What Is Research in the Visual Arts?: Obsession, Archive, Encounter

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With essays by Ernst van Alphen, Mieke Bal, Marc Gotlieb, Serge Guilbaut, Michael Ann Holly, Akira Mizuta Lippit, W. J. T. Mitchell, Joanne Morra, Sina Najafi, Alexander Nemerov, Celeste Olalquiaga, Alexander Potts, and Reva Wolf    

The discipline of art history is in a moment of self-consciousness, and art historians are increasingly more self-reflexive about their practices. In this volume, thirteen authors address both the philosophical and practical issues now facing those in the visual arts field by investigating the ever-pressing issue of research.

Their essays explore the remarkable nature of art historians’ personal, political, aesthetic, creative, and emotive curiosity and the process of doing research in the archive, library, studio, gallery, museum, and beyond. As such, the book considers the pleasures and dangers of researchers’ obsessions and encounters with the incoherence, chaos, and wonder that lie at the heart of searching for the not-yet-known. The volume is based on the 2007 Clark Conference of the same name.

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Editorial Reviews

Reference & Research Book News
"With its exceptional research and writing, this volume will prove valuable to scholars and practitioners in the various facets of arts research."—Reference & Research Book News
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300134131
  • Publisher: Clark, Sterling & Francine Art Institute
  • Publication date: 1/13/2009
  • Series: Clark Studies in the Visual Arts Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 246
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Ann Holly is director of the Research and Academic Program at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Marquard Smith is course director for the master’s program in art and design history at Kingston University, London, and editor-in-chief of the journal of visual culture.

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Table of Contents

Preface Michael Ann Holly vii

Introduction: Why "What Is Research in the Visual Arts?: Obsession, Archive, Encounter"? Marquard Smith x

Part 1 Encounters and Obsessions

What Is Research in Art History, Anyway? Michael Ann Holly 3

Seeing Ghosts: The Turn of the Screw and Art History Alexander Nemerov 13

Dead Stock: The Researcher as Collector of Failed Goods Celeste Olalquiaga 33

The Work of Research: Remembering, Repeating, and Working-Through Joanne Morra 47

Archival Obsessions and Obsessive Archives Ernst van Alphen 65

Our Monstrous Double: The Dream of Research in "Outsider Art History" Marc Gotlieb 85

Part 2 The World and the Archive

Factory of Facts: Research as Obsession with the Scent of History Serge Guilbaut 105

The Artwork, the Archive, and the Living Moment Alex Potts 119

Cut the Bean: Curiosity and Research in the Pages of Cabinet Magazine Sina Najafi 138

The Scholar and the Fan Reva Wolf 158

The Abu Ghraib Archive W.J.T. Mitchell 168

The World Archive and Universal Research Akira Mizuta Lippit 183

Research Practice: New Words on Cold Cases Mieke Bal 196

Contributors 213

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