Category Archives: language
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.
Afrikan Alphabets: The Story of Writing in Afrika
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.
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.
Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the Twenty-First Century
Edited by Lauren Cornell and Ed Halter (2015)
Since the turn of the millennium, the Internet has evolved from what was merely a new medium to a true mass medium – with a deeper and wider cultural reach, greater opportunities for distribution and collaboration, and more complex corporate and political realities. Mapping a loosely chronological series of formative arguments, developments, and happenings, Mass Effect provides an essential guide to understanding the dynamic and ongoing relationship between art and new technologies.
The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood
By James Gleick (2011)
Acclaimed science writer James Gleick presents an eye-opening vision of how our relationship to information has transformed the very nature of human consciousness. A fascinating intellectual journey through the history of communication and information, from the language of Africa’s talking drums to the invention of written alphabets; from the electronic transmission of code to the origins of information theory, into the new information age and the current deluge of news, tweets, images, and blogs.
The Gutenberg Revolution: How Printing Changed the Course of History
By John Man (2009)
In 1450, all Europe’s books were handcopied and amounted to only a few thousand. By 1500, they were printed and numbered in their millions. The invention of Johann Gutenberg had caused a revolution: printing by movable type. Born in 1400 in Mainz, Germany, Gutenberg struggled against a background of plague and religious upheaval to bring his remarkable invention to light. His story is full of paradoxes: his ambition was to reunite all Christendom, but his invention shattered it; he aimed to make a fortune, but was cruelly denied the fruits of his life’s work. Yet history remembers him as a visionary; his discovery marks the beginning of the modern world.
Ray Johnson: Correspondences
By Donna De Salvo and Catherine Gudis (1999)
In 1995, the resolutely reclusive Ray Johnson reemerged into the spotlight when he died in a mysterious and spectacular way, leading to the discovery of thousands of works of art in his house. Drawing upon this vast trove, Donna De Salvo, the Wexner Center’s Curator at Large, has organized Ray Johnson: Correspondences, the first comprehensive exhibition to be mounted (with the complete cooperation of the artist’s estate).
Like Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Jasper Johns, and later Andy Warhol and Jim Rosenquist, Johnson combined the signs and symbols of contemporary culture with the lessons of abstraction to develop a new lexicon of forms. A pioneer in the use of ‘found’ images and techniques of mechanical reproduction, Johnson created in 1955 what may have been the first informal happening.
Johnson first created ‘mail art’ in the fifties. These were part collage, part manifesto, part parody; he often instructed recipients to ‘add to’, ‘return to’, or ‘send to’, spawning an interactive art form, a continuous happening, that pre-figured electronic mail. Johnson was the nerve center of this pre-digital netscape that spread around the nation and, eventually, the world, which continues to flourish today.
By the eighties, Johnson was a legend in the artistic community. Ray Johnson: correspondences, offers the first opportunity for in-depth examination of the work of an artist who reflected and dissected many of the aesthetic, cultural, and theoretical preoccupations of the last forty years; a figure whose impact and influence will finally be made known.
Yes Yes Y’All: An Oral History of Hip-Hop’s First Decade
Edited by Jim Fricke and Charlie Ahearn (2002)
Based on the “Hip-Hop Nation” exhibit at Seattle’s Experience Music Project and the project’s ongoing Oral History Program, this history of the beginnings of hip-hop in 1970s New York City is a lavishly illustrated and lovingly compiled homage to the many artists who contributed to the birth of what soon became and remains today, more than 25 years later a worldwide cultural institution. Editors Fricke and Ahearn (director of the hip-hop film Wild Style) weave the insights and attitudes of nearly 100 of the key players into a multihued and multiracial tapestry that illustrates what the excitement of that era and its music was all about. Since the hip-hop style was first developed in the Bronx borough of New York City as a dance-floor alternative to the then-prominent “disco” sound, the oral narrative is dominated by the voices of well-known DJs: Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash. But much of the success of the book is derived from its exploration of the roots of other related hip-hop trends: how the massive new styles of graffiti were both a response to urban violence as well as a way to provoke the interest of downtown New York avant-garde artists; how the competitive world of break dancing was rooted in the rapidly changing and fading gang culture of the Bronx; and how many women were far more active and influential in all types of hip-hop styles than was obvious or recognized at the time. This is an excellent documentation of how early hip-hop expressed “a balance between pain and the celebration of music and movements.”
Sign Wars: The Cluttered Landscape of Advertising
By Robert Goldman and Stephen Papson (1996)
Contemporary ads are a symbol of competition as much as a bid for new customers: that’s the contention of authors who suggest that the “sign wars” represent a consequence of a disjoined media culture. Insights on media, advertising strategy, and business blend in a strong consideration which uses signs and symbols from recent campaigns to provide a critical view of ad culture results.
The Poetics of Space
b>By Gaston Bachelard (1964)
The classic book on how we experience intimate spaces. A magical book. A prism through which all worlds from literary creation to housework to aesthetics to carpentry take on enhanced—and enchanted-significances. Every reader of it will never see ordinary spaces in ordinary ways. Instead the reader will see with the soul of the eye, the glint of Gaston Bachelard.