Leonard Barkan to speak at Arts Week at Birkbeck, University of London, May 23, 6:00 PM

k9832[1]Birkbeck, University of London will host their annual Art Week next week. Leonard Barkan, author of Mute Poetry, Speaking Pictures and Michelangelo: A Life on Paper, will speak on May 23 at 6:00 PM.

Barkan’s book has received some lovely reviews from The Washington Post, Leonardo online, and Choice magazine (“…deserves to become a standard work on the relations of word, image, and poetry and painting in pre-modern culture…”) in recent months. We hope you can join him for what is bound to be a fascinating discussion of the peculiar relationship between art and poetry — or as Leonardo reviewer Jan Baetens puts it, “the desire to compare apples and oranges, and the skepticism that arises when apples and oranges are put aside in different baskets.”

Mute Poetry, Speaking Pictures: A book and some afterthoughts

May 23, 2013 06:00 – 07:30 PM
Venue The Peltz Room, 43 Gordon Square
Free entry; booking required

Event description

Professor Barkan (University of Princeton) will discuss his recent work on the relationship between words and pictures from antiquity to the Renaissance. Professor Barkan is the author of The Gods Made Flesh, Unearthing the Past and most recently Mute Poetry, Speaking Pictures.

Booking: This event is free but booking is essential – see http://bbkmutepoetry.eventbrite.com/

This event forms part of Arts Week 2013 – you can see the full programme here.

T J Clark at Bristol Festival of Ideas This Weekend

Clark author photo

T J Clark’s Picasso and Truth offers a breathtaking and original new look at the most significant artist of the modern era. This Saturday evening, T J Clark will be speaking about this important painter and his new book at a Bristol Festival of Ideas event.

Please click here if you would like to find out more about this event.

T J Clark will also be speaking at:

The London Review Bookshop on 28th May (sold out)

Hay Festival on 30th May

Birkbeck, University of London on 7th June (free entry)

and the London Lit Weekend on 5th October (stay tuned for more information)

Happy Mother’s Day from #OddCouples

This Mother’s Day, we’re offering up some cheeky eCards for you to share with the special women in your life—all inspired by Daphne Fairbairn’s fascinating book Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom, which publishes on May 15th. Trust us, human beings (yes, this includes Mom and Dad) won’t seem so strange once you’ve read about these other species!

Feel free to blog about, Tweet out, post to Facebook, and otherwise share these! Enjoy!

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HP & PUP: Hufflepuff’s PUP Reading List

This week we have a couple of PUP books for any prospective Hogwarts student seeking placement in the Hufflepuff house. Hufflepuffs don’t really get too much attention; their only notable student was Cedric Diggory who was killed by He-Who-Can’t-Be-Named. Yet, Hufflepuffs value hard work, patience, loyalty, and fair play making them interested in some of our books about art and overall well-being.

1. No Joke: Making Jewish Humor by Ruth Wisse- This book is a perfect balance of scholarly and funny.

Humor is the most celebrated of all Jewish responses to modernity. In this book, Ruth Wisse evokes and applauds the genius of spontaneous Jewish joking–as well as the brilliance of comic masterworks by writers like Heinrich Heine, Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Babel, S. Y. Agnon, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Philip Roth. At the same time, Wisse draws attention to the precarious conditions that have called Jewish humor into being–and the price it may exact from its practitioners and audience.

Wisse broadly traces modern Jewish humor around the world, teasing out its implications as she explores memorable and telling examples from German, Yiddish, English, Russian, and Hebrew. Among other topics, the book looks at how Jewish humor channeled Jewish learning and wordsmanship into new avenues of creativity, brought relief to liberal non-Jews in repressive societies, and enriched popular culture in the United States.

Even as it invites readers to consider the pleasures and profits of Jewish humor, the book asks difficult but fascinating questions: Can the excess and extreme self-ridicule of Jewish humor go too far and backfire in the process? And is “leave ‘em laughing” the wisest motto for a people that others have intended to sweep off the stage of history?

2. The Importance of Being Civil: The Struggle for Political Decency by John A. Hall- Knowing of Hufflepuffs’ desire for cooperation, they would probably praise this book and recommend it to those at the Ministry of Magic.

Civility is desirable and possible, but can this fragile ideal be guaranteed? The Importance of Being Civil offers the most comprehensive look at the nature and advantages of civility, throughout history and in our world today. Esteemed sociologist John Hall expands our understanding of civility as related to larger social forces–including revolution, imperialism, capitalism, nationalism, and war–and the ways that such elements limit the potential for civility. Combining wide-ranging historical and comparative evidence with social and moral theory, Hall examines how the nature of civility has fluctuated in the last three centuries, how it became lost, and how it was reestablished in the twentieth century following the two world wars. He also considers why civility is currently breaking down and what can be done to mitigate this threat.

Paying particular attention to the importance of individualism, of rules allowing people to create their own identities, Hall offers a composite definition of civility. He focuses on the nature of agreeing to differ over many issues, the significance of fashion and consumption, the benefits of inclusive politics on the nature of identity, the greater ability of the United States in integrating immigrants in comparison to Europe, and the conditions likely to assure peace in international affairs. Hall factors in those who are opposed to civility, and the various methods with which states have destroyed civil and cooperative relations in society.

3. Why Philanthropy Matters: How the Wealthy Give, and What it Means for Our Economic Well-Being by Zoltan Acs- I could see a Hufflepuff doing good magical deeds for others and this book shows the necessity of such deeds as philanthropy.

Philanthropy has long been a distinctive feature of American culture, but its crucial role in the economic well-being of the nation–and the world–has remained largely unexplored. Why Philanthropy Matters takes an in-depth look at philanthropy as an underappreciated force in capitalism, measures its critical influence on the free-market system, and demonstrates how American philanthropy could serve as a model for the productive reinvestment of wealth in other countries. Factoring in philanthropic cycles that help balance the economy, Zoltan Acs offers a richer picture of capitalism, and a more accurate backdrop for considering policies that would promote the capitalist system for the good of all.

Examining the dynamics of American-style capitalism since the eighteenth century, Acs argues that philanthropy achieves three critical outcomes. It deals with the question of what to do with wealth–keep it, tax it, or give it away. It complements government in creating public goods. And, by focusing on education, science, and medicine, philanthropy has a positive effect on economic growth and productivity. Acs describes how individuals such as Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey have used their wealth to establish institutions and promote knowledge, and Acs shows how philanthropy has given an edge to capitalism by promoting vital forces–like university research–necessary for technological innovation, economic equality, and economic security. Philanthropy also serves as a guide for countries with less flexible capitalist institutions, and Acs makes the case for a larger, global philanthropic culture.

4. A Glossary of Chickens: Poems by Gary Whitehead- For some lighter reading, Hufflepuffs would certainly enjoy this collection of poetry.

With skillful rhetoric and tempered lyricism, the poems in A Glossary of Chickens explore, in part, the struggle to understand the world through the symbolism of words. Like the hens of the title poem, Gary J. Whitehead’s lyrics root around in the earth searching for sustenance, cluck rather than crow, and possess a humble majesty.

Confronting subjects such as moral depravity, nature’s indifference, aging, illness, death, the tenacity of spirit, and the possibility of joy, the poems in this collection are accessible and controlled, musical and meditative, imagistic and richly figurative. They are informed by history, literature, and a deep interest in the natural world, touching on a wide range of subjects, from the Civil War and whale ships, to animals and insects. Two poems present biblical narratives, the story of Lot’s wife and an imagining of Noah in his old age. Other poems nod to favorite authors: one poem is in the voice of the character Babo, from Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, while another is a kind of prequel to Emily Dickinson’s “She rose to His Requirement.”

As inventive as they are observant, these memorable lyrics strive for revelation and provide their own revelations.

Now that all four Hogwarts houses have their respective required reading lists, which house do you belong in?

Elizabeth Alexander to deliver the first half of The Toni Morrison Lectures today, 5:30 PM, at Princeton University

Alexander-Poster_web-image[1]Toni Morrison Lectures

“The Idea of Ancestry” in Contemporary Black Art

by Professor Elizabeth Alexander

“A Voice from the Nondead Past”:   Rethinking Lucille Clifton
April 24, 2013
5:30 p.m.
Wallace Hall, Room 300 (Please Note This is a New Location)

The recent posthumous publication of the collected poems of Lucille Clifton, and the acquisition of her archive by Emory University provide the opportunity to consider the work of this great American poet in its full dimension.    This talk will reframe her ouvre and focus specifically on the philosophical underpinnings of poems that speak across the porous scrim between life and death that is a premised understanding of Clifton’s work.

 

“Don’t Forget to Feed the Loas:” Near Ancestry in Contemporary Black Arts
April 25, 2013
5:30 p.m.
Betts Auditorium, School of Architecture (Please Note This is a New Location)

This talk will focus on the work of recently-deceased Eritrean-American painter Ficre Ghebreyesus and the painterly language of   “near-ancestry” in his and other black diaspora art.   Developing Etheridge Knight’s phrase “the idea of ancestry,” the talk will also look to the dances of Bill T. Jones and the work of Anna Deavere Smith and other art that speaks to intimate proximity to death and the ancestral imperative in black art.


Click here to watch the lectures via a live webcast through Princeton University’s website. The live webcast will start 10 minutes before the beginning of each lecture.


We will also be hosting a live “tweet-up” for this lecture. Follow the lecture on twitter at www.twitter.com/princetoncaas

Discovering Descartes

Descartes famously wrote “I am, I exist” and “I think, therefore I am.” But who was he? Kevin Hart of The Australian explores who the man behind these words was and the legacy that he left as described in Steven Nadler’s new book The Philosopher, the Priest, and the Painter: A Portrait of Descartes.

Capturing the ‘am’ of a great thinker

MANY people will be familiar with the most familiar image of French philosopher Rene Descartes. It depicts the head and shoulders of a middle-aged man with long dark hair, a moustache and a small beard under his lip.

He has a starched white collar that is folded over a black coat in the manner of 17th-century Dutch burghers. A strong aquiline nose and eyes with lids that seem about to cover them mark a face that gazes out at us a little quizzically.

Frans Hals, the great Dutch painter, once had Descartes sit for him. Was the portrait lost? Or did he simply do something small and quick, a portrait composed of short, broad strokes of paint applied roughly? We do not know for sure about a lost, full portrait, but we know the small one because it hangs in a museum in Copenhagen, and has been copied many times.

Steven Nadler’s charming introduction to Descartes begins with an evocation of Hals’s portrait of the philosopher, and the whole book is itself an intimate portrait of the man and his times. More exactly, it tells the story of how the portrait came to be painted.

[Read the complete article at The Australian]

Edwidge Danticat Talks Immigration Reform in the Washington Post & The Cycle

Acclaimed author of Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work Edwidge Danticat penned an op-ed for the Washington Post and also appeared on MSNBC’s The Cycle to discuss immigration and immigration reform in light of the release of over 2,200 immigrant detainees in February due to budgetary savings measures.

During my sophomore year of college I read Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying as part of required reading for my multicultural literature course. It was a good read and just one of various works by Danticat about immigration and immigration reform. Her most recent work, Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, discusses art and exile for artists from countries in turmoil.

3-25 Danticat_CREATEIn this deeply personal book, the celebrated Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat reflects on art and exile, examining what it means to be an immigrant artist from a country in crisis. Inspired by Albert Camus’ lecture, “Create Dangerously,” and combining memoir and essay, Danticat tells the stories of artists, including herself, who create despite, or because of, the horrors that drove them from their homelands and that continue to haunt them. Danticat eulogizes an aunt who guarded her family’s homestead in the Haitian countryside, a cousin who died of AIDS while living in Miami as an undocumented alien, and a renowned Haitian radio journalist whose political assassination shocked the world. Danticat writes about the Haitian novelists she first read as a girl at the Brooklyn Public Library, a woman mutilated in a machete attack who became a public witness against torture, and the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat and other artists of Haitian descent. Danticat also suggests that the aftermaths of natural disasters in Haiti and the United States reveal that the countries are not as different as many Americans might like to believe.

Create Dangerously is an eloquent and moving expression of Danticat’s belief that immigrant artists are obliged to bear witness when their countries of origin are suffering from violence, oppression, poverty, and tragedy.

All 15 Volumes of The Robert Lehman Collection Reviewed in The New York Review of Books

2-25 Robert lehmanThe New York Review of Books featured all fifteen volumes of The Robert Lehman Collection, a comprehensive catalog of the pieces included in The Robert Lehman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Lehman’s extensive collection includes 2,600 works including paintings, sculptures, drawings, pottery, ceramics, and more. The fifteen volume series divides The Robert Lehman Collection into separate categories  so that each has its own catalog. Some volumes include American Drawings and Watercolors, European Sculpture and Metalwork, and Decorative Arts. While all fifteen volumes are not all currently in print, the most recent volume, The Robert Lehman Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Volume XV: Decorative Arts, is newly available to complete the full collection.

Read an excerpt from the review below:

“[T]he monumental, fifteen-volume catalog of the Robert Lehman Collection has at last reached completion after almost thirty-five years of labor by a pantheon of eminent scholars, beginning with John Pope-Hennessy, who published the first volume, on Italian paintings, in 1987. […] Few private collections have been honored with a catalog so complete and containing such superb, informative scholarship as this one, which is, as one of its contributors rightly claims, ‘unique in American museum scholarship in its scope and range.’”–Walter Kaiser, The New York Review of Books

Read the full review here.

Leonard Barkan on Mute Poetry, Speaking Pictures

 

bookjacket
Mute Poetry, Speaking Pictures
Leonard Barkan

New Art and Architecture Catalog!

Art and Architecture CatalogBe among the first to check out our new art and architecture catalog!
http://press.princeton.edu/catalogs/art13.pdf

Of particular interest is Ai Weiwei’s Weiwei-isms, edited by Larry Warsh. Ai Weiwei is one of China’s most influential and inspiring figures. Artist, architect, curator, and activist, he has been an outspoken critic of the Chinese government’s stance on human rights and democracy. This collection of quotes demonstrates the elegant simplicity of Ai Weiwei’s thoughts on key aspects of his art, politics, and life.

Also be sure to note Robert Geddes’ Fit: An Architect’s Manifesto, a book about architecture and society that seeks to fundamentally change how architects and the public think about the task of design. For further reading on architecture, check out the POINT: Essays on Architecture series, featuring titles such as David Joselit’s trenchant illustrated After Art in which the author describes how art and architecture are being transformed in the age of Google.

We’ll also see you at the College Art Association’s annual conference February 13-16 in New York, NY at booth 107. Random drawings for two signed copies of Weiwei-isms will be held. Stop by for a visit and to enter for a chance to win!

Weiwei-isms

Circle of Animals, Zodiac Heads by Ai Weiwei on Princeton University Campus

Hope you have a chance to see the heads while they are on display outside of the Woodrow Wilson School. They really are impressive. We tracked their arrival and assembly many months ago and are proud to publish Weiwei-isms, too.

Ai WeiWei_Weiwei-isms

Weiwei-isms makes the list for the Best Art Books of 2012

The Huffington Post finished out 2012 by summing up the best art books of 2012. Weiwei-isms, a collection of quotes by acclaimed Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, made the list. See the full list here and be sure to pick up a copy of Weiwei-isms.

Ai Weiwei

“Life is art. Art is life. I never separate it. I don’t feel that much anger. I equally have a lot of joy.”