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, history, science

Fluxus Forms: Scores, Multiples, and the Eternal Network

By Natilee Harren (2020)

While today the Fluxus collective is recognized for its radical neo-avant-garde works of performance, publishing, and relational art and its experimental, interdisciplinary approach, it was not taken seriously in its own time. With Fluxus Forms, Natilee Harren captures the magnetic energy of Fluxus activities and collaborations that emerged at the intersections of art, music, performance, and literature. The book offers insight into the nature of art in the 1960s as it traces the international development of the collective’s unique intermedia works — including event scores and Fluxbox multiples — that irreversibly expanded the boundaries of contemporary art.

Posted in art, culture, design, history, media, music, printmaking

Notes and Tones: Musician-to-Musician Interviews

By Arthur Taylor (1977)

Notes and Tones consists of no-holds-barred conversations which drummer Arthur Taylor held with the most influential jazz musicians of the 1960s and 70s. Free to speak their minds, these musicians offer startling insights into their music, their lives, and the creative process itself.

Posted in biography, culture, history, interview, music

Sculpting in Time


By Andrei Tarkovsky (1985)

In Sculpting in Time, Andrey Tarkovsky has left his artistic testament, a remarkable revelation of both his life and work. He sets down his thoughts and his memories, revealing for the first time the original inspirations for his extraordinary films.

Posted in art, biography, cinema, media

Boundary Objects and Beyond


Edited by Geoffrey C. Bowker (2016)

Susan Leigh Star (1954–2010) was one of the most influential science studies scholars of the last several decades. In her work, Star highlighted the messy practices of discovering science, asking hard questions about the marginalizing as well as the liberating powers of science and technology. In the landmark work Sorting Things Out, Star and Geoffrey Bowker revealed the social and ethical histories that are deeply embedded in classification systems. Star’s most celebrated concept was the notion of boundary objects: representational forms―things or theories―that can be shared between different communities, with each holding its own understanding of the representation. Unfortunately, Leigh was unable to complete a work on the poetics of infrastructure that further developed the full range of her work. This volume collects articles by Star that set out some of her thinking on boundary objects, marginality, and infrastructure, together with essays by friends and colleagues from a range of disciplines―from philosophy of science to organization science―that testify to the wide-ranging influence of Star’s work.

Posted in culture, language, philosophy, science, theory

Käthe Kollwitz: Prints, Process, Politics


Edited by Louis Marchesano (2020)

German printmaker Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) is known for her unapologetic social and political imagery; her representations of grief, suffering, and struggle; and her equivocal ideas about artistic and political labels. This volume explores Kollwitz’s obsessive printmaking experiments with the evolution of her images, and assesses the unusually rich progressions of preparatory drawings, proofs, and rejected images behind Kollwitz’s compositions of struggling workers, rebellious peasants, and grieving
mothers.

Posted in art, biography, exhibition, politics, printmaking

The Print Before Photography: An Introduction to European Printmaking 1550 – 1820


By Antony Griffiths (2016)

A landmark publication — beautifully illustrated with over 300 prints from the British Museum’s renowned collection — which traces the history of printmaking from its earliest days until the arrival of photography. Copperplate printmaking, developed alongside Gutenberg’s invention of moveable type, was a huge business employing thousands of people, and dominating image production for nearly four centuries across the whole of Europe. Its techniques and influence remained very stable until the nineteenth century, when this world was displaced by new technologies, of which photography was by far the most important. Print Before Photography examines the unrivaled importance of printmaking in its golden age, illustrated through the British Museum’s outstanding collection of prints. This unique and significant book is destined to be a leading reference in print scholarship, and will be of interest to anyone with an interest in this era of art history.

Posted in art, history, media, printmaking, technology

Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds


By adrienne maree brown (2017)

Inspired by Octavia Butler’s explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. Rather than steel ourselves against such change, this book invites us to feel, map, assess, and learn from the swirling patterns around us in order to better understand and influence them as they happen. This is a resolutely materialist “spirituality” based equally on science and science fiction, a visionary incantation to transform that which ultimately transforms us.

Posted in culture, feminism, philosophy, politics

The Women of Atelier 17: Modernist Printmaking in Midcentury New York

By Christina Weyl (2019)

In this important book Christina Weyl takes us into the experimental New York print studio Atelier 17 and highlights the women whose work there advanced both modernism and feminism in the 1940s and 1950s. Weyl focuses on eight artists — Louise Bourgeois, Minna Citron, Worden Day, Dorothy Dehner, Sue Fuller, Alice Trumbull Mason, Louise Nevelson, and Anne Ryan—who bent the technical rules of printmaking and blazed new aesthetic terrain with their etchings, engravings, and woodcuts. She reveals how Atelier 17 operated as an uncommonly egalitarian laboratory for revolutionizing print technique, style, and scale. It facilitated women artists’ engagement with modernist styles, providing a forum for extraordinary achievements that shaped postwar sculpture, fiber art, neo-Dadaism, and the Pattern and Decoration movement. Atelier 17 fostered solidarity among women pursuing modernist forms of expression, providing inspiration for feminist collective action in the 1960s and 1970s. The Women of Atelier 17 also identifies for the first time nearly 100 women, many previously unknown, who worked at the studio, and provides incisive illustrated biographies of selected artists.

Posted in art, biography, education, feminism, printmaking

Monument Eternal: The Music of Alice Coltrane

By Franya J. Berkman (2010)

Alice Coltrane was a composer, improviser, guru, and widow of John Coltrane. Over the course of her musical life, she synthesized a wide range of musical genres including gospel, rhythm-and-blues, bebop, free jazz, Indian devotional song, and Western art music. Her childhood experiences playing for African-American congregations in Detroit, the ecstatic and avant-garde improvisations she performed on the bandstand with her husband John Coltrane, and her religious pilgrimages to India reveal themselves on more than twenty albums of original music for the Impulse and Warner Brothers labels.

In the late 1970s Alice Coltrane became a swami, directing an alternative spiritual community in Southern California. Exploring her transformation from Alice McLeod, Detroit church pianist and bebopper, to guru Swami Turiya Sangitananda, Monument Eternal illuminates her music and, in turn, reveals the exceptional fluidity of American religious practices in the second half of the twentieth century. Most of all, this book celebrates the hybrid music of an exceptional, boundary-crossing African-American artist.

Posted in biography, music