A Personal Canon

A Personal Canon: Nicholas Adams on Five Influential Texts

Why would anyone write a book about the architect Gordon Bunshaft? The consensus is that he was a rude and unpleasant man and, though he was responsible for the design of prominent buildings (Beinecke Library, for one), there’s a chorus of disdain in the background saying that as the chief

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A Personal Canon: Tim Barringer on Five Influential Texts

“British Art” lay at the margins of art history until the 1980s – the very phrase an oxymoron, a Yale colleague told me, since there is no British art to speak of. A certain introspection haunted even brilliant interpretative essays such as The Englishness of English Art (1956), given as

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A Personal Canon: Joshua Shannon on Five Influential Texts

My personal canon, especially in the world’s current political climate, cannot possibly belong to single field. The most important books for me now are calls from several corners of intellectual life, reminders of the urgency and possibilities of scholarship. They are all critical and humanizing. They remind me of the

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A Personal Canon: Katie Hornstein on Five Influential Texts

My recent book, Picturing War in France, is ostensibly about war imagery produced during the first half of the nineteenth century in France.  It is also a book about questions of taste, quality, and the hallowed canon of art history.  The subject of war imagery allowed me to challenge my

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A Personal Canon: K. L. H. Wells on Five Influential Texts

My development as an art historian has been profoundly shaped by the legacy of modernism and its relationship to decoration, craft, and design. In chronological order, here are five books that have motivated my thinking on the importance of applied arts in the conceptualization of modernism.  Mark Wigley, White Walls,

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A Personal Canon: Benjamin Anderson on Five Influential Texts

Art history may have or be an archive (even a canon!), but it is also a process of translation, remediation, and remaking. Here are five nodes in a network: Robert Wood’s Palmyra (1753): a transfer from architecture to print. In 1751, funded and accompanied by slave-owner and planter James “Jamaica”

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A Personal Canon: Patricia Mainardi on Five Influential Texts

In thinking about writing that has been important to me, I chose publications that did not simply tell me something previously unknown but rather shaped my conceptual framework by opening new ways of thinking about issues. These stand out: Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Eye and Mind”, translated by Carleton Dallery, in The

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A Personal Canon: Eric Mumford on Five Influential Texts

Here is my selection of five books that have defined and redefined urbanism since 1850… Camillo Sitte, City Building according to artistic principles (1889) As an arts and crafts educator in Vienna in the 1880s, concerned about what he saw as the soulless and mechanical extensions of European cities, Sitte

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A Personal Canon: Christina Weyl on Five Influential Texts

Here are five books that shaped the study of women printmakers active in the twentieth century. James Watrous, A Century of American Printmaking, 1880-1980 (1984) Watrous’s well-researched survey of American printmaking was the first book I accessed on the subject as an undergraduate, when writing my senior thesis at Georgetown.

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A Personal Canon: Stephen Houston on Five Influential Texts

Books can amuse, provoke, and uplift. The best ones are also, just a bit, like CRISPR technology. That breakthrough allows biochemists to edit genomes. Potent, lasting books reedit our minds.   For me, CRISPR works are not the writings that made a difference to Western art historians. Richard Stone and

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