Theorizing Modernism: Visual Art and the Critical Tradition / Edition 1

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Theorizing Modernism is a re-reading of the modernist tradition in the visual arts that provides a unique view of the history of modern art and art criticism.

Concentrating on canonical critical texts and images, the book examines modern art through a rhetoric of representation rather than through formalist criticism or the history of the avant-garde.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Drucker (art history, Columbia U.) redefines the modernist tradition of visual art through a rhetoric of representation rather than from a formalist or historical approach. Her main themes are attitudes toward space, the ontology of the object, and the production of subjectivity. Illustrated in black and white. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231080835
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 5/16/1996
  • Series: Interpretations in Art Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.95 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Johanna Drucker is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art at Yale University. She is the author of The Visible Word: Experimental Typography and Modern Art Practice, The Century of Artists' Books, andThe Alphabetic Labyrinth: The Letters in History and Imagination.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

1 Reviewing Modernism: An Introduction 1
2 The Representation of Modern Life: From Space to Spectacle 8
The Image of Modernity as Urban Space 9
Baudelaire and Guys
Clark and Pollock
Specularity, Espace, and Visual Truth 37
Cubism, the Specular Surface, and the Visual Sign 46
Spectacle and Simulacrum 52
3 The Ontology of the Object 61
Early Formalism and Flatness: Manet 65
Fry/Bell/Cezanne 69
Presentation Rhetoric 76
Codifying Formalism Critically and Historically 82
Presence into Presentness 90
Beyond Formalism: The Parergon 94
Contingencies of Value 102
4 Subjectivity and Modernity 109
Models of the Artist as Producing Subject 112
Levine/Prince 235
The Produced Subject of Artistic Enunciation 141
Decentering the Subject: Representational Disunity
The Critical-Paranoiac Method: Dali
The Schizophrenic: Jameson and the Perpetual Present
Abstract Space and Subject Enunciation
Theatricalization of Subjectivity
The Situation of Enunciation and Vampiristic Subject
Complicity and Instability of Rendered Positions
5 Following the Received Tradition: A Note in Conclusion 162
Notes 165
Index 191
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