Art History: Its Use and Abuse by W. McAllister JohnsonArt History: Its Use and Abuse by W. McAllister Johnson

Art History: Its Use and Abuse

byW. McAllister Johnson

Paperback | October 1, 1990

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In a discipline forever subject to ad hoc or opportunistic research, where the differences between descriptive, comparative, and intellectual analyses are increasingly blurred, W. McAllister Johnson offers these provocative, 'issues-oriented' essays, an effort to address the intellectual bases of art history in relation to everyday work. The essays attempt to bridge the gap between theory and practice through common sense and a measure of realism that is sometimes humorous, sometimes brutal. Conversational in tone, the book is intended to stimulate reflection rather than serve as a reference book or manual.

Through the constant interweaving of intellectual and art history with practical instructions that address concretely and in detail the realistic needs of students and writers, Johnson speaks to the field itself rather than to its externals. He deals with such different matters as the nature and evolution of the research process, university and public life, bibliography, and cataloguing. These essays discuss major questions that should arise in courses in bibliography, methodology, and historiography, once the survey courses are left behind.

Art librarians have previously had little to offer between introductory works or manuals and specialized literature. Yet, beyond what interests one or what can be judged in the light of personal or professional experience, everyone needs a foil that goes beyond immediate needs and forces him or her to reassess method and attitudes. In this book Johnson offers just such an instrument.

W. McAllister Johnson is a professor emeritus in the Department of Art at the University of Toronto. His most recent book is Versified Prints: A Literary and Cultural Phenomenon.
Title:Art History: Its Use and AbuseFormat:PaperbackDimensions:373 pages, 8.97 × 6.07 × 1.13 inPublished:October 1, 1990Publisher:University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0802068413

ISBN - 13:9780802068415

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inciteful, plentiful, and brainful It's rare that one finds art history books that help students of the discipline understand the tangle of roots that make up the discipline. Art combines consumerism, philosophy, aesthetics, communication, form, function, and emotion and art history as a general subject often blurs these elements. Johnson's book offers an educated, inspired understanding of what art history is, what makes up the discipline and helps the art student find their footing within it.
Date published: 2006-07-28

Table of Contents




    • Research and Factors Conditioning Research
    • Research: From Great Expectations to Bleak House
    • The Research Process: Hard Times and Great Expectations
    • Readers, Reading, and Institutional Relations
    • Archives and Their Denizens
    • Treasures and Trash: Art and Its Literature through the Ages
    • The Usual Books of Reference
    • Dictionaries and Lexica
      • Some 'Determining' Studies
      • Collected Essays and Commemorative Volumes
    • Transcribed Lectures
    • Periodicals and Series
    • On Bibliography
    • Bibliographies
      • Form and Function in Historical Writing
      • Periodical Catalogues
      • Some Indexes to Specific Periodicals
      • A Selection among Institutional Catalogues
      • Some Indispensable Titles
      • Some Notable Approaches to Subject
      • The Corpus: A Representative Selection
      • Auction and Exhibition Catalogues
      • Theoretical and Practical Literature on Exhibitions
      • Canadiana
  3. 3 WRITING
    • On Quality in Writing
    • The Writing of Art History
    • Choosing and Developing a Topic
    • Taking Note
    • Assumptions
    • On Imitation and Emulation in Art History
    • The Mechanization of Art History
    • Scaling Up and Scaling Down
    • Scholarly Generosity
    • When Writing for Periodical Publication
    • Reviewers and Reviewing
    • Diminished Powers, or a Sense of Proportion
    • Night Thoughts
    • Seminars and Pro-Seminars
    • Theses and Dissertations
    • Academic Alienation
    • Public Lectures
    • The Student's Emergency Kit for Notation
    • 'Abbreviated Reference' in Archaeology and Art History
    • Reference and Notation
      • Describing the Work of Art
      • Full Bibliographical Reference
      • Architectural Reference
      • Illuminated Manuscripts
      • Prints and Drawings
      • Photographic Sources and Reproductions
      • The Bibliography and Its Intellectual Uses
    • On Cataloguing and Some Unrelated Matters
    • Half-a-Dozen Heresies Mainly Regarding Collections, Exhibitions, and Catalogues
    • Describing a Work of Art
    • The Catalogue Raisonne
    • Catalogues: The Search for Form
    • Temporary (Loan) Exhibitions
    • Permanent-Collection Catalogues
      • Some Informational and Notational Problems
      • Visitors, Guides, and Installation Shots
    • Models



From Our Editors

An extraordinary provocative critical analysis of the art history profession as both consumer and producer of information. An essay of the best sort, in which every opinion, however idiosyncratic, is informed with intelligence.