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Arts, Volume 13, Issue 3 (June 2024) – 32 articles

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12 pages, 2243 KiB  
Article
Great-Grandmother, Grandmother, Mother, and Me: A Search for My Roots through Research-based theatre
by Mette Bøe Lyngstad
Arts 2024, 13(3), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030107 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 392
Abstract
In this article I present how I use Research-based theatre (RbT) to better comprehend my own roots, history, and multiple selves. The purpose of this research project is also for me to explore RbT before I invite my oral storytelling students to do [...] Read more.
In this article I present how I use Research-based theatre (RbT) to better comprehend my own roots, history, and multiple selves. The purpose of this research project is also for me to explore RbT before I invite my oral storytelling students to do the same. Using RbT as my central methodology, I have explored my own and others’ narratives by using an aesthetic, arts-based approach. Drama conventions used as research methods serve as a catalyst for opening up creative processes and generating a desire to dig more deeply into stories of my maternal ancestry. Full article
13 pages, 233 KiB  
Article
An Unlikely Match: Modernism and Feminism in Lynda Benglis’s Contraband
by Becky Bivens
Arts 2024, 13(3), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030106 - 8 Jun 2024
Viewed by 192
Abstract
In 1969, Lynda Benglis withdrew her large latex floor painting, Contraband, from the exhibition Anti-Illusion: Procedures/Materials. Looking beyond the logistical problems that caused Benglis to pull the work, I suggest that it challenged the conceptual and formal parameters of the exhibition [...] Read more.
In 1969, Lynda Benglis withdrew her large latex floor painting, Contraband, from the exhibition Anti-Illusion: Procedures/Materials. Looking beyond the logistical problems that caused Benglis to pull the work, I suggest that it challenged the conceptual and formal parameters of the exhibition from its inception. Taking hints from feminism, modernist painting, camp aesthetics, psychedelic imagery, pop, and minimalism, Benglis’s latex pours unify an array of movements, styles, and political positions that have often been treated as antithetical. Although the refusal of traditional binaries was typical of the neo-avant-garde, Benglis’s work was “contraband” because it challenged the inflexible dictum that feminist art and modernist painting are mortal enemies. With Contraband, she drew on abstract expressionist techniques for communicating feeling by exploiting the dialectic of spontaneity and order in Pollock’s drip paintings. Simultaneously, she drew attention to gender through sexed-up colors and materials. Rather than suggesting that gender difference is repressed by abstract expressionist painting’s false universalizing, Benglis shows that modernist techniques for communicating feeling are crucial for the feminist project of understanding the public significance of seemingly private experience. Full article
32 pages, 34153 KiB  
Article
From Primal Matter to Surrogate Veneer: Wood and Faux Bois in Picasso’s Cubism
by Christine Poggi
Arts 2024, 13(3), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030105 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 380
Abstract
In the spring and summer of 1906, while visiting the rural village of Gósol in the Spanish Pyrenees, Picasso executed his first woodcut, made two sculptures out of boxwood, and began to focus on the topoi of wood and the forest as avatars [...] Read more.
In the spring and summer of 1906, while visiting the rural village of Gósol in the Spanish Pyrenees, Picasso executed his first woodcut, made two sculptures out of boxwood, and began to focus on the topoi of wood and the forest as avatars of primal matter and of that which lies beyond civilization. In a subsequent series of paintings, he used wooden supports for images that depict male and female heads that look as if they had been chiseled out of wood. Others represent nude figures in forest settings, with explicitly sexual gestures and poses connoting a range of attitudes. These little studied works provide an optic into Picasso’s early exploration of the emergence of sexual identity as an inner psychic state, but one whose signs can be read through the body. Later, responding to the proliferation of cheap, industrially produced materials, including trompe l’oeil woodgrain wallpaper, Picasso began to treat woodgrain as a mere surrogate, one that marks its distance from actual wood through a variety of painterly and mechanical effects. No longer associated with “primitive” authenticity and the primordial forces of the forest, woodgrain now appears as a false sign open to conceptual play and metamorphosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Picasso Studies (50th Anniversary Edition))
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5 pages, 178 KiB  
Editorial
Introduction for Special Issue “Rethinking Contemporary Latin American Art”
by Gabriela Germana Roquez and Lesley A. Wolff
Arts 2024, 13(3), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030104 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 274
Abstract
Today’s fleeting spectacles—art fairs, biennials, and NFTs—continue to shape a global consensus about contemporary Latin American art based on practices developed in urban, white, and mestizo middle- and upper-class contexts [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rethinking Contemporary Latin American Art)
20 pages, 11881 KiB  
Article
Sex, Sign, Subversion: Symbolist Art and Male Homosexuality in 19th-Century Europe
by Ty Vanover
Arts 2024, 13(3), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030103 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 302
Abstract
There is something queer about Symbolism. Art historians have long acknowledged the links between Symbolist aesthetics and contemporaneous ideas about human sexuality, and even a cursory examination of artworks by male Symbolist artists working across the continent reveals an eyebrow-raising number of muscled [...] Read more.
There is something queer about Symbolism. Art historians have long acknowledged the links between Symbolist aesthetics and contemporaneous ideas about human sexuality, and even a cursory examination of artworks by male Symbolist artists working across the continent reveals an eyebrow-raising number of muscled nudes, lithe ephebes, and intimate male couplings. The sensual male body could register the artist’s erotic desire, even as he put it forth as an idealized emblem of transcendental truth. But perhaps Symbolism’s queerness extended beyond subject matter. Scholars have argued that Symbolism was in part defined by a subversive approach to visual semiotics: a severing—we might say a queering—of the ties binding a sign to its established cultural meaning. Similarly, male homosexual subcultures were sustained by endowing established signs and pictures with a uniquely queer significance. This paper seeks to tease out the relationship between Symbolist aesthetics and male homosexuality in terms of a shared sensibility towards pictorial interpretation. Taking as a case study the work of the Swedish Symbolist artist Eugène Jansson, I argue that Symbolism held appeal for homosexual artists precisely because queer subcultures were primed to read subversive meaning into normative pictures. Offering a new reading of Symbolism’s sexual valences, I contextualize the movement’s attendant artworks within the broader cultural landscape of homosexual signs and symbols and articulate the parallels between Symbolist approaches to the image and queer modes of seeing in the late nineteenth century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Queerness in 18th- and 19th-Century European Art and Visual Culture)
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22 pages, 8805 KiB  
Article
“Lost in Flowers & Foolery”: A Gendered Reading of the 9th Earl of Devon’s Flower Watercolors
by James Thomas Stewart
Arts 2024, 13(3), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030102 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 561
Abstract
William Courtenay, 3rd Viscount Courtenay and 9th Earl of Devon (1768–1835), has been most remembered for his romantic relationship with author and slave owner, William Beckford (1760–1844), which scandalized London society in 1784. However, the 9th Earl’s life after this event has received [...] Read more.
William Courtenay, 3rd Viscount Courtenay and 9th Earl of Devon (1768–1835), has been most remembered for his romantic relationship with author and slave owner, William Beckford (1760–1844), which scandalized London society in 1784. However, the 9th Earl’s life after this event has received little attention despite his artistic contributions to the built environment of his ancestral home of Powderham Castle in Devon. In the 1790s, he created a series of flower watercolors on paper and cabinets under the supervision of his drawing master, William Marshall Craig (c.1765–1827). These artworks complicate ideas about gendered expectations of amateur artistic subjects, with flower painting being largely understood as a feminine accomplishment. This article explores the Earl’s watercolors in the context of the spaces at Powderham to argue they are evidence of his effeminate behavior and participation in female activities alongside his thirteen sisters. The association of these objects with a man attracted to those of his own sex contribute to studies of queerness, amateur art, and the country house in the late eighteenth century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Queerness in 18th- and 19th-Century European Art and Visual Culture)
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26 pages, 9685 KiB  
Essay
Affect and Ethics in Mike Malloy’s Insure the Life of an Ant
by Gerald Silk
Arts 2024, 13(3), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030101 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 166
Abstract
This essay examines a little-known but important installation entitled Insure the Life of an Ant, conceived by artist Mike Malloy and displayed at the O.K. Harris Gallery in New York in April of 1972. This provocative and idiosyncratic piece confronted gallery-goers, who [...] Read more.
This essay examines a little-known but important installation entitled Insure the Life of an Ant, conceived by artist Mike Malloy and displayed at the O.K. Harris Gallery in New York in April of 1972. This provocative and idiosyncratic piece confronted gallery-goers, who became viewer–participants, with the option of killing or saving a live ant displayed like a sculpture on a pedestal, either by pushing a button or not. The artist made the piece, which can function almost like a psychology experiment, to engender a “moral dilemma”. I explore the particular role of affect in a participatory art installation, distinct from response to inanimate art. I investigate the roles of emotion and reason in dealing with the work; whether ratiocination can be considered an “anti-affect”; and how the tension between competing thoughts and feelings helped create a psychological drama. The essay looks at how an art space can operate as a zone of moral exceptionalism to encourage questionable actions. It also locates the piece in relation to the emergence of a more behaviorist art in the early 1970s, as discussed by critic Gregory Battcock, and the larger notion of postmodernism. Other contexts investigated include art and animal rights and issues of sentience and speciesism; social and military violence, including capital punishment and the Vietnam War; the 1961 Milgram experiment; Hannah Arendt’s concept of the “banality of evil” as a Nazi war criminal defense; and other works of art involving maltreatment or violence toward both human and non-human animals, including those by Marina Abramović, Marco Evaristti, and Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Affective Art)
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15 pages, 4528 KiB  
Article
Freeport as a Hub in the Art Market: Shanghai Art Freeport
by Fanyu Zhang
Arts 2024, 13(3), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030100 - 31 May 2024
Viewed by 216
Abstract
With the soaring interest in art as an alternative investment approach and an asset class, there has been a remarkable rise in the volume of artwork transactions globally. However, trading in the art market differs from the traditional financial market; the cost of [...] Read more.
With the soaring interest in art as an alternative investment approach and an asset class, there has been a remarkable rise in the volume of artwork transactions globally. However, trading in the art market differs from the traditional financial market; the cost of taxes, logistics, storage, and other transaction services is enormous for collectors, stimulating the emergence of related businesses, such as warehousing, bonded exhibitions, and art financial services. As an exceptional area serving the offshore economy, art freeports have become an essential venue for art trading and a ‘one-stop-shop’ centre that converges all art market participants. This article critically analyses the current literature and conducts empirical research on Shanghai FTZ International Culture Investment and Development Co., Ltd. (FTZART). It can be concluded that the current research on art freeports is limited and excludes FTZART from those that specialise in storing artworks, overlooking its potential influence in the Asian market. The art freeport has distinctive features that differ from traditional freeport models, and the context, business model, and operations of FTZART match these characteristics. Therefore, as a hub in the art market, the global art freeport agenda should not overlook FTZART, and it is essential to complement this gap in knowledge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art Market)
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15 pages, 4546 KiB  
Article
Dialogues between Past and Present? Modern Art, Contemporary Art Practice, and Ancient Egypt in the Museum
by Alice Stevenson
Arts 2024, 13(3), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030099 - 30 May 2024
Viewed by 190
Abstract
Whenever twentieth-century modern art or new contemporary artworks are included amongst displays of ancient Egypt, press statements often assert that such juxtapositions are ‘surprising’, ‘innovative’, and ‘fresh’, celebrating the external perspective they bring to such collections. But contemporary art’s relationship with museums and [...] Read more.
Whenever twentieth-century modern art or new contemporary artworks are included amongst displays of ancient Egypt, press statements often assert that such juxtapositions are ‘surprising’, ‘innovative’, and ‘fresh’, celebrating the external perspective they bring to such collections. But contemporary art’s relationship with museums and other disciplines needs to be understood in a longer-term perspective. Pairings of twentieth- and twenty-first-century artistic works with objects of antiquity is an activity that has been undertaken for more than a century in what has been a relatively long period of mutually reinforcing influences between modern/contemporary art, museum display, the art market, and Egyptian heritage. Together, they have decontextualised ancient Egyptian culture and shaped the language and perspectives of scholars, curators, and artists. In this paper, rather than considering how artists have been inspired by ancient Egypt, I will give a few examples of how more recent art practices from the late nineteenth century onwards have impacted the language and discourse of Egyptology and its museum representation. Then, using more recent artist engagements with the British Museum, I argue for greater interdisciplinary dialogues between artists and Egyptologists, as both take more critical stances towards research that recontextualises the power and agency of collections, representation, and knowledge production. Full article
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11 pages, 3315 KiB  
Article
Leaving the “Discomfort” Zone: The Correlation between Politics and New Artistic Practices at the Beginning of the 19th Dynasty
by Gema Menéndez
Arts 2024, 13(3), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030098 - 30 May 2024
Viewed by 358
Abstract
At the end of the Amarna Period, a process of political and religious restoration began. This attempt at recovery went beyond the strictly official, as the Egyptian society seemed to demand a moral reparation. It was a much-needed change that would encompass all [...] Read more.
At the end of the Amarna Period, a process of political and religious restoration began. This attempt at recovery went beyond the strictly official, as the Egyptian society seemed to demand a moral reparation. It was a much-needed change that would encompass all aspects of society and it was imperative that the changes be visible. It is for this reason that visual art would be one of the main means of communication. The artistic image was the propaganda necessary to reconstruct historical memory and religious sentiment. This was most evident in the early years of the 19th dynasty, when, in addition, the need to legitimize the new royal lineage was reflected in private tombs. The Egyptian artist used art to visually consolidate these changes, and the owner of the tomb was keen to do so. This article aims to analyze the artistic changes, mainly in the private sphere, that occurred in funerary art in opposition to the religious changes that had been made during the Amarna Period and that were most evident from the reign of Horemheb until the first half of the reign of Ramesses II. Politics and art intermingled at a time when reconstructing the past and the relationship with divinity was an urgent necessity. Full article
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15 pages, 3879 KiB  
Article
Modernist Antagonisms and Material Reciprocities: Chase-Riboud’s Albino
by Elyse Speaks
Arts 2024, 13(3), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030097 - 29 May 2024
Viewed by 321
Abstract
This paper considers the material exchange initiated in the early sculptural practice of Barbara Chase-Riboud when she began to incorporate fiber into her bronze sculptures by looking closely at her 1972 work, The Albino. I suggest that Chase-Riboud staked a claim for [...] Read more.
This paper considers the material exchange initiated in the early sculptural practice of Barbara Chase-Riboud when she began to incorporate fiber into her bronze sculptures by looking closely at her 1972 work, The Albino. I suggest that Chase-Riboud staked a claim for sculpture as a symbolic site at which material knowledge might be transferred across time and space. The work’s negotiations open western sculptural practice to a hybridized form located within transhistorical associations that rework the alleged specificities of both craft and bronze into sites for the exchange of ideas and practices. Full article
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16 pages, 300 KiB  
Article
Transcultural Appropriation and Aesthetic Breakthrough of Hollywood Film Noir in Contemporary Taiwan Suspense Thriller Films: A Case Study of Who Killed Cock Robin (2017)
by Xinchen Zhu
Arts 2024, 13(3), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030096 - 28 May 2024
Viewed by 632
Abstract
The production of suspense thriller films has recently surged in Taiwan. These films adopt narrative techniques and visual aesthetics reminiscent of classic and neo-noir Hollywood cinema but also address social issues in Taiwan and represent transcultural aesthetic appropriation of film noir. This article [...] Read more.
The production of suspense thriller films has recently surged in Taiwan. These films adopt narrative techniques and visual aesthetics reminiscent of classic and neo-noir Hollywood cinema but also address social issues in Taiwan and represent transcultural aesthetic appropriation of film noir. This article employs a case study approach to examine the narrative and visual style of the Taiwanese suspense thriller Who Killed Cock Robin (2017), using film narratology as a textual analytical framework. This study considers themes, characters, visual style, and narrative structures, focusing on fundamental characteristics of classic film noir and neo-noir. This study reveals that the selected film both appropriates and deviates from the aesthetics of Hollywood film noir. It effectively incorporates aesthetic elements from classic Hollywood film noir and neo-noir, enriching the intricacies of storytelling and character depiction, while also localizing them through complex narrative strategies and nuanced Taiwanese cultural and social elements. The film brings attention to several prevalent issues in Taiwan’s media landscape, including truth manipulation, sensationalism, tabloidization, and conglomerate and political control. The film portrays Yi-Chi as a morally compromised character embodying the detective archetype with classic noir traits, while also reflecting the “Eastern mentality” in Taiwan journalism. Despite his moral compromises, Yi-Chi partly retains traditional virtues, presenting a nuanced view of human nature that blends pessimism and optimism in Taiwan. This approach creates a distinct cross-cultural narrative that resonates emotionally with Taiwanese audiences, while also contributing to the broader global cinematic discourse on film noir. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chinese-Language and Hollywood Cinemas)
21 pages, 16051 KiB  
Article
Royal Tamga Signs and Their Significance for the Epigraphic Culture of the Bosporan Kingdom
by Michał Halamus
Arts 2024, 13(3), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030095 - 27 May 2024
Viewed by 405
Abstract
This article examines the phenomenon of the so-called royal tamga signs issued on stone stelae in the Bosporan Kingdom in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE. Tamgas were symbols commonly used by Eurasian nomads throughout the first millennium BCE. The appearance of tamgas [...] Read more.
This article examines the phenomenon of the so-called royal tamga signs issued on stone stelae in the Bosporan Kingdom in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE. Tamgas were symbols commonly used by Eurasian nomads throughout the first millennium BCE. The appearance of tamgas in the northern shores of the Black Sea in the 2nd/1st BCE, followed by their adoption into the Greek epigraphic culture of the kingdom, represents an intriguing example of symbolic integration and another step in the formation of Bosporan culture. Research on cultural interactions between the inhabitants of the Bosporus has rarely focused on epigraphic material in its own right. Analyzing a small group of public stone slabs that feature tamgas, this article contributes to existing studies on numerous private funerary reliefs. Furthermore, the current work aims to incorporate several examples of stelae with royal tamga signs into the growing interest in syncretism, which is occurring in other epigraphic cultures of the Greco-Roman world. The case of the Bosporan Kingdom shows that such processes can also occur in places where no literate culture had previously been firmly established. Full article
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29 pages, 28705 KiB  
Article
Escaping from Confinement: Hell Imagery in the Shōjuraigōji Rokudō-e Scrolls
by Zhenru Zhou
Arts 2024, 13(3), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030094 - 24 May 2024
Viewed by 389
Abstract
This article explores the pictorial representation of the Buddhist hell in Kamakura (1185–1333) Japan, with a focus on a mid-thirteenth century rokudō-e, or Pictures of the Six Realms, preserved at Shōjuraigōji Temple. The examination revolves around how these scroll paintings convey messages [...] Read more.
This article explores the pictorial representation of the Buddhist hell in Kamakura (1185–1333) Japan, with a focus on a mid-thirteenth century rokudō-e, or Pictures of the Six Realms, preserved at Shōjuraigōji Temple. The examination revolves around how these scroll paintings convey messages of salvation by representing the symbolic architecture of the hell realm, the lowest level within the six realms. By scrutinizing the visual representation of hell landscapes in four hell scrolls in the Shōjuraigōji set, the study unveils the architectural symbolism of boundaries and pathways. A visual analysis of two hell-tearing narrative scrolls further reveals that the key iconography involves the destruction of the architectural symbols of hell. Through tracing the concurrent processes of constructing and destroying the imaginary space of hell, the study demonstrates that the conceptual and visual construction of hell is coupled with an equally pronounced intent for hell-tearing. Lastly, based on the visuality of the hell-escaping narratives, the medium of hanging scrolls, and the centrality of an Enma scroll within the Shōjuraigōji set, the author proposes a spatial arrangement of this set of fifteen scrolls that could systematically convey the visual massage of “escaping from suffering in the six courses”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materializing Death and the Afterlife in Afro-Eurasian Art)
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22 pages, 10267 KiB  
Article
Images as a Hint to the Other World: The Use of Images as Mediators in Medieval and Early Modern Societies
by Roger Ferrer-Ventosa
Arts 2024, 13(3), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030093 - 22 May 2024
Viewed by 445
Abstract
The Middle Ages and Early Modern periods saw the interpretation of reality through symbols, connecting the natural world to the divine using symbolic thinking and images. The idea of a correspondence between the human and universal macrocosm was prominent in various fields such [...] Read more.
The Middle Ages and Early Modern periods saw the interpretation of reality through symbols, connecting the natural world to the divine using symbolic thinking and images. The idea of a correspondence between the human and universal macrocosm was prominent in various fields such as medicine, philosophy, and religion. Symbolism played a crucial role in approaching divine matters, with symbols serving as a means of direct presence and embodiment. Plato’s influence on Neoplatonist and Hermetic thinkers emphasized the role of dreams and eidola (images) for interpreting the divine. Contemplation of art and nature was an epistemological tool, seeking hidden cosmic harmony and understanding. Christianity embraced worshiping images as representations of the divine, granting believers a way to understand religious concepts. Icons were considered mirrors reflecting the spiritual and divine aspects. The medieval concept of speculum books as mirrors containing all knowledge offered instructional and subjective insights on various subjects. Speculum humanae salvationis illuminated books demonstrated the interplay between the Old and New Testaments, influencing artists like Rogier van der Weyden. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue History of Medieval Art)
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28 pages, 40198 KiB  
Article
The Affective Byzantine Book: Reflections on Aesthetics of Gospel Lectionaries
by Joseph R. Kopta
Arts 2024, 13(3), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030092 - 22 May 2024
Viewed by 404
Abstract
The aesthetic qualities of Byzantine Gospel Lectionaries in Middle Byzantine times, afforded by their material construction, fostered an intermedial relationship with the architectural interiors of the churches and chapels where they were used in sacred liturgies. In particular, Byzantine book makers employed discreet [...] Read more.
The aesthetic qualities of Byzantine Gospel Lectionaries in Middle Byzantine times, afforded by their material construction, fostered an intermedial relationship with the architectural interiors of the churches and chapels where they were used in sacred liturgies. In particular, Byzantine book makers employed discreet reflective materials—particularly albumen and gold—that engendered an aesthetic of liquidity. If we center materiality and aesthetic considerations of the Byzantine Gospel Lectionary, building upon art history’s so-called “material turn”, we can come closer to understanding something of the poetry of the Byzantine manuscript as part of an affective experience—one that was shiny, shimmering, and fluid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Affective Art)
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25 pages, 5005 KiB  
Article
In Place of a Missing Place
by Noam Segal
Arts 2024, 13(3), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030091 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 433
Abstract
This essay reflects on works chosen from the Sonnenfeld Collection at the Katzen Gallery at American University in Washington, DC—it originally accompanied an exhibition at that gallery in early 2021—to comment on the observations of several generations of Israeli artists on the land [...] Read more.
This essay reflects on works chosen from the Sonnenfeld Collection at the Katzen Gallery at American University in Washington, DC—it originally accompanied an exhibition at that gallery in early 2021—to comment on the observations of several generations of Israeli artists on the land and its meaning for the culture and politics of Israel’s coming into existence and evolution during the first 70 years of its existence. Beginning with a pair of photographs of pioneers in the land in the fifteen years before statehood—and conceptually re-purposed by a contemporary Israeli artist in 2008—and moving through decade after decade of engagement with the landscape of Israel in both figurative and abstract modes, with and without humans present within these contexts, veering from brightly colored to virtually colorless images, including paintings and photographs, the essay traces a distance between earlier assertions of presence and the gradual emergence of questions regarding presence, absence, and identity. Israel, in its internal development, is both visually and thus verbally interwoven with the issue of its external relationship with its immediate neighbors and to the shifts between what comprises “internal” and “external”—”this” and “other”—as the context has metamorphosized from the 1930s to the 1950s to 1967 to 1993 to 2000 and to the present. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Middle East Art: Memory, Tradition, and Revival)
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17 pages, 18116 KiB  
Article
Symbolist Androgyny: On the Origins of a Proto-Queer Vision
by Damien F. Delille
Arts 2024, 13(3), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030090 - 20 May 2024
Viewed by 524
Abstract
This article focuses on artistic and aesthetic practices within the idealist and symbolist movements of the late 19th century in France. It investigates how artists and art critics embraced androgynous imaginaries derived from Greco-Roman antiquity and the Platonic myth, transforming them into tools [...] Read more.
This article focuses on artistic and aesthetic practices within the idealist and symbolist movements of the late 19th century in France. It investigates how artists and art critics embraced androgynous imaginaries derived from Greco-Roman antiquity and the Platonic myth, transforming them into tools for social and sexual emancipation and giving rise to a proto-queer vision. An analysis of the art of Alexandre Séon, Odilon Redon, Jeanne Jacquemin, and Léonard Sarluis, in conjunction with the symbolist theories of Joséphin Péladan, Gabriel-Albert Aurier, and Émile Verhaeren, reveals an idealistic pursuit grounded in the union of the masculine and the feminine through the act of creation. Through the examination of artworks, contemporary critical discourse, and the personal correspondence of these art figures, this study posits that the androgyne serves as a heuristic model for a queer art history. The ideal androgyne, as theorized in Freud’s psychoanalytic writings, can function as a methodological paradigm in art studies as a tool for visualizing and conceptualizing homosexuality in art. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Queerness in 18th- and 19th-Century European Art and Visual Culture)
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22 pages, 7715 KiB  
Article
Reading Cisheteronormativity into the Art Historical Archives
by Kirstin Ringelberg
Arts 2024, 13(3), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030089 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 544
Abstract
Madeleine Lemaire (1845–1928) might appear to be a typical “woman artist” of the Belle Époque, a painter of images of fashionable women, equally popular for her watercolor flowers and her skills as a salon hostess, with biographical sketches of her then and now [...] Read more.
Madeleine Lemaire (1845–1928) might appear to be a typical “woman artist” of the Belle Époque, a painter of images of fashionable women, equally popular for her watercolor flowers and her skills as a salon hostess, with biographical sketches of her then and now assuming that if she had sex or romance, it was with men. However, a closer look has also revealed Lemaire to be potentially atypical. Unlike her women colleagues, she exhibited salacious nudes; her work was once described as having “a bit of the mustache”; and she generally dodged discussions of either her gender or her sexuality, even though her social group included those who openly flaunted their own non-conformities. Using archival materials, artworks, and contemporary theory to unpack the possibilities presented by Lemaire’s case, I also explore the gains for art history in reconsidering previously female-identified and straight-seeming artists in more fluid gender and sexual terms. What might we discover if we recognize ourselves as the constructors of a cisheteronormative past, reading into the archives the assumptions that our current culture’s binary norms enforce? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Queerness in 18th- and 19th-Century European Art and Visual Culture)
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15 pages, 3655 KiB  
Article
A German DJ, Postmodern Dreams, and the Ambivalent Politics of East–West Exchange at the First Exhibition of Approximate Art in Riga, April 1987
by Kevin C. Karnes
Arts 2024, 13(3), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030088 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 389
Abstract
Organized as part of the annual Art Days festival in the capital of the Latvian SSR, the First Exhibition of Approximate Art comprised a cacophonous and provocative mashup of music, dance, performance art, and design. At the center of the event was a [...] Read more.
Organized as part of the annual Art Days festival in the capital of the Latvian SSR, the First Exhibition of Approximate Art comprised a cacophonous and provocative mashup of music, dance, performance art, and design. At the center of the event was a demonstration of mixing and scratching records by Maximilian Lenz, also known as Westbam, one of the leading DJs in West Berlin. Mining archival sources in Berlin and Riga, this article reconstructs the complicated path by which the DJ came to perform at the event. It reveals a surprising network of relations and alliances operating in tandem behind the scenes, featuring a Riga artist dedicated to enacting a vision of postmodern performance in his city, an ambitiously networking émigré Latvian living in exile in West Germany, and a pair of Soviet offices under direct control of the KGB, charged with managing cultural exchanges with the West in hopes of currying sympathies for Soviet culture and policy. Complementing and extending research on the “gaps” and “holes” in the Soviet system that sometimes allowed for the staging of otherwise unacceptable works of art, the story of the First Exhibition of Approximate Art reveals how personal connections and interpersonal networks within even the most highly monitored parts of the system itself—the state security apparatus—could open doors for artistic projects unanticipated and even undesired by the bureaucratic state. Full article
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25 pages, 13923 KiB  
Article
The Spacetimes of the Scythian Dead: Rethinking Burial Mounds, Visibility, and Social Action in the Eurasian Iron Age and Beyond
by James A. Johnson
Arts 2024, 13(3), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030087 - 14 May 2024
Viewed by 1048
Abstract
The Eurasian Iron Age Scythians, in all their regional iterations, are known for their lavish burials found in various kinds of tumuli. These tumuli, of varying sizes, are located throughout the Eurasian steppe. Based, at least partially, on the amounts and types of [...] Read more.
The Eurasian Iron Age Scythians, in all their regional iterations, are known for their lavish burials found in various kinds of tumuli. These tumuli, of varying sizes, are located throughout the Eurasian steppe. Based, at least partially, on the amounts and types of grave goods found within these mounds, the Scythians are usually modeled as militant, patriarchal mobile pastoralists, with rigid social structures. Yet, such interpretations are also due to accounts of Scythian lifeways provided by “classical” societies from the Greeks to the Persians, who saw the Scythians largely as barbarians, much like their neighbors to the north of the Greeks, the “Celts”. Despite recent interrogations of the barbarian trope, and the opportunity to dissect the classic formula of large mounds = elevated status, I contend that many studies on Scythian mortuary practices remain monolithic and under-theorized, especially by Western scholars. Drawing upon different conceptual and methodological frameworks, I present alternative, multi-scalar understandings of Scythian mortuary landscapes. Utilizing a spacetime-oriented, dialogical approach supplemented with geographic information systems, I interrogate how and why various meanings and experiences may have intersected in these protean Scythian landscapes of the dead, rather than reducing them to monolithic symbolic proxies of ideological status. Full article
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3 pages, 471 KiB  
Correction
Correction: Bloom (2024). Jewish “Ghosts”: Judit Hersko and Susan Hiller and the Feminist Intersectional Art of Post-Holocaust Memory. Arts 13: 50
by Lisa E. Bloom
Arts 2024, 13(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030086 - 11 May 2024
Viewed by 424
Abstract
Due to a production error during processing, a number of mistakes appear in the original publication [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Articulations of Identity in Contemporary Aesthetics)
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16 pages, 7947 KiB  
Article
Scythian Jewelry Meshes and the Problem of Their Interpretation
by Oksana Lifantii
Arts 2024, 13(3), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030085 - 9 May 2024
Viewed by 597
Abstract
This article explores the phenomenon of a specific type of personal adornment worn by members of the Scythian elite in the North Black Sea region in the second half of the 5th century and throughout the 4th century BCE. The discussion juxtaposes the [...] Read more.
This article explores the phenomenon of a specific type of personal adornment worn by members of the Scythian elite in the North Black Sea region in the second half of the 5th century and throughout the 4th century BCE. The discussion juxtaposes the records from 19th-century and early 20th-century excavations with contextual analyses of very recent discoveries from Ukraine, which shed significant new light on the appearance, production, and meaning of Scythian jewelry. The reconstruction of the shape of the jewelry type in question is greatly complicated by two factors: the lack of relevant depictions in the contemporary corpus of Scythian and Greco-Scythian figure scenes and misleading scholarly references to supposed analogies in a Roman-era mosaic, which became the chief reason for the misinterpretations of the ornament’s appearance. Composed of numerous gold or gilded silver tubes; beads; pendants; and, sometimes, “buttons,” this jewelry type is reconstructed in two gender-specific variants in this article: one mesh-like and the other with a cross-chest form. For over a hundred years, scholars have considered only the mesh variant to be the correct reconstruction. As a result, many costume reconstructions of this jewelry form in specialist research and museum displays alike are still proposed without a sufficient evidentiary base. Full article
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11 pages, 4478 KiB  
Article
The Royal Chapel of Pedro I of Castile in the Christianised Mosque of Seville
by Pablo Gumiel-Campos
Arts 2024, 13(3), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030084 - 8 May 2024
Viewed by 614
Abstract
Pedro I of Castile (1350–1369) founded a royal chapel in the Christianised Mosque of Seville. He intended to house there his body, that of Queen María de Padilla, and their son the Infant Alfonso (1359–1362). This mausoleum is well documented both in the [...] Read more.
Pedro I of Castile (1350–1369) founded a royal chapel in the Christianised Mosque of Seville. He intended to house there his body, that of Queen María de Padilla, and their son the Infant Alfonso (1359–1362). This mausoleum is well documented both in the king’s will and in the chronicles of López de Ayala; however, there are no material remains as it was demolished with the construction of the new cathedral in the 15th century. In this article, we seek to produce a state of the art history of the building, a compilation of all the documentary sources that exist for its analysis, and an approach to the problems that hinder its study. We have also tried, unsuccessfully, to put forward a hypothesis about its original location, but we have come up against a dead end. Despite this, we consider it essential to lay all the cards on the table and prevent the mausoleum from falling into oblivion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue History of Medieval Art)
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12 pages, 262 KiB  
Article
Progressive Rock from the Union of Soviet Composers
by Mark Yoffe
Arts 2024, 13(3), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030083 - 7 May 2024
Viewed by 610
Abstract
This article focuses on the influence of Western progressive rock music on some innovative members of the Union of Soviet Composers, who were open to new trends and influences. These Soviet composers’ interest in progressive rock was not only intellectual, but also had [...] Read more.
This article focuses on the influence of Western progressive rock music on some innovative members of the Union of Soviet Composers, who were open to new trends and influences. These Soviet composers’ interest in progressive rock was not only intellectual, but also had serious practical implications. During the 1970s, several composers made attempts to create original works following various styles of prog rock. Occasionally, they incorporated elements of prog rock into their otherwise experimental compositions. One can see the influences of prog rock in the works of prominent composers such as A. Pärt, S. Gubaidulina, V. Martynov, V. Silvestrov, V. Artemiev, G. Kancheli, and A. Schnittke. After discussing the development of the prog rock tradition in the USSR and dwelling on the peculiarities of prog rock as a genre, I focus on three works created by Soviet composers under the influence of prog traditions: the 4th Symphony for orchestra and rhythm section by Latvian composer Imants Kalniņš, which follows the traditions of symphonic rock; an avant-garde rock opera titled “Flemish Legend” by Leningrader Romuald Grinblat, written to the lyrics by dissident bard Yulii Kim and heavily influenced by the twelve-tone system; and a suite of art-rock songs titled “On the Wave of My Memory” composed by pop composer David Tukhmanov, based on the poems of poets with a “decadent” reputation in the Soviet ideological context. All of these composers had to create within the Soviet ideological restrictions on modern and rock music, in particular, and all of them had to engage in their own trickster-like antics to produce and perform their works. Although they are little remembered today, these works stand as unexpected and singular achievements of Soviet composers during complex times. Full article
12 pages, 206 KiB  
Article
Tchaikovsky, Onegin, and the Art of Characterization
by Francis Maes
Arts 2024, 13(3), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030082 - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 676
Abstract
Tchaikovsky enjoyed composing Yevgeni Onegin. He expressed his fulfillment in a famous letter to Sergey Taneyev. What could his enthusiasm convey about the content of the project? Music criticism has taken Tchaikovsky’s words as proof for the thesis that the opera is [...] Read more.
Tchaikovsky enjoyed composing Yevgeni Onegin. He expressed his fulfillment in a famous letter to Sergey Taneyev. What could his enthusiasm convey about the content of the project? Music criticism has taken Tchaikovsky’s words as proof for the thesis that the opera is connected to autobiographical circumstances. In this mode of thinking, the quality of Tchaikovsky’s music is the result of the composer’s identification with the subject matter. Despite the objection of several Tchaikovsky scholars, the autobiographical paradigm remains very much alive in the reception of Tchaikovsky’s music. As an alternative, Tchaikovsky scholarship has explored a hermeneutical approach that would link his music to its context in Russian society and culture. In this paper, I present another possible reaction to Tchaikovsky’s statement: an exploration of the composer’s approach to musical characterization. Analysis of some key scenes reveals that the definition of characters and situations by musical means is more precise than standard interpretations of the opera would concede. This discovery may lead to a new assessment of characterization as a critical tool to refine the definition of Tchaikovsky’s position in European music history. The method may be applied to examples outside his operatic output, such as Serenade for Strings and the Fifth Symphony. Full article
15 pages, 935 KiB  
Article
Testing Textual and Territorial Boundaries in Bulat Okudzhava’s Song “And We to the Doorman: ‘Open the Doors!’”
by Alexander Zholkovsky
Arts 2024, 13(3), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030081 - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 616
Abstract
This paper contextualizes Okudzhava’s song “And We to the Doorman” (AWD), initially marginal in the Soviet poetic mainstream. It explores its shifts in tone, irregular rhythms, colloquial language, and semi-criminal undertones. AWD’s structure, with uneven stanzas and no clear refrain, reveals underlying symmetry [...] Read more.
This paper contextualizes Okudzhava’s song “And We to the Doorman” (AWD), initially marginal in the Soviet poetic mainstream. It explores its shifts in tone, irregular rhythms, colloquial language, and semi-criminal undertones. AWD’s structure, with uneven stanzas and no clear refrain, reveals underlying symmetry and recurring themes. The meter is predominantly iambic but varies. Unconventional verse endings and various rhyme schemes, including distant chains, characterize its prosody. The narrative touches on social cohesion and class conflict. The style reflects a challenging attitude toward privilege, employing rhetorical devices and indirect threats. The melody aligns with thematic elements, featuring repetitive patterns and a spoken quality. Semantically, AWD presents an ambiguous message on class struggle and moral issues. In sum, this analysis uncovers Okudzhava’s song’s formal complexities, thematic nuances, and stylistic innovations. Full article
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16 pages, 586 KiB  
Article
Was Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto a Hidden Homage?
by Marina Ritzarev
Arts 2024, 13(3), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030080 - 29 Apr 2024
Viewed by 775
Abstract
Shostakovich’s direct quotation from the Odessan street song “Bagels, Buy My Bagels!” (Bubliki, kupite bubliki!) in his Second Cello Concerto Op. 126 (1966) featured an unusual style, even in relation to some of his other compositions referencing popular and Jewish music. The song [...] Read more.
Shostakovich’s direct quotation from the Odessan street song “Bagels, Buy My Bagels!” (Bubliki, kupite bubliki!) in his Second Cello Concerto Op. 126 (1966) featured an unusual style, even in relation to some of his other compositions referencing popular and Jewish music. The song is widely known as one of the icons of the Odessa underworld. Shostakovich’s use of this melody as one of the main leit-themes of the Concerto can be compared to the use by the non-Jewish Andrei Sinyavsky of the Jewish pseudonym Abram Tertz, a bandit from the Odessa underworld—the only locus of freedom to tell the truth in a totalitarian society. The time of Shostakovich’s address to this song remarkably coincided with the famous Soviet trial of Andrei Sinyavsky and Yuly Daniel in the fall of 1965 and their final sentencing (February 1966) to years in a Gulag camp. The dramaturgy of Shostakovich’s Concerto, written in the same spring of 1966, demonstrates the transformation of the theme of “Bagels” into a tragic image. The totality of circumstantial evidence suggests that this opus could be the composer’s hidden tribute to the feats of Russian heroic writers. Full article
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16 pages, 250 KiB  
Article
Performance, Art, Institutions and Interdisciplinarity
by Rob Gawthrop
Arts 2024, 13(3), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030079 - 29 Apr 2024
Viewed by 777
Abstract
How have funding, art education, and politics affected the development of performance and interdisciplinary art? In England in particular, performance as an experimental and radical art practice developed largely from underground activities, political action and a range of art forms. Funding bodies, colleges [...] Read more.
How have funding, art education, and politics affected the development of performance and interdisciplinary art? In England in particular, performance as an experimental and radical art practice developed largely from underground activities, political action and a range of art forms. Funding bodies, colleges and art institutions eventually accommodated, albeit to a limited extent, this activity. As financial circumstances were sometimes difficult, artists often provided their own support structures and organisations. Some of these became established as they became successful. Performance art split from the theatrical and became defined as live art. In more recent times, conditions shifted again, and critical, experimental, or avant-garde theatre, film, music, etc., found refuge within contemporary art. Performance however, became increasingly confined and restricted by: the regulatory and academic requirements within universities; the need for evidence for some form of public or social purpose by funding bodies; and the increasingly hostile social and political circumstances. This research draws partly from personal experience and reflects on cultural conditions since the 1970s. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Art and Performance)
15 pages, 4575 KiB  
Article
Reflection and Refraction: Multivalent Social Realism in the Work of Joaquín Sorolla
by Rachel Vorsanger
Arts 2024, 13(3), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts13030078 - 29 Apr 2024
Viewed by 709
Abstract
Joaquin Sorolla’s Social Realist work Sad Inheritance! provides the grounds for this cross-sectional case study into Social Realism in Spain, Spanish politics at the turn of the twentieth century, and affect theory in art. By formally analyzing this work, presenting its differing receptions [...] Read more.
Joaquin Sorolla’s Social Realist work Sad Inheritance! provides the grounds for this cross-sectional case study into Social Realism in Spain, Spanish politics at the turn of the twentieth century, and affect theory in art. By formally analyzing this work, presenting its differing receptions in France and Spain, and discussing the identity crisis that Spain experienced at the end of the twentieth century, all within the frame of Jill Bennett’s conception of practical aesthetics and affect in art, this article will show how Sorolla produced an image that had differing valences of affect depending on the context in which it was viewed. Through his singular pictorial strategies, Sorolla successfully created an image that was political and sentimental, controversial and appealing, fraught with emotion, and ultimately affective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Affective Art)
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