August Theme: Public Art
Summer may be winding down, but there’s still plenty of time to take advantage of the plethora of seasonal art exhibitions and festivals, through both the world-at-large and the world of books. At Yale University Press, we’re proud to publish and disseminate the importance of these iconic cultural works and contributions, both contemporary and historical.
In the newest book from Caroline Evans, The Mechanical Smile: Modernism and the First Fashion Shows in France and America, 1900-1929, she fascinatingly explores early fashion shows in France and the United States and how the evolution of these events intersected with emerging forms of popular culture, such as the dance craze, sport and film. Drawing on literary and performance theory rather than relying on art and design history alone, the fashion show, Evans posits, is a singular nodal point where the disparate histories of commerce, modernism, gender, and the body converge; the visual language of a new era came into form.
The public role of art evokes its origins of dissemination: galleries, museums, art historians, gardens, exhibitions, and of course, individuals working tirelessly to promote the importance of its value. From a philosophical point, critic Arthur C. Danto, who once famously declared the “End of Art”, provocatively argues for What Art Is, revising the story he had previously narrated.
One of the most exciting art books of the season: The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti, by Rafael Schacter, examines the most significant artists, schools, and styles of street art and graffiti around the world. Organized geographically by country and city, more than 100 of today’s most important street artists—including Espo in New York, Shepard Fairey in Los Angeles, Os Gêmeos in Brazil, and Anthony Lister in Australia—are profiled alongside key examples of their work. The evolution of street art and graffiti within each region is also chronicled, providing essential historical context.
In the twenty-first century, technology has opened the doors for new experiences of established ideas and practices. Accompanying the fiftieth anniversary edition of Josef Albers’ Interaction of Color is the critically-acclaimed app for iPad, available now from the App Store. A masterwork in art education becomes accessible to a public audience as never before. This month, we’ll add new social media channels on Facebook and Pinterest for users to view, learn, and share more of the color studies created through its fully interactive design. To get a taste, search the hashtag #AlbersIoC on Twitter.
Bonsai: A Patient Art, by Susumu Nakamura and Ivan Watters with Terry Ann R. Neff, presents more than sixty bonsai masterpieces from the Chicago Botanic Garden’s world-class collection, revealing the quiet energy and beauty of the art of bonsai, as well as its spiritual core. Visitors can learn more about the Bonsai Collection at the Garden, and those more distant from Chicago can see photos and insight from the book here on the Yale Press Log.
We’ll explore a point of view on a public space, or rather, a life reconstructed through the public: the title of renowned art historian Svetlana Alpers’ Roof Life refers to what one discovers looking out from high windows with distant and distinctive views. She assembles descriptions of things that mattered in a life that began in Cambridge, Massachusetts, continued in Berkeley, California, and is now lived in New York City. The experience of Europe informs it all; as Alpers solves the question of her father’s place and date of birth, she reconstructs the life of her Russian grandfather in a distant and tumultuous Europe of a century ago.
And finally, we’ll visit the current list of our many catalogs that accompany art museum exhibitions across the world. Be sure to visit our blogroll of art museum partners on the left sidebar!
We hope you enjoy art for art’s sake!