Critique Is Creative: The Critical Response Process in Theory and Action

By Liz Lerman and John Borstel (2022)

Devised by choreographer Liz Lerman in 1990, Critical Response Process (CRP) is an internationally recognized method for giving and getting feedback on creative works in progress. In this first in-depth study of CRP, Lerman and her long-term collaborator John Borstel describe in detail the four-step process, its origins and principles. The book also includes essays on CRP from a wide range of contributors. With insight, ingenuity, and the occasional challenge, these practitioners shed light on the applications and variations of CRP in the contexts of art, education, and community life. Critique is Creative examines the challenges we face in an era of reckoning and how CRP can aid in change-making of various kinds.

With contributions from: Bimbola Akinbola, Mark Callahan, Isaac Gómez, Lekelia Johnson, Elizabeth Johnson Levine, Lawrence Edelson, Carlos Lopez-Real, Cristóbal Martínez, Gesel Mason, Cassie Meador, Rachel Miller Jacobs, Kevin Ormsby, CJay Philip, Kathryn Prince, Sean Riley, Charles C. Smith, Shula Strassfeld, Phil Stoesz, Gerda van Zelm, Jill Waterhouse, Rebekah West

Posted in art, education, feedback

The Renaissance of Etching


By Catherine Jenkins, Nadine M. Orenstein, and Freyda Spira (2019)

The etching of images on metal, originally used as a method for decorating armor, was first employed as a printmaking technique at the end of the 15th century. This in-depth study explores the origins of the etched print, its evolution from decorative technique to fine art, and its spread across Europe in the early Renaissance, leading to the professionalization of the field in the Netherlands in the 1550s. Beautifully illustrated, this book features the work of familiar Renaissance artists, including Albrecht Dürer, Jan Gossart, Pieter Breughel the Elder, and Parmigianino, as well as lesser known practitioners, such as Daniel Hopfer and Lucas van Leyden, whose pioneering work paved the way for later printmakers like Rembrandt and Goya. The book also includes a clear and fascinating description of the etching process, as well as an investigation of how the medium allowed artists to create highly detailed prints that were more durable than engravings and more delicate than woodblocks.

Posted in art, exhibition, history, printmaking, technology

Lo—TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism

By Julia Watson (2019)

Three hundred years ago, intellectuals of the European Enlightenment constructed a mythology of technology. Influenced by a confluence of humanism, colonialism, and racism, this mythology ignored local wisdom and indigenous innovation, deeming it primitive. Today, we have slowly come to realize that the legacy of this mythology is haunting us.

Designers understand the urgency of reducing humanity’s negative environmental impact, yet perpetuate the same mythology of technology that relies on exploiting nature. Responding to climate change by building hard infrastructures and favoring high-tech homogenous design, we are ignoring millennia-old knowledge of how to live in symbiosis with nature. Without implementing soft systems that use biodiversity as a building block, designs remain inherently unsustainable.

Lo—TEK, derived from Traditional Ecological Knowledge, is a cumulative body of multigenerational knowledge, practices, and beliefs, countering the idea that indigenous innovation is primitive and exists isolated from technology. It is sophisticated and designed to sustainably work with complex ecosystems.

Posted in art, culture, design, environment, history, myth, science, technology

Ecoart in Action

Edited by Amara Geffen, Ann Rosenthal, Chris Fremantle, and Aviva Rahmani (2022)

How do we educate those who feel an urgency to address our environmental and social challenges? What ethical concerns do art-makers face who are committed to a deep green agenda? How can we refocus education to emphasize integrative thinking and inspire hope? What role might art play in actualizing environmental resilience?

Compiled from 67 members of the Ecoart Network, a group of more than 200 internationally established practitioners, Ecoart in Action stands as a field guide that offers practical solutions to critical environmental challenges.

Posted in art, education, environment, science

Making and Being

By Susan Jahoda and Caroline Woolard (2019)

Making and Being offers a framework for teaching art that emphasizes contemplation, collaboration, and political economy. Authors Susan Jahoda and Caroline Woolard, two visual arts educators and members of the collective BFAMFAPhD, share ideas and teaching strategies that they have adapted to spaces of learning which range widely, from self-organized workshops for professional artists to Foundations BFA and MFA thesis classes. This hands-on guide includes activities, worksheets, and assignments and is a critical resource for artists and art educators today. Making and Being is a book, a series of videos, a deck of cards, and an interactive website with freely downloadable content.

Posted in art, education

Ray Johnson c/o

Edited by Caitlin Haskell and Jordan Carter (2021)

Ray Johnson (1927–1995) was a renowned maker of meticulous collages whose works influenced movements including Pop Art, Fluxus, and Conceptual Art. Emerging from the interdisciplinary community of artists and poets at Black Mountain College, Johnson was extraordinarily adept at using social interaction as an artistic endeavor and founded a mail art network known as the New York Correspondence School. Drawing on the vast collection of Johnson’s work at the Art Institute of Chicago, this volume gives new shape to our understanding of his artistic practice and features hundreds of pieces that include artist’s books, collages, drawings, mail art, and performance documentation.

Posted in art, design, exhibition, language, media, semiotics, typography

Printmaking in Paris: The Rage for Prints at the Fin de Siècle

By Fleur Roos Rosa de Carvalho and Marije Vellekoop (2013)

In the years between 1890 and 1905, Paris witnessed a revolution in printmaking. Before this time, prints had primarily served reproductive or political ends, but, as the century came to a close, artistic quality became paramount, and printmaking blossomed into an autonomous art form. This gorgeously illustrated and accessibly written book looks at the circumstances in which this terrific new enthusiasm for prints unfolded; the principal players in its development; and the various printmaking techniques being used.

Posted in art, culture, design, exhibition, history, printmaking

African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design

By Ron Eglash (1999)

Drawing on interviews with African designers, artists, and scientists, Ron Eglash investigates fractals in African architecture, traditional hairstyling, textiles, sculpture, painting, carving, metalwork, religion, games, practical craft, quantitative techniques, and symbolic systems. He also examines the political and social implications of the existence of African fractal geometry. His book makes a unique contribution to the study of mathematics, African culture, anthropology, and computer simulations.

Posted in architecture, art, culture, design, history, science

Afrikan Alphabets: The Story of Writing in Afrika

By Saki Mafundikwa (2006)

Afrikan Alphabets will lead you to uncharted places in Afrikan cultures. This book is about the highly graphic pictographs, ideographs, and scripts devised and designed by Afrikans themselves. In Afrika, the harmony of art, nature and spirit is the rule, not the exception. In terms of the graphic arts, alphabets designed by Afrikans show that the spiritual line is free and unencumbered by the rule of the grid. Afrikan alphabets express ideas, systems of thought, cultural imperatives, aesthetic preferences, and spirit. They are one of the important keys to help unlock what has been kept hidden from so many for so long. These alphabets with their deeply meaningful graphic constructions show the intelligence and ingenuity of Afrikan peoples.

Posted in culture, design, history, language, typography

The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

By Anna Tsing (2015)

A tale of diversity within our damaged landscapes, The Mushroom at the End of the World follows one of the strangest commodity chains of our times to explore the unexpected corners of capitalism. Here, we witness the varied and peculiar worlds of matsutake commerce: the worlds of Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, industrial forests, Yi Chinese goat herders, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions also lead us into fungal ecologies and forest histories to better understand the promise of cohabitation in a time of massive human destruction.

Posted in culture, environment, history, science