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Archive for the 'Art' Category

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Tom Toles’s Drawings from “The Madhouse Effect”

While climate change is hardly a laughing matter, the drawings from the Pulitzer-winning cartoonist, Tom Toles, brilliantly uses satire and humor to shed a new light on the efforts of denialists to refute scientific evidence. The following are some of his work feature in the book he co-authored with Michael Mann, The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy:

Tom Toles, Madhouse Effect

Tom Toles, Madhouse Effect

Tom Toles, Madhouse Effect

Tom Toles, Madhouse Effect

Tom Toles, Madhouse Effect

Tom Toles, Madhouse Effect

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Eric Kandel on Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko

In the following excerpt from his new book Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures, Eric Kandel examines the power of Rothko’s painting and his transformation from a figurative to an abstract painter. In describing Rothko’s abstract paintings for the Rothko Chapel, Kandel writes:

The sensation is both ambiguous and remarkable, and it affords us an opportunity to create new meaning. Moreover, the harmony among the beautifully displayed paintings in the chapel—a harmony that characterizes Rothko’s late work—is striking. None of Rothko’s figurative paintings are remotely capable of evoking as emotionally rich and varied, as spiritual, a response as these reductionist dark canvases.

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

This is Your Brain on Jackson Pollock — Eric Kandel on Art

“We understand how visual information is processed and things like this. And we understand where pleasure centers are, and how they interact with that. We know where memory centers are. But the details of perception of art, we’re just beginning to explore.”—Eric Kandel

Earlier this month, Eric Kandel, appeared on Science Friday to talk about his new book, Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures. In the interview, Kandel describes what we can learn about the brain by looking at the work of Abstract Expressionists. These twentieth-century painters boiled visual art down to a few fundamental components—line, color, form, light, and texture. Our neural circuitry is hardwired to prefer images we can identify, which makes abstract forms more difficult to process. At the same time, abstract forms leave the door open to interpretation, stimulating the higher-level areas of the brain responsible for creativity and imagination.

Here is a short excerpt from the interview in which Kandel describes some of the pleasures of viewing the work of J. M. W. Turner. You can listen to the entire interview below:

IRA FLATOW: And it seems like in your book, you point to how the artists themselves evolved from one form of art to the other.


IRA FLATOW: Give me your favorite example.

ERIC KANDEL: Take Turner. I show two wonderful images of Turner. Now, this we’re talking about the 1800s, early painting around 1815, 1820. He shows one of his most favorite themes, a ship fighting the force of nature at sea. It’s rocking and rolling–

IRA FLATOW: It’s a real ship. It looks like a ship, a classic ship.

ERIC KANDEL: And you see the elements. You see the rain coming down. You see the moon. You see absolutely everything. He comes back to the same theme 50 years later. And it’s very abstract. You don’t see the details very clearly at all, but the effect on me is even stronger.

IRA FLATOW: Because you’re filling in those spots with your life experience.

ERIC KANDEL: And that’s so satisfying. Getting your own mind involved is a very satisfying activity. The more you become engrossed in something, the more you can use your own thought processes. For most people, the more enjoyable it becomes.

IRA FLATOW: Can you, as a scientist, see the mind doing that, understand how it fills in, brings life experiences?

ERIC KANDEL: Not really. Our understanding of brain science has progressed tremendously in the last 100 years. Even in my academic lifetime, 50, 60 years. But we’re at the beginning of understanding this enormously complicated problem. We understand how visual information is processed and things like this. And we understand where pleasure centers are, and how they interact with that. We know where memory centers are. But the details of perception of art, we’re just beginning to explore.

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Book Giveaway! “Reductionism in Art and Brain Science,” by Eric Kandel

This week our featured book is Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures, by Eric R. Kandel.

In addition to featuring the book and the author on the blog, we will also be posting about the book on twitter, and facebook.

We are also offering a FREE copy of Reductionism in Art and Brain Science to one winner. To enter the contest please e-mail pl2164@columbia.edu and include your name and address. The winner will be selected Friday, September 30th at 1:00 pm.

Joseph LeDoux, author of Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety, writes, “Eric R. Kandel seamlessly moves between the intricacies of science and art, weaving their histories into a common narrative that illuminates both fields and shows they have more in common than is often assumed. It is a fun and informative read that anyone with a curious mind can enjoy and learn from.”

For more on the book, you can read the book’s introduction:

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

Columbia University Press wins big at the New York Book Show

The winners for the New York Book Show (an annual design competition hosted by the Book Industry Guild of New York) were announced last week. We’re proud to share that Columbia University Press won in eight categories this year, an incredible achievement.

The winners are:

Violence and Civility (jacket design)
Designer: Chang Jae Lee
“The book discusses the insidious causes of violence, racism, nationalism, mass dispossession, and ethnic cleansing worldwide. The (in)advertent black ink blots around the handwritten type, with the introduction of magenta, are meant to hint at blood drops as the visual effects of violence.”
Violence and Civility

The Hillary Doctrine (jacket design)
Designer: Jordan Wannemacher
“I was excited to work on this book because it was about such an important piece of foreign policy and feminist history. We printed this on a beautiful foil paper that metallicized the flag and the type. The result was an authoritative cover with a lot of visual depth.”
The Hillary Doctrine (more…)

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Images from “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?”

How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?

We conclude our week-long feature on “How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses”: Women and Jewish American Identity in Contemporary Graphic Memoirs,” by Tahneer Oksman by sharing some of the extraordinary images from her book:

Aline Kominsky Crumb
Aline Kominsky Crumb, top of title panel from “Nose Job,” 1989

Lauren Weinstein
Lauren Weinstein, “The Best We Can Hope For,” 2008

Aline Kominsky Crumb
Aline Kominsky Crumb, untitled cartoon. In Need More Love

Vanessa Davis
Vanessa Davis, full-page color drawing. In Make Me a Woman


Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Energy’s Image

Chaos Imagined

“Turner’s ambitions took him beyond his abiding interest in the unstable and ephemeral, the chaos of impermanence and the vast disruptions of unimaginable forces. It drove him to attempt to see and unveil the underpinnings, the living energy, even in scenes where water, earth, and air virtually dissolve not in turmoil but in tranquil luminosity.” — Martin Meisel

This week, our featured book is Chaos Imagined: Literature, Art, Science, by Martin Meisel. In the final post of the feature, we are happy to present an excerpt from the book’s chapter on the art of J.M.W. Turner, “Energy’s Image.”

Monday, January 18th, 2016

Book Giveaway! Chaos Imagined: Literature, Art, Science, by Martin Meisel

Chaos Imagined

“Martin Meisel’s magnum opus is a heroic act of defiance against its own subject matter: an enlightening, judicious, cohesive history of three millennia of thought about the terrors and attractions of chaos. The book moves with steady confidence through literature, science, art, and philosophy, illuminating many varieties of darkness, finding convincing and original connections across centuries and continents. With authority and energy, it creates a whole new field of study.” — Edward Mendelson, Lionel Trilling Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University

This week, our featured book is Chaos Imagined: Literature, Art, Science, by Martin Meisel. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of Chaos Imagined. To enter our book giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select our winners on Friday, January 8th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word! Below the giveaway form, you can also read an excerpt from the first chapter, “Shaping Chaos.”

Shaping Chaos

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Interview with John Roberts, author of Photography and Its Violations

“Photography violates, precisely, because social appearances hide, in turn, division, hierarchy and exclusion.”—John Roberts

John Roberts, Photography and Its ViolationsThe following is an interview with John Roberts, author of Photography and Its Violations:

Q: What do you mean by photography and its violations? How is photography violated?

John Roberts: Well, the title is deliberately ambiguous. By violation I do not mean the capacity of photography to objectify its subjects, nor am I referring directly—although it is implied—to those cultural and political forces lined up against its interests. Rather violation refers here to what photography is able to do in an expressly productive way, given what I call in the book, its social ontology or “unquenchable social intrusiveness and invasiveness.” By this I mean, what makes photography worth returning to as a philosophical and political problem is, in fact, the thing that has always threatened its desire to be thought highly of as an art or would be “objective” medium: namely its unstable and destabilizing character. That is, photography is not just a medium of report or an aesthetic transformation of the world, but a specific act of disclosure, in which its rebarbative powers—of disruption, denaturalization and the ruination of self-identity—secure photography’s infinite capacity for truth telling.

Hence when I talk of violation I’m addressing how photography’s intrusive “pointing to” opens up a space of conceptual reflection on the relations between the photograph’s subjects and objects and the social world in which they are embedded. As such, my understanding of violation takes an interrelated form: violation is what the act of photography does in the world as a consequence of the fact that photography’s relationship to its depicted subjects and objects is an effect of power relations and material interests external to the act of photography itself. The truth-claims of photography, therefore, are a condition of this conceptual articulation. As I say: “Photography violates, precisely, because social appearances hide, in turn, division, hierarchy and exclusion.”


Monday, April 7th, 2014

Book Giveaway! The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s, by Mary Helen Washington

The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s, Mary Helen Washington

This week we will be featuring The Other Blacklist: The African American Literary and Cultural Left of the 1950s, by Mary Helen Washington on our blog, twitter, and facebook.

We are also offering a FREE copy of The Other Blacklist to a lucky winner. To enter the contest please e-mail pl2164@columbia.edu and indicate your name and address. The winner will be selected Friday, April 11 at 3:00 pm.

In The Other Blacklist, Mary Helen Washington recovers the vital role of 1950s leftist politics in the works and lives of modern African American writers and artists. While most histories of McCarthyism focus on the devastation of the blacklist and the intersection of leftist politics and American culture, few include the activities of radical writers and artists from the Black Popular Front. Washington’s work incorporates these black intellectuals back into our understanding of mid-twentieth-century African American literature and art and expands our understanding of the creative ferment energizing all of America during this period.

For more on the book, read an excerpt from the introduction.

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Images from Recovering Place by Mark C. Taylor

We conclude our week-long focus on Recovering Place: Reflections on Stone Hill, by Mark C. Taylor by featuring some of the book’s stunning photographs along with excerpts from the book.

Divided into short chapters focusing on a specific theme or idea (Modern, Abstraction, Shadows, Raking, Prayer, etc.), the book includes images of and around Stone Hill, which is located in the Berkshire Mountains, where Taylor writes and creates land art and sculpture. We’ve posted some of the photographs below along with short excerpts from the chapters. (For more on the book, you can also read the book’s introduction) :


Recovering Place, Mark C. Taylor

Craft can be fine art. Traditionally anonymous, craft, unlike so-called fine art, is more about the art than the artist. It is not the work of genius but the product of skill cultivated over many years of apprenticeship…. Although he never signs his art, the imprint of his hand is unmistakable.


Mark Taylor, Recovering Place

But this moment never lasts, for it appears only by disappearing…. But light is never merely light, for illumination creates a residual obscurity more impenetrable than the darkness it displaces but does not erase


Mark Taylor, Recovering Place

The Real is what remains when I do not and forever withdraws in my presence. Resisting my resistance without opposition, the real is the limit that makes creativity possible. Thinking is always after the real, which can never be properly comprehended, calculated, or controlled.


Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Tributes to the Life and Work of Arthur Danto

Arthur Danto

Earlier this week we had a short post on the death of Arthur Danto, the influential philosopher and art critic. Not surprisingly, a variety of tributes to and assessments of Danto has poured forth. The following are just a few we’d like to highlight.

Akeel Bilgrami, Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy. Bilgrami gives an overview of Danto’s career along with a look back on what he meant to philosophy, art criticism, and the department of philosophy at Columbia. In this excerpt, Bilgrami identifies what made Danto’s art criticism for the Nation so extraordinary and considers his distinctiveness as a philosopher:

The special quality of Arthur’s reviews in the Nation is that they are unmistakably the writings of a philosopher, revealing often how a line or image or stone was the stimulus or the station of some idea, even sometimes of an argument. The Nation has, as a result of his essays, managed to become something of a philosophical magazine, and that is no bad thing. And conversely, in philosophy, what he managed to assert in public ways in these last thirty years was a personality that made him quite unusual, if not almost unique, among analytic philosophers —a genuinely cultured man. Not just someone grabbing every week the offerings of a prodigious metropole, but someone whose ideas and perceptions are tuned by a daily awareness of how the city and its arts have come to be what they are, and how it stands among the productions of other cities in America and the world. Culture, in Arthur’s philosophical thinking was perhaps more important than anything else, and this emerged in ways that were sometimes amusing – and appalling. I remember once how Isaac Levi and I were struck dumb when we asked him, after his visit to Calcutta, how he had managed to cope with the awful condition of its suffering, and he replied in a trice: “Oh that was nothing, you see poverty is part of the culture of Calcutta.”


Monday, October 28th, 2013

Arthur Danto, 1924-2013

Arthur DantoWe were saddened to learn of the death of Arthur Danto this past weekend.

Danto was the Johnsonian professor emeritus of philosophy at Columbia University and one of the leading art critics of the past fifty years. (Incidentally, Danto’s death occurred the same weekend as Lou Reed’s. Both men’s lives and careers were also profoundly shaped by the work of Andy Warhol.) In describing Danto’s work, Lydia Goehr, a professor of philosophy at Columbia University, was quoted as saying, “His project, really, was to tell us what art is, and he did that by looking at the art of his time. And he loved the art of his time, for its openness, and its freedom to look any way it wanted to.”

Danto was the author of some 30 books of philosophy and art criticism, most famously Beyond the Brillo Box and After the End of Art, and Columbia University Press was fortunate to publish four of his books as well as the edited collection, Action, Art, History: Engagements with Arthur C. Danto, edited by Daniel Herwitz and Michael Kelly.

Wendy Lochner, publisher for philosophy and religion, was Danto’s editor at the press and shared the following personal recollections of working with him:

Arthur Danto was one of the very first faculty members whom I met when I started at the press in 2001. He emailed me to introduce himself, and we had the first of many delightful meals together. Over the next 10 years we worked closely, preparing new editions of some of his major books, including Narration and Knowledge, Nietzsche as Philosopher, and The Philosophical Disenfranchisement of Art. He also served on the advisory board of our series Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts and was instrumental in establishing it as a leading venue for publishing in aesthetics.

Arthur was unfailingly gracious and helpful as author, reader, and friend. With his lovely wife Barbara we enjoyed more than a few elegant dinners, spiced with wit and gossip (gentle gossip!). I will never forget the brilliance and humor he exhibited in talks at APA, on campus, and in other venues.

Arthur Danto was a major figure in contemporary American philosophy. His voice will be missed. I am lucky to count him as an author, adviser, and friend.

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Images from A Little Gay History

We continue our week-long feature on A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity Across the World, by R. B. Parkinson with some images from the book, which come from the collection at the British Museum. Working backwards in time, we move from David Hockney to Egyptian Papyrus from 950 BCE.

David Hockney, In the Dull Village, 1966-7
David Hockney, In the Dull Village

Kitagawa Utamaro, Mashiba Hisayhoshi, 1804
Kitagawa Utamoro, Mashiba Hisayhoshi


Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Santiago Zabala – Out of Network: The Art of Filippo Minelli

“Minelli, by traveling to the slums of Cambodia and painting “Second Life” on its walls, is indicating the contradiction between these two worlds (advanced technological capitalism and its social detritus) — and it is also disclosing the limits imposed by these social networks. These networks, and the Internet in general, are the culmination of Being’s (human existence) replacement with beings (objects) — with the global technological organization of the world.” — Santiago Zabala

Hermeneutic CommunismThe Stone, the philosophy blog of the New York Times, recently ran a post by Santiago Zabala on the art of Italian artist Filippo Minelli. In his post, Zabala, Icrea research professor of philosophy at the University of Barcelona and coauthor of Hermeneutic Communism, intersperses powerful photos of Minelli’s work with explanations of why Minelli’s message needs to be taken seriously. We’ve excerpted some of the essay below, complete with several of the photos. Read the entire article here.


Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Imagining Mankind Beyond Earth (on Pinterest!)

Claude Piantadosi’s Mankind Beyond Earth frames space exploration as humanity’s ultimate challenge to adapt to new and extremely hostile environments. However, while Piantadosi is quite frank about the physical and financial limits of human spacefaring, his book is also brimming with examples of its potential for human creativity. Inspired by this enthusiasm (and the book’s retro cover art) we’ve put together a Pinterest Board (see below) featuring some of our favorite illustrative imaginings about travel to the stars.

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

“Philosophy has lost its way”

Rewiring the Real

This week our featured book is Rewiring the Real: In Conversation with William Gaddis, Richard Powers, Mark Danielewski, and Don DeLillo by Mark C. Taylor. Remember to enter our Book Giveaway to win a FREE copy of Rewiring the Real. Today, we have a guest post from Professor Taylor, in which he discusses Rewiring the Real, Refiguring the Spiritual, and Recovering Place, and tells why Rewiring the Real might have begun, “Philosophy has lost its way.”

“Philosophy has lost its way”
Mark C. Taylor

Rewiring the Real is the second book in a trilogy that includes Refiguring the Spiritual: Beuys, Barney, Turrell, Goldsworthy (2012), and Recovering Place: Reflections on Stone Hill (2014). Refiguring the Spiritual begins, “Art has lost its way;” Rewiring the Real might have begun, “Philosophy has lost its way.” During the latter half of the twentieth-century, art and money entered into an unholy alliance in which artists eager to cash in on new money are selling works to financiers who resell them in hedge funds and private equity funds designed for ultra-rich investors looking for new ways to “diversify their portfolios with asset-backed securities.” While artists are trying to become Wall Street players, philosophers are trying to become scientists. As their work becomes more abstract and highly specialized, philosophers become less concerned about human problems and real world issues.

For art and philosophy to recover their missions, art must become more philosophical and philosophy must become more artistic in and through a rethinking of the interrelationship of art, philosophy and religion. This will require not only a change in substance but, more important, a change in style. This is not an original idea but can be traced to the publication of Kant’s pivotal Critique of Judgment (1790). It is no exaggeration to insist that this work has directly and indirectly shaped all philosophical, theological, artistic and, indeed, cultural discussions and production for more than two centuries. Kant provided the definition of art that became normative for Modernism. During the decade of the 1790s, discussions about Kant’s critical philosophy among a remarkable group of philosophers and writers, including, inter alia, Hegel, Schelling, Schiller, Schleiermacher, Hölderlin, Novalis, and the Schlegel brothers, led to a reconfiguration of the relationship among philosophy, art and religion. While leading thinkers in the eighteenth century had interpreted religion in either epistemological or ethical terms, writers, who gathered in Jena during the seminal decade of the 1790s, reconceived religion in terms of art and aesthetics. In their works, art displaced religion as the primary means for the exploration and expression of religious and spiritual concerns. Some of philosophers who have been most influential recently – Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida – are as much artists as philosophers. But they have all remained writers, whose works are literary or even poetic. Some of the leading twentieth-century visual artists – Kandinsky, Klee, Mondrian, Malevich, Rothko, Reinhardt, Newman, Pollack – insist that art has a spiritual dimension.

Refiguring the Spiritual begins with a critique of what I describe as the “financialization of art.” What Andy Warhol is to consumer capitalism, Jeff Koons is to financial capitalism. But there is an importance difference between Andy and his epigone Jeff. While Warhol’s ironic detachment leaves the viewer uncertain whether he is criticizing or endorsing consumerism, there is no ambiguity about Koons. He eagerly endorses practices of the Wall Street wizards who pay excessive prices for eye candy intended to make them feel good. Beuys, Barney, Turrell and Goldsworthy reject this tendency in contemporary art. Each in his own way extends the preoccupations of the modern avant-garde art by drawing on different spiritual traditions (Beuys, Anthroposophy; Barney, Celtic and Masonic mythology; Turrell, Quakerism and Hopi myths and rituals; Goldsworthy, Celtic mythology). Their works are difficult and demanding – they cannot be consumed quickly but take time to appreciate. Though many of their works are expensive to create, they cannot be easily commodified. The primary purpose of their works is not to market them for a profit but to create the opportunity for the cultivation of personal and, by extension, social transformation.

Rewiring the Real extends my analysis from art to literature by analyzing one novel by four important writers: William Gaddis, The Recognitions; Richard Powers, Plowing the Dark; Mark Danielewski, House of Leaves; Don DeLillo, Underworld. Though these writers are very different, they share an appreciation for the ways in which recent technological innovations (Gaddis, electronic media and communications; Powers, virtual reality; Danielewski, Internet and World Wide Web; DeLillo, nuclear power and global financial networks) harbor a latent spirituality in an era that is too often labeled secular and posthuman. Rather than merely critically analyzing these novels, I attempt to engage the authors in a conversation that expands the inquiry beyond the boundaries each writer defines. As these writers begin to “talk” among themselves, we begin to see how their work can help readers understand the ways in which the very sense of reality is morphing in the global world of financial capitalism.

If style is substance and substance is style, then writing must change. In previous works (e.g., Imagologies: Media Philosophy, Grave Matters, Mystic Bones, Hiding, and Motel Réal: Las Vegas, Nevada), I have used different styles of writing and visual design to convey the ideas I am attempting to express. This ongoing experiment continues with this trilogy: Refiguring the Spiritual uses images and design to fashion arguments and Rewiring the Real includes accounts of some of my own artwork as well as my first attempt at writing fiction. Recovering Place will be my most ambitious experiment so far. In this multifaceted work, I take philosophy off the page by creating land art and sculpture (metal, rock, stone and bone) in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, where I live. In addition to a series of aphoristic reflections about the importance of recovering place in a world that is becoming ever more virtual, the book also includes original photographs I have taken of my art in its natural setting. As Kierkegaard, insisted long ago, many of the most important things in life can only be communicated indirectly. I would add to this that there are things that we can apprehend but not precisely comprehend. Through stylistic innovation and artistic design, I have attempted to create performative works that work at multiple levels to transform apprehension as well as introduce new ways of understanding the world in which we dwell.

Mark C. Taylor
Stone Hill

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Stephen Bronner, Author of Modernism at the Barricades, Takes The Page 99 Test

Modernism at the Barricades, Stephen BronnerRecently, Stephen Bronner author of Modernism at the Barricades: Aesthetics, Politics, Utopia, took The Page 99 Test. The test, thought up by Ford Maddox Ford, posits that the 99th page of a book determines the quality of a book.

Bronner expresses some skepticism about this adage but then grudgingly admits that the “page is somewhat indicative of my general enterprise”. The page in question considers the myth of the surrealist dialectic and Bronner explains how the page fits in with the book’s aims:

Modernism at the Barricades explores the interplay between aesthetics, philosophy, and politics in the major avant-garde movements that marked the first three decades of the twentieth century. I mostly focus on figures who reflected that intersection. Andre Breton was one of them. The guiding force of surrealism, he was also a seminal figure of modernism. My engagement with him as a thinker and the philosophical pretensions of surrealism is critical in character. But that is the case for the book as a whole insofar as it seeks to reinterpret modernism with an eye on its legacy for our time and contemporary cultural politics.”

For more on the book, you can browse it using Google Preview or read the introduction in its entirety.

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Henry Kissinger Exposed and More from The New York Times Op-ed Page

Now available in paper, All the Art That’s Fit to Print (And Some that Wasn’t): Inside The New York Times Op-Ed Page, by Jerelle Kraus, reveals the crucial role that art work has played in establishing the Times‘s op-ed page as such a force. (For more information including a gallery of many of the images found in the book you can visit jerellekraus.com.)

The paperback edition includes a new cover which includes an infamous nude picture of Henry Kissinger’s back (and more) with a map of Southeast Asia. The David Levine image was commissioned by the New York Times who ultimately decided to “kill” the art deeming it too risky:

Henry Kissinger, Jerelle Kraus

Here are some sample images from the book:


Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Columbia University Press Authors at dOCUMENTA 13


The eagerly anticipated art fair dOCUMENTA 13, held every five years, opens on June 9 in Kassel, Germany. dOCUMENTA has become one of the biggest art events in the world but also includes “other objects and experiments in the fields of art, politics, literature, philosophy, and science.

For the Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev,

dOCUMENTA (13) is dedicated to artistic research and forms of imagination that explore commitment, matter, things, embodiment, and active living in connection with, yet not subordinated to, theory and epistemological closures…. Participants of dOCUMENTA (13) come from a range of fields of activity…. They contribute to dOCUMENTA (13) that aims to explore how different forms of knowledge lie at the heart of the active exercise of re-imagining the world. What some of these participants do, and what they “exhibit” in dOCUMENTA (13), may or may not be art. However, their acts, gestures, thoughts, and knowledges produce and are produced by circumstances that are readable by art, aspects that art can cope with and absorb.

A number of Columbia University Press authors will have their work represented or will be present, including:

Irina Aristarkhova, author of the forthcoming Hospitality of the Matrix: Philosophy, Biomedicine, and Culture.

Judith Butler, author of several titles, including the forthcoming Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism

Kenneth Goldsmith, author of Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age

Catherine Malabou, author of Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing: Dialectic, Destruction, Deconstruction

Christoph Menke, author of Tragic Play: Irony and Theater from Sophocles to Beckett