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 Creative Brain: Myths and Truths

By Anna Abraham (2024)

Drawing on theoretical and empirical work in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, Anna Abraham offers an examination of human creativity that reveals the true complexity underlying our conventional beliefs about the brain. The chapters in the book explore the myth of the right brain as the hemisphere responsible for creativity; the relationship between madness and creativity, psychedelics and creativity, atypical brains and creativity, and intelligence and creativity; the various functions of dopamine; and lastly, the default mode revolution, which theorized that the brain regions most likely to be involved in the creative process are those areas of the brain that are most active during rest or mind-wandering.

Posted in consciousness, history, myth, science

Easily Slip into Another World: A Life in Music

By Henry Threadgill and Brent Hayes Edwards (2023)

Henry Threadgill recalls his childhood and upbringing in Chicago, his family life and education, and his brilliant career in music. Here are riveting recollections of the music scene in Chicago in the early 1960s, when Threadgill developed his craft among friends and schoolmates who would go on to form the core of the highly influential Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM); the year and a half he spent touring with an evangelical preacher in the mid-1960s; his military service in Vietnam—a riveting tale in itself, but also representative of an under-recognized aspect of jazz history, given the number of musicians in Threadgill’s generation who served in the armed forces.

We appreciate his genius as he travels to the Netherlands, Venezuela, Trinidad, Sicily, and Goa enriching his art; immerses himself in the volatile downtown scene in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s; collaborates with choreographers, writers, and theater directors as well as an astonishing range of musicians, from AACM stalwarts (Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, and Leroy Jenkins), to Chicago bluesmen, downtown luminaries, and world music innovators; shares his impressions of the recording industry his perspectives on music education and the history of Black music in the United States; and, of course, accounts for his work with the various ensembles he has directed over the past five decades.

Posted in biography, culture, music

Pictures of the Floating World

By Sarah E. Thompson (2022)

In this attractive volume, Sarah E. Thompson, curator of Japanese art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, provides a highly readable overview of the cultural and artistic history of ukiyo-e, showcasing 120 exceptional prints from the museum’s world-class collection, by masters including Utamaro, Hokusai, and Hiroshige. She explores each of the principal genres in turn: beauty and fashion, the kabuki theater, landscape, nature, history and literature, and fantasy.

Posted in art, printmaking

Piranesi and the Modern Age


By Victor Plahte Tschudi (2022)

The etchings of the Italian printmaker, architect, and antiquarian Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–78) have long mesmerized viewers. But, as Victor Plahte Tschudi shows, artists and writers of the modern era found in these works — Piranesi’s visions of contradictory space, endless vistas, and self-perpetuating architecture — a formulation of the modern. In Piranesi and the Modern Age, Tschudi explores the complex appropriation and continual rediscoveries of Piranesi by modern literature, photography, art, film, and architecture.

Posted in architecture, art, cinema, culture, media, printmaking, psychology

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