Art History

The Face Is a Population

Thank you to Kris Cohen, author of new book Never Alone, Except for Now: Art, Networks, Populations, for today’s guest blog post.

cohen-krisApple’s design aesthetic mimics social media intimacy, so the arrival of a new Apple product can feel a lot like something blowing up on one’s Facebook feed, even if not a single person in the world actually cares. Nevertheless, the arrival of a technological capability such as facial recognition software, built into Apple’s new iPhone 8, is worth paying attention to even if it does follow the now entirely predictable commodity arc from military-funded R&D fantasy to ordinary mass consumer good. Maybe its new ordinariness means that people have become numb to it, but it always means that people now have to bargain with it in their daily lives. In the case of facial recognition software—a technology that now plays a major if sometimes shadowy role in all aspects of the security industry: border policing, population control, crime prevention—what exactly are we being made to bargain with?

Like the cameras on our phones and computers, embedded facial recognition software is one more place where the “personal” device becomes entirely porous to the corporations and governments that extract data from all devices. Try shopping for computer camera covers and you will get a sense of how deep and habitual the feeling is that the most personal devices are now the ones we control the least. The threat with a camera is quite concrete: someone is watching. The threat with facial recognition software is slightly more abstract (for some), but it exists because in order to recognize one’s face, the software has to create an open channel between our device and the massive database of faces and correlated data that make automated recognition possible (for some), but over which we have no control at all.

978-0-8223-6940-0Here we see how, in networked cultures, an intensely individualistic address is tightly laminated to a massive effort to form groups of people that can be put to work, producing value, relations, suggestions. As I say in my recent book Never Alone, Except for Now: Art, Networks, Populations, individuality in networked cultures is a kind of group form. In order to better understand individuals in relation to group form, I adapt the term population. The term comes from census technologies used for managing the resources of a nation, but also from Michel Foucault’s late work on neoliberalism. A population logic is one that addresses and organizes individuals through the informatic power of statistics, making the individual into a kind of effect, even a side effect of the population as a predictive and statistical entity. In networked cultures, populations get assembled in databases and prediction is keyed to desire: what we want to see, read, buy. Networked populations make the individual a distillate of the database, and the database an effect of the ordinary habits and activities of individuals, recorded as data. I think this is the untold story of the too-told story of the individual and individualism in contemporary American politics. And this is why populations are not the same as the masses of modernity, which always prioritized some form of unity or sameness. Facial recognition software prioritizes individuality, the quiddity of the unique face, but can only do so by participating deeply in population logics. How can we learn about such effects even as they’re being rolled out at paces and scales beyond human comprehension?

I’m an art historian as well as a media studies theorist, so one of my methods is to look to art: not art as in fine art objects magisterially pronouncing judgment upon the jumbled events of ordinary life, but art as a mode of thought about the present embodied in an encounter between more than one person, any of whom are invited to improvise a relation with one another in a scene that can work at a range of paces. On this view, art is no less mired in and impacted by the present tense than anyone else, and one can read the marks of those impacts on the work as a kind of impression of the ways the present tense shapes people, labor, environments, institutions. The artist Josh Kline would be one kind of resource for thinking about facial recognition software, as it appears so often in his work. There, the mediation of the problem is more or less direct. In this, Kline’s work offers the anchor of concrete feeling, even the prospect of a community of sorts galvanized by shared feeling.

But in the book I also think about artists whose work has no biographical or directly referential relationship to the networked technologies I study (performance artist Sharon Hayes and installation artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres). But as facial recognition software shows so graphically, one of the most distinctive features of networked technologies is that they are distributive by nature, automating the extraction of data from gestures, from movements through streets, from things we say out loud and in print, from our very facial expressions. So we need better resources for thinking about that kind of spread, in which literally nothing doesn’t bear the imprint—maybe slight, maybe bruising, maybe overt, often subliminal or subdermal—of networked technologies. Working between media technologies and works of art that often seem to operate at some distance from those technologies helps me to sense some of these more distributed and deeply encoded impacts.

Facial recognition technology fundamentally, even physically, changes what faces are. Think about that next time you encounter faces such as those in the paintings of Kehinde Wiley, Chuck Close, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Henry Taylor, or Amy Sillman; in the early videos or late paintings of Sadie Benning; or even in the massive public works of Julie Mehretu, which contain no faces, but then neither do the circuits that connect our phones with the populations of people that allow phones to discern a single face out of millions, a face we might once have called our own.

Read the introduction to Kris Cohen’s Never Alone, Except for Now free online, then pick up the paperback for 30% off—just use coupon code E17COHEN at dukeupress.edu.

New Books in August

We hope you’re enjoying your summer! Our fall list is now in full swing with lots of new books to check out in August.

LazarreIn her memoir, The Communist and the Communist’s DaughterJane Lazarre tells the fascinating history of her father Bill, a radical activist who, as part of his tireless efforts to create a better world for his family, held leadership positions in the American Communist Party, fought in the Spanish Civil War, and organized labor unions.

In The Look of a Woman, Eric Plemons explores the ways in which facial feminization surgery is changing the ways in which trans- women are not only perceived of as women, but in the ways it is altering the project of surgical sex reassignment and the understandings of what sex means.

Jason Dittmer, in Diplomatic Material, applies new materialism to international relations and offers a counterintuitive reading of foreign policy by tracing the ways that complex interactions between people and things shape the decisions and actions of diplomats and policymakers.
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Dexter Zavalza Hough-Snee and Alexander Sotelo Eastman’s collection, The Critical Surf Studies Reader, is an innovative exploration of the history and culture of surfing that recasts wave-riding as a complex cultural practice and reclaims the forgotten roles that women, indigenous peoples, and peoples of color have played in the its evolution.

In Disturbing Attachments, Kadji Amin challenges the idealization of Jean Genet as a paradigmatic figure within queer studies to illuminate the methodological dilemmas at the heart of queer theory, bringing the genealogy of Genet’s imaginaries of attachment to bear on pressing issues within contemporary queer politics and scholarship, including prison abolition, homonationalism, and pinkwashing.

art1Nicholas De Genova’s The Borders of “Europe” examines the perceptions of the staggering refuge and migration crisis in Europe, demonstrating how it stems from migrants exercising their right to the freedom of movement, leads states to create new technologies of regulating human movement, and prompts the questioning of the very idea of Europe.

In Vibrator Nation, Lynn Comella tells the fascinating history of how feminist sex-toy stores such as Eve’s Garden, Good Vibrations and Babeland raised sexual consciousness, redefined the adult industry, provided educational and community resources, and changed the way sex was talked about, had, and enjoyed.

Alexandra Chang’s catalog, Circles and Circuits—which examines Chinese Caribbean art in Cuba, Trinidad, Jamaica, and Panama—accompanies the exhibition, Circles and Circuits: Chinese Caribbean Art, presented in two parts: History and Art of the Chinese Caribbean Diaspora at the California African American Museum from September 15, 2017 through February 25, 2018, and Contemporary Chinese Caribbean Art at the Chinese American Museum from September 15, 2017 through March 11, 2018.

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Tatiana Flores and Michelle Ann Stephens’ Relational Undercurrents accompanies an exhibition by the same name that opens at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California in September, 2017. The exhibition and edited volume call attention to the artistic production of the Caribbean islands and their diasporas, challenging the conventional geographic and conceptual boundaries of Latin America.

Both exhibitions, Circles and Circuits and Relational Undercurrents, are part of the Pacific Standard Time Art Project. 

The largely unknown story of the FBI’s surveillance operations in Latin America during the 1940s is the topic of Marc Becker’s The FBI in Latin America. He provides new insights into leftist organizations and the nature of the U.S.’s imperial ambitions in the western hemisphere.

Ambassadors of the Working ClassIn Ambassadors of the Working Class, Ernesto Semán tells the story of Argentina’s diplomatic worker attachés dispatched to further Peronism, organized labor became a crucial aspect in defining democracy and perceptions of social justice, freedom, and sovereignty in the Americas.

Kojin Karatani’s Isomania and the Origins of Philosophy questions the canonical glorification of philosophy and democracy in ancient Athens by placing Western philosophy’s origins in Ionia, a set of Greek colonies located in present-day Turkey that practiced isonomia—a system based on non-rule and a lack of social divisions whereby equality is realized through individual freedom.

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Explore the Artists of Jessica Horton’s Art for an Undivided Earth


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In Art for an Undivided Earth: The American Indian Movement Generation, Jessica L. Horton explores how the artists of the American Indian Movement (AIM) generation remapped the spatial, temporal, and material coordinates of modernity by placing colonialism’s displacement of indigenous people, objects, and worldviews at the center of their work. Inspired to see the work Horton discusses in person? Read on to learn more about the artists and where their art is on display.

Jimmie Durham

Jimmie Durham (born 1940 in Washington, Arkansas) is an activist, sculptor, essayist, and poet whose works are held in major collections around the globe. In Art for an Undivided Earth, Jessica Horton explains: “Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Durham exhibited alongside, collaborated with, and wrote about the work of fellow indigenous artists. He profoundly impacted a discourse about Native American art and settler colonialism long after he moved to Mexico in 1987 and to Europe in 1994, at which time he cut his ties to U.S. institutions.”  A highly-anticipated retrospective of Durham’s work downloadbegan at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles in January 2017; it is now on display at the Walker Art Center  in Minneapolis, and later heads to The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Remai Modern in Saskatoon.

 

James Luna

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James Luna (born 1950 in Orange, California) is a Payómkawichum and Mexican-American artist known for his photography, performance art, and multimedia installations. According to Horton, “Luna’s work culminated a decade of curatorial efforts in the United States and Canada to enhance the visibility of Native artists at the Venice Biennale, the oldest and some say most prestigious art exhibition in the world.” Luna’s corpus of work is displayed on his website; the site also provides videos of his performance art. You can view Luna’s work, including his famous piece “Half Indian/Half Mexican,” in person by visiting the Denver Art Museum’s American Indian Collection.

Fred Kabotie

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Fred Kabotie (1900-1986) was a Hopi artist best known for his painting, silverwork, illustrations, and pottery. In Art for an Undivided Earth, Horton points out that Kabotie “painted social and ceremonial dances from memory as government-imposed education and widespread bans on ritual practices aimed to transform Native bodies into productive labor for the U.S. economy in the first decades of the twentieth century.” Within Kabotie’s early works, Horton notes, this reveals “a persistent concern with maintaining Hopi sensibilities amid displacement.” Fred Kabotie’s work can be found in the Great Plains Art Museum’s Patricia J. and Stanley H. Broder Collection, the Albuquerque Museum’s permanent collection, and a current exhibit, “Spirit of Creation,” also at the Albuquerque Museum.

Kay Walkingstick

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Kay WalkingStick (born 1935 in Syracuse, NY) is a landscape artist whose later paintings often incorporate patterns from Native American pottery and rugs. These landscapes are particularly remarkable because, as Horton emphasizes, “Walkingstick’s artistic practice refuses a logic of difference that lingered in late twentieth-century debates about modernist primitivism, the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, and the Columbus Quincentennial, by forging affective bonds with white artistic predecessors.” Her work is in the collections of museums around the globe, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York and the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. A retrospective of Walkingstick’s work, “Kay Walkingstick: An American Artist,” will travel to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo MI, the Gilcrease Art Museum, Tulsa OK, and the Montclair Art Museum, Montclair NJ, during 2017 and 2018. If you can’t make it to one of these museums, Walkingstick’s work is also displayed digitally on her website.

Robert Houle

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Robert Houle is a Saulteaux First Nations Canadian artist, critic, and curator who has worked to unify First Nations contemporary artists with the larger Canadian art scene. In Art for an Undivided Earth, Horton explains that Houle’s mixed-media works “revisit the entwined lineages of ethnography and abstraction to tell a survival story” (14). Houle’s work can be found in many public collections, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto ON, the Heard Museum, Phoenix AZ, the Art Gallery of Sudbury, Sudbury ON, and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa ON.

To save 30% on Art for an Undivided Earth use coupon code E17HORTN at checkout on our website.

International Museum Day

Today is International Museum Day, which raises awareness of museums as “an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.” We’re happy to contribute to the cause by sharing some of our scholarship that celebrates and critically examines museums and their work.

978-0-8223-5897-8Prior to 1967 fewer than a dozen museum exhibitions had featured the work of African American artists. And by the time the civil rights movement reached the American art museum, it had already crested: the first public demonstrations to integrate museums occurred in late 1968, twenty years after the desegregation of the military and fourteen years after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. In Mounting Frustration Susan E. Cahan investigates the strategies African American artists and museum professionals employed as they wrangled over access to and the direction of New York City’s elite museums.

Bennett_pbk_cover.inddThe coauthors of the theoretically innovative Collecting, Ordering, Governing explore the relationships among anthropological fieldwork, museum collecting and display, and social governance in the early twentieth century in Australia, Britain, France, New Zealand, and the United States. With case studies ranging from the Musée de l’Homme’s 1930s fieldwork missions in French Indo-China to the influence of Franz Boas’s culture concept on the development of American museums, the authors illuminate recent debates about postwar forms of multicultural governance, cultural conceptions of difference, and postcolonial policy and practice in museums.

ddaaa_67_1Archives of Asian Art is a journal devoted to publishing new scholarship on the art and architecture of South, Southeast, Central, and East Asia. Articles discuss premodern and contemporary visual arts, archaeology, architecture, and the history of collecting.  Every issue is fully illustrated (with color plates in the online version), and each fall issue includes an illustrated compendium of recent acquisitions of Asian art by leading museums and collections.

Museum Frictions is a lavishly illustrated examination of the significant and varied effects of the increasingly globalized world on contemporary museum, heritage, and exhibition practice. The contributors—scholars, artists, and curators—present case studies drawn from Africa, Australia, North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Together they offer a multifaceted analysis of the complex roles that national and community museums, museums of art and history, monuments, heritage sites, and theme parks play in creating public cultures.

In Museum Skepticism, art historian David Carrier traces the birth, evolution, and decline of the public art museum as an institution meant to spark democratic debate and discussion. Carrier contends that since the inception of the public art museum during the French Revolution, its development has depended on growth: on the expansion of collections, particularly to include works representing non-European cultures, and on the proliferation of art museums around the globe. Arguing that this expansionist project has peaked, he asserts that art museums must now find new ways of making high art relevant to contemporary lives.

978-0-8223-5429-1In the late nineteenth century, Japan’s new Meiji government established museums to showcase a national aesthetic heritage, spur industrialization and self-disciplined public behavior, and cultivate an “imperial public” loyal to the emperor. By the mid-1930s, the Japanese museum system had established or absorbed institutions in Taiwan, Korea, Sakhalin, and Manchuria. Unsurprisingly, colonial subjects’ views of Japanese imperialism differed from those promulgated by the Japanese state. In Public Properties Noriko Aso describes how museums in Japan and its empire contributed to the reimagining of state and society during the imperial era despite vigorous disagreements about what was to be displayed, how, and by whom it was to be seen.

 The New History in an Old Museum is an exploration of “historical truth” as presented at Colonial Williamsburg. More than a detailed history of a museum and tourist attraction, it examines the packaging of American history, and consumerism and the manufacturing of cultural beliefs. Through extensive fieldwork, Richard Handler and Eric Gable illustrate how corporate sensibility blends with pedagogical principle in Colonial Williamsburg to blur the lines between education and entertainment, patriotism and revisionism.

ddnka_31 Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art focuses on publishing critical work that examines contemporary African and African Diaspora art within the modernist and postmodernist experience and includes scholarly articles, reviews (exhibits and books), interviews, and roundtable discussions. In “Nka Roundtable III: Contemporary African Art and the Museum,” contributors examine the role of museums in bringing the work of African artists to the consciousness of the contemporary world. The topics covered include the participants’ first meaningful encounters with contemporary African art, the role of the curator of contemporary African art in the museum, and the age-old question about presenting contemporary African art in art and/or ethnology museums.

Exhibitions and Spring Art Books

This spring, we’re distributing three gorgeous art books that correspond with exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, and the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. We’re happy to extend the reach of these important and beautifully designed catalogues, published by each respective museum, and we hope you can make it out to an exhibition or two.

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Faith Ringgold (American, born 1930). For the Women’s House, 1971. Oil on canvas, 96 x 96 in. (243.8 x 243.8 cm). Courtesy of Rose M. Singer Center, Rikers Island Correctional Center. © 2017 Faith Ringgold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

A landmark exhibition on display at the Brooklyn Museum through September 17, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 examines the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic priorities of women of color during the emergence of second-wave feminism. It showcases the work of black women artists such as Emma Amos, Maren Hassinger, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, Howardena Pindell, Faith Ringgold, and Betye Saar, making it one of the first major exhibitions to highlight the voices and experiences of women of color. In so doing, it reorients conversations around race, feminism, political action, art production, and art history in this significant historical period.

The accompanying Sourcebook republishes an array of rare and little-known documents from the period by artists, writers, cultural critics, and art historians such as Gloria Anzaldúa, James Baldwin, bell hooks, Lucy R. Lippard, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Lowery Stokes Sims, Alice Walker, and Michelle Wallace. These documents include articles, manifestos, and letters from significant publications as well as interviews, some of which are reproduced in facsimile form. The Sourcebook also includes archival materials, rare ephemera, and an art-historical overview essay. Helping readers to move beyond standard narratives of art history and feminism, this volume will ignite further scholarship while showing the true breadth and diversity of black women’s engagement with art, the art world, and politics from the 1960s to the 1980s.

We Wanted a Revolution is curated by Catherine Morris and Rujeko Hockley. In addition to the Brooklyn Museum, it will also be on display at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles from October 13, 2017, through January 14, 2018; the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, from February 17, 2018, through May 27, 2018; and the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston from June 26, 2018, through September 30, 2018. Find more details about the exhibition or purchase the Sourcebook.

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Nina Chanel Abney, Incite (COM), 2015. Unique ultrachrome pigmented print, acrylic, and spray paint on canvas; 48 x 36 inches (121.92 x 91.44 cm). Collection of Isis Heslin and Jacqueline T. Martin. Image courtesy of Kravets | Wehby Gallery, New York, New York. © Nina Chanel Abney.

Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush, an exhibition at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, is a ten-year survey of one of the most provocative and iconoclastic artists working today. Abney is at the forefront of a generation of artists that is unapologetically revitalizing narrative figurative painting, and as a skillful story-teller, she visually articulates the complex social dynamics of contemporary urban life. Her works are informed as much by mainstream news media as they are by animated cartoons, video games, hip-hop culture, celebrity websites, and tabloid magazines. She draws on these sources to make paintings replete with figures, numbers, and words that appear to have tumbled onto the canvas with the stream-of-consciousness immediacy of text messages, pop-up windows, a Twitter feed, or the scrolling headlines of an incessant twenty-four-hour news cycle. By engaging loaded topics and controversial issues with irreverence, humor, and lampooning satire, Abney’s works are both pointed contemporary genre scenes as well as scathing commentaries on social attitudes and inequities.

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Abney poses with her work First and Last, part of the Nasher Museum’s collection and featured in the exhibition Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush. Photo by J Caldwell.

Abney’s first solo museum exhibition, Royal Flush comprises the artist’s large-scale paintings, along with smaller collages and watercolors. While her work has strong ties to important modernist forebears such as Robert Colescott, Stuart Davis, Romare Bearden, and Faith Ringgold, among others, its distinct and arresting visual articulation of the human condition is inherently suited to the rapid-fire and unceasing quality of the Digital Age. Her dense and colorful iconography, a skillful engagement with serious issues, and the provocative way in which she addresses them has brought this young artist increasing critical acclaim in the contemporary art world.

Royal Flush is on display at the Nasher Museum through July 16. The exhibition will travel to the Chicago Cultural Center (February 10–May 6, 2018) and then to Los Angeles, where it will be jointly presented by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the California African American Museum (September 23, 2018–January 20, 2019). The final venue for the exhibition is the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York (April 7–August 4, 2019).  Learn more about the exhibition or buy the catalogue.

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Jonathan Williams, Beauty and the Beast: Joel Oppenheimer and Francine du Plessix Gray, Black Mountain College, 1951, gelatin silver print. Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center Collection. Gift of the Artist. Courtesy of Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscript Collection. Permission to reproduce courtesy of Thomas Meyer.

During its relatively brief existence (1933–1957), Black Mountain College was an experimental liberal arts college that placed the arts at the center of its curriculum. Its faculty included leading members of the American avant-garde such as Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Buckminster Fuller, Charles Olson, and Robert Creeley. While Black Mountain College is best known for its contributions to the visual arts, literature, music, and dance, Begin to See: The Photographers of Black Mountain College, curated by Julie J. Thomson, shows how photography was also an important part of the curriculum. Photography began as an informal workshop in the 1930s and was taught through 1953. Josef Albers and Hazel Larsen Archer played important roles in this, including inviting many notable photographers to teach during the college’s summer sessions.

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Nancy Newhall and Anni Albers, Untitled (Photogram), 1948, vintage gelatin silver print. ©1948, Nancy Newhall, ©2017, the Estate of Beaumont and Nancy Newhall. Permission to reproduce courtesy of Scheinbaum and Russek Ltd., Santa Fe, New Mexico. Courtesy of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.

While thousands of photographs were made at Black Mountain College, there has not been a detailed examination of photography at the college. Begin to See is the first in-depth exhibition and catalog devoted to this topic. Organized around the themes of Available Light, Bearing Witness, Performing for the Camera, Experimentation, and Place, this catalog includes essays, photographer biographies, and a chronology about photography at Black Mountain College. It features over 100 photographs by more than forty artists including Josef Albers, Hazel Larsen Archer, Harry Callahan, Robert Haas, Barbara Morgan, Beaumont Newhall, Nancy Newhall, Andy Oates, Robert Rauschenberg, Aaron Siskind, Cy Twombly, Stan VanDerBeek, Susan Weil, and Jonathan Williams.

Read more about the exhibition, on display through May 20 at the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, or purchase the catalog.

Now Available: First Issue of Archives of Asian Art published by Duke University Press

ddaaa_67_1We are pleased to announce the first issue of Archives of Asian Art published by Duke University Press, volume 67, issue 1, is now available at asianart.dukejournals.org.

Archives of Asian Art, edited by Stanley K. Abe, is devoted to publishing new scholarship on the art and architecture of South, Southeast, Central, and East Asia. Articles discuss premodern and contemporary visual arts, archaeology, architecture, and the history of collecting. Submissions are encouraged in all areas of study related to Asian art and architecture to maintain a balanced representation of regions and types of art, and to present a variety of scholarly perspectives. Every issue is fully illustrated (with color plates in the online version), and each fall issue includes an illustrated compendium of recent acquisitions of Asian art by leading museums and collections.

Browse the table-of-contents for the current issue and read back content from 2001 to the present.

Nazi-Looted Art and Its Legacies

ddngc_44_1_130This special issue of New German Critique, edited by Andreas Huyssen, Anson Rabinbach, and Avinoam Shalem, examines the legacy of Nazi-looted art in light of the 2012 discovery of the famous Hildebrand Gurlitt collection of stolen artwork in Germany. When the German government declassified the case almost two years later, the resulting scandal raised fundamental questions about the role of art dealers in the Third Reich, the mechanics of the Nazi black market for artwork, the shortcomings of postwar denazification, the failure of courts and governments to adjudicate stolen artwork claims, and the unwillingness of museums to determine the provenance of thousands of looted pieces of art.

The contributors to this issue explore the continuities of art dealerships and auction houses from the Nazi period to the Federal Republic and take stock of the present political and cultural debate over the handling of this artwork. Topics include Socialist cultural policy, Gurlitt and his dealings with German museums, German restitution politics since the Gurlitt case, and the political aspects of the “trophy art” problem.

Read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.

November Events

November is a great time to head out to local bookstores and other venues and meet our authors.

spillReaders in Durham, Montreal, and Atlanta can all catch poet Alexis Pauline Gumbs this month.
November 1: Alexis Gumbs will read from her new book Spill at The Regulator.
7:00pm, 720 Ninth Street, Durham, NC 27705

November 9:  The Concordia Centre will host a workshop Alexis Gumbs and Rachel Zellars around her book Spill.
6:00pm,  H-763, Hall Building,  1455 de Maisonneuve West, Annex V-01, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8

November 18: Spill author Alexis Gumbs will be at Charis Books to discuss her book.
7:30pm, 1189 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

978-0-8223-5931-9November 5: Shane Greene will participate in a panel discussion at Cornell University for their Musicology Colloquium.
3:00pm, Klarman Hall Auditorium KG70, 232 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850

November 7: Shapeshifters author Aimee Cox will be at the University of Miami to discuss “Black Girlhood.”
12:00pm, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33143

November 10: Christina Sharpe speaks at Northwestern University on her book In the Wake.
12:00pm, Northwestern University, TGS Commons, 2122 Sheridan Road, 1st Floor, Evanston, IL 60208
Followed by a conversation with Alex Weheliye.
5:30pm, Harris Hall 108, Evanston, IL 60208

Cahan cover image, 5897-8November 12: Susan Cahan will be at Laumeier Sculpture Park to discuss and sign copies for her book Mounting Frustration.
1:00pm, 12580 Rott Road, Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center, St. Louis, Missouri 63127

November 14: Susan Cahan in conversation with Lowery Stokes Sims at the Museum of Modern Art on her book Mounting Frustration.
7:00pm, Education and Research Center, Theater 3, 11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

November 17: Hettie Jones will discuss her new book, Love, H, at the Poets House. This is a ticketed event.
7:00pm, Kray Hall, 10 River Terrace, New York, NY 10282

November is also a huge month for conferences. Be sure to come by our booths at the National Women’s Studies Association, Society for Ethnomusicology, American Studies Association, American Anthropological Association, American Academy of Religion, American Society for Theater Research, American Society for Ethnohistory, Middle East Studies Association, and African Studies Association. Save 30% on all our titles in the booths and meet our staff members.

Two Duke University Press Authors Named MacArthur “Genius” Fellows

We are excited and proud to learn that two of our authors, Kellie Jones and Josh Kun, have been named 2016 MacArthur Fellows.

Kellie Jones, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, New York, New York, September 9, 2016

Kellie Jones is Associate Professor of Art History at Columbia University and author of EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (2011) and the forthcoming South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s (April 2017). The MacArthur Foundation praises her for “deepening our understanding of contemporary art of the African Diaspora and securing its place in the canons of modern and contemporary art.”

Josh Kun, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, USC, Los Angeles, CA, Thursday, Sep. 1, 2016.

Josh Kun, Professor of Communication at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, is a longtime collaborator with Duke University Press. He is a co-editor of our popular series Refiguring American Music, which publishes bold, innovative works that pose new challenges to thinking about the nature and character of American Music. He is also co-editor of Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the Global Border (2012). He has also written for our journal Public Culture. The MacArthur Foundation says ,”In work that spans academic scholarship, exhibitions, and performances, Kun unearths and brings to life forgotten historical narratives through finely grained analyses of material and sonic manifestations of popular culture.”

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.

We’re pleased to offer a special discount on Eyeminded and Tijuana Dreaming in honor of this award. Please use coupon code GENIUS16 on our website to save 40% on these books. Congratulations again to these two authors!

New Books in September

It’s finally September, and we’re just as excited for the start of the school year as you are. Add these great titles, coming out this month, to your fall reading list:

Cultural Studies 1983With the publication of Cultural Studies 1983 we launch our new series Stuart Hall: Selected Writings. A touchstone event in the history of Cultural Studies, the book is a testament to Stuart Hall’s unparalleled contributions. Unavailable until now, these eight foundational lectures present Hall’s original engagements with the theoretical positions that contributed to the formation of Cultural Studies.

No Tea, No Shade, edited by E. Patrick Johnson, follows up the groundbreaking Black Queer Studies by bringing together nineteen essays on black gender and sexuality. Topics include “raw” sex, pornography, the carceral state, gentrification, gender nonconformity, social media, the relationship between black feminist studies and black trans studies, the black queer experience throughout the black diaspora, and queer music, film, dance, and theater.

Life and Death on the New York Dance FloorAs the 1970s gave way to the ’80s, New York’s party scene entered a ferociously inventive period characterized by its creativity, intensity, and hybridity. Tim Lawrence chronicles this tumultuous time in Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, charting the sonic and social eruptions that took place in the city’s subterranean party venues as well as the way they cultivated breakthrough movements in art, performance, video, and film.

Focusing on artwork by Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, and Piero Manzoni, Jaleh Mansoor demonstrates in Marshall Plan Modernism how abstract painting, especially the monochrome, broke with fascist-associated futurism and functioned as an index of social transition in postwar Italy.

GeontologiesIn Geontologies, Elizabeth A. Povinelli continues her project of mapping the current conditions of late liberalism by offering a bold retheorization of power. Finding Foucauldian biopolitics unable to adequately reveal contemporary mechanisms of power and governance, Povinelli describes a mode of power she calls geontopower.

As the 2011 uprisings in North Africa reverberated across the Middle East, a diverse cross section of women and girls publicly disputed gender and sexual norms. In a series of case studies ranging from Tunisia’s 14 January Revolution to the Taksim Gezi Park protests in Istanbul, the contributors to Freedom without Permission, edited by Frances S. Hasso and Zakia Salime, reveal the centrality of the intersections between body, gender, sexuality, and space to these groundbreaking events.

Love, HLove, H: The Letters of Helene Dorn and Hettie Jones is a remarkable selection from a forty-year correspondence between two artists who survived their time as wives in the Beat bohemia of the 1960s and went on to successful artistic careers of their own. Revealing the intimacy of lifelong friends, these letters tell two stories from the shared point of view of women who refused to go along with society’s expectations.

One of the classics of twentieth-century Marxism, Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks contains a rich and nuanced theorization of class that provides insights that extend far beyond economic inequality. In Gramsci’s Common Sense, Kate Crehan provides an overview of Gramsci’s notions of subalternity, intellectuals, and common sense, putting them in relation to the work of thinkers such as Bourdieu, Arendt, Spivak, and Said.

Only the RoadFeaturing the work of more than fifty poets writing across the last eight decades, Only the Road / Solo el Camino is the most complete bilingual anthology of Cuban poetry available to an English readership. The collection, edited by Margaret Randall, is distinguished by its stylistic breadth and the diversity of its contributors, who come from throughout Cuba and its diaspora and include luminaries, lesser-known voices, and several Afro-Cuban and LGBTQ poets.

Reprinted in paperback, Songs of the Unsung is the autobiography of Los Angeles jazz musician and activist Horace Tapscott (1934–1999). It is the story of Los Angeles’s cultural and political evolution over the last half of the twentieth century, of the origins of many of the most important avant-garde musicians still on the scene today, and of a rich and varied body of music.

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