critical writing tools

A post script list of books to Thinking practices edition 0910, focused on critical  writing tools, to include in next year’s edition of the module.

Sylvan Barnet: a short guide to writing about art (10th ed )

book overview:

This best-selling text has guided tens of thousands of art students through the writing process.  Students are shown how to analyze pictures (drawings, paintings, photographs), sculptures and architecture, and are prepared with the tools they need to present their ideas through effective writing.

Thomas Patin and  Jennifer Mclerran: a glossary of contemporary art theory

book overview:

Defining over 400 terms and phrases that have recently entered discourse on the visual arts, this is the first reference book specializing in explaining and applying theoretical terminology in contemporary art. Since the early 1970s, the vocabulary used to discuss visual art has expanded radically, leaving many teachers, students, artists, and critics without the accurate definitions necessary for fruitful discourse on contemporary culture. This glossary not only serves as a dictionary but as a guide to current theory and criticism of visual art and culture. Terms can be accessed alphabetically or thematically; the significant cross referencing makes this an easy dictionary to use. Many contemporary art terms have been borrowed from other disciplines or are traditionally employed in the visual arts but have been adapted for use in the contemporary art world and have therefore been assigned specific or specialized applications. These loan terms have increased the likelihood for confusion between old and new definitions, so where possible the authors have applied the terms to works of art or some aspect of visual culture. Most art glossaries and dictionaries concentrate primarily on artistic production in the visual arts–movements, styles, and names. As a complement to these types of works, this glossary of theoretical terms is essential for anyone studying contemporary visual arts and visual culture in general.

Robert Nelson and Richard Cchiff: critical terms for art history

book overview:

“Art” has always been contested terrain, whether the object in question is a medieval tapestry or Duchamp’s Fountain. But questions about the categories of “art” and “art history” acquired increased urgency during the 1970s, when new developments in critical theory and other intellectual projects dramatically transformed the discipline. The first edition of Critical Terms for Art History both mapped and contributed to those transformations, offering a spirited reassessment of the field’s methods and terminology.  Each essay explains and comments on a single term, discussing the issues the term raises and putting the term into practice as an interpretive framework for a specific work of art. For example, Richard Shiff discusses “Originality” in Vija Celmins’s To Fix the Image in Memory, a work made of eleven pairs of stones, each consisting of one “original” stone and one painted bronze replica. In addition to the twenty-two original essays, this edition includes nine new ones: performance, style, memory/monument, body, beauty, ugliness, identity, visual culture/visual studies, and social history of art as well as new introductory material.

Hillary Robinson: feminism-art-theory: an anthology 1968-2000

Book overview:

Charting over 30 years of feminist debate on the significance of gender in the making and understanding of art, this archival anthology gathers together 99 indicative texts from North America, Europe and Australasia. The volume embraces a broad range of threads and perspectives, from diverse ethnic approaches, lesbian theory, and postmodernism to education and aesthetics. The writings of artists and activists are juxtaposed with those of academics, creating an entertaining and provocative web of ideas. Some of the texts are now regarded as classic, but the anthology is particularly notable for its inclusion of rare and significant material not reprinted elsewhere. The scale and structure of the volume make it a uniquely flexible resource for study and research. Each of the nine sections focuses on a specific area of debate and is introduced by a descriptive summary. The texts within each chapter are then presented in chronological order, indexing differing positions as they developed over time. Lists of essential reading are provided for students or lay readers seeking an introduction, whilst more extensive bibliographies at the end of each chapter and at the end of the volume support further research.

Susan Bee, Mira Schor: M/E/A/N/I/N/G: An Anthology of Artists’ Writings, Theory, and Criticism

Book overview:

M/E/A/N/I/N/G brings together essays and commentary by over a hundred artists, critics, and poets, culled from the art magazine of the same name. The editors-artists Susan Bee and Mira Schor-have selected the liveliest and most provocative pieces from the maverick magazine that bucked commercial gallery interests and media hype during its ten-year tenure (1986-96) to explore visual pleasure with a culturally activist edge. With its emphasis on artists’ perspectives of aesthetic and social issues, this anthology provides a unique opportunity to enter into the fray of the most hotly contested art issues of the past few decades: the visibility of women artists, sexuality and the arts, censorship, art world racism, the legacies of modernism, artists as mothers, visual art in the digital age, and the rewards and toils of a lifelong career in art. The stellar cast of contributing artists and art writers includes Nancy Spero, Richard Tuttle, David Humphrey, Thomas McEvilley, Laura Cottingham, Johanna Drucker, David Reed, Carolee Schneemann, Whitney Chadwick, Robert Storr, Leon Golub, Charles Bernstein, and Alison Knowles. This compelling and theoretically savvy collection will be of interest to artists, art historians, critics, and a general audience interested in the views of practising artists.
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About paula roush

I am a Lisbon-born artist based in London, UK. I am the founder of msdm, a platform for art practices that are mobile-strategies-[of]-display-[and]- mediation. It is a platform for both individual and collaborative work, shown in the context of exhibitions, publications, conferences and teaching/seminars. I work with photography, archives, found material and performance through editing strategies that investigate notions of authorship, authenticity, history and memory. I am interested in publishing as artists’ practice and as platform to explore the intersections between the roles of artist, editor and curator. My current projects look at ideas of (re) production in the work of art, resulting in publications in several formats that encompass the hand-made, the print on demand and the ebook.
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