally considered to be secret by definition.
- Dutch Art and Urban Cultures, 1200-1700
Traditionally Dutch art is seen and presented as a coherent phenomenon--the product of state formation in the late 16th century. Elisabeth de Bievre challenges this view and its assumptions in a radical new account. Arguing that the Dutch Golden Age was far from unified, de Bievre exposes how distinct geographical circumstances and histories shaped each urban development and, in turn, fundamentally informed the art and visual culture of individual cities.
In seven chapters, each devoted to a single city, the book follows the growth of Amsterdam, Delft, Dordrecht, Haarlem, Leiden, The Hague, and Utrecht over the course of five centuries. By embracing the full gamut of art and architecture and by drawing on the records of town histories and the writings of contemporary travelers, de Bievre traces the process by which the visual culture of the Netherlands emerged to become the richest, most complex material expression in Europe, capturing the values of individuals, corporate entities, and whole cities.
- Maine Moderns
Between 1900 and 1940, a group of modernist artists gathered regularly on the coast of Maine in a region then known as Seguinland. For photographer Paul Strand, painter Marsden Hartley, sculptor Gaston Lachaise, and others, it was a way to escape market-driven, competitive, and divisive New York City, and celebrate a new kind of American Modernism.
In this beautifully illustrated book, Libby Bischof and Susan Danly explore the state's important place in the history of modern art and show how summers in Seguinland inspired a new classicism that merged the antique with the modern. They also shed light on how the various artists' experiences in the refreshing atmosphere on the Maine coast cemented their friendships, shaped their individual styles, and fostered their understanding of what it meant to be a modern artist.