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indigoBooksJames Elkins


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Art Does art leave you cold? And is that what it's supposed to do? Or is a painting meant to move you to tears? Hemingway was reduced to tears in the midst of a drinking bout when a painting by James Thurber caught his eye. And what's bad about that? In…
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Unlike many books on painting that usually talk about art or painters, James Elkins¿ compelling and original work focuses on alchemy, for like the alchemist, the painter seeks to transform and be transformed by the medium. In What Painting Is , James Elkins…
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Art criticism was once passionate, polemical, and judgmental; now critics are more often interested in ambiguity, neutrality, and nuanced description. And while art criticism is ubiquitous in newspapers, magazines, and exhibition brochures, it is also virtually…

How to Use Your Eyes

by James Elkins

|September 29, 2008

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In the tradition of John Berger's bestselling Ways of Seeing, James Elkins's How to Use Your Eyes invites us to look at, and maybe to see for first time, the world around us with breathtaking results. Here are the common artifacts of life, often misunderstood…

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In today's world, lawyers tend to become identified more with law and less with people, the public interest, social welfare and the common good. However, many lawyers are sensitive, people-oriented professionals who relate to their clients as persons and not as…

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With bracing clarity, James Elkins explores why images are taken to be more intricate and hard to describe in the twentieth century than they had been in any previous century. Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles? uses three models to understand the kinds of complex…
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In What Photography Is , James Elkins examines the strange and alluring power of photography in the same provocative and evocative manner as he explored oil painting in his best-selling What Painting Is . In the course of an extended imaginary dialogue with…
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In this unprecedented collection, over twenty of the world's most prominent thinkers on the subject including Arthur Danto, Stephen Melville, Wendy Steiner, Alexander Nehamas, and Jay Bernstein ponder the disconnect between these two disciplines. The volume has a…
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Can contemporary art say anything about spirituality? John Updike calls modern art "a religion assembled from the fragments of our daily life," but does that mean that contemporary art is spiritual? What might it mean to say that the art you make expresses your…
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In his latest book, James Elkins offers a road map through the field of visual studies, describing its major concerns and its principal theoretical sources. Then, with the skill and insight that have marked his successful books on art and visuality, Elkins takes…

Partisan Canons

by Anna Brzyski

|September 17, 2007

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Whether it is being studied or critiqued, the art canon is usually understood as an authoritative list of important works and artists. This collection breaks with the idea of a singular, transcendent canon. Through provocative case studies, it demonstrates that…
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This is the third volume in The Art Seminar , James Elkin's series of conversations on art and visual studies. Is Art History Global? stages an international conversation among art historians and critics on the subject of the practice and responsibility of global…