Gothic: Transmutations of Horror in Late-Twentieth-Century Art

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9780262071840: Gothic: Transmutations of Horror in Late-Twentieth-Century Art

As the millennium draws to a close, a Gothic spirit once again penetrates much of today's art and culture. Over the past decade, American and European artists have grown increasingly fascinated with the dark and uncanny side of the human psyche—the theatrical and grotesque, the violent and destructive.

Taking its starting point and title from the Gothic novel, this book investigates the full-blown revival of a Gothic sensibility in contemporary art; in American and British fiction labeled the "New Gothic"; in film with its long tradition of horror; and in video, music, fashion, design, and underground culture. Gothic accompanies an exhibition at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, of twenty-three artists who produce horror as well as amazement through often ugly, fragmented, and contorted forms. Some employ a detached and reductive formal language to transmute images of excessive and gruesome violence, nevertheless achieving an equally disconcerting impact. The old Gothic themes of the fantastic and pathological are infused with new potency as they address concerns about the body, disease, voyeurism, and power.

Essays by John Gianvito, Christoph Grunenberg, James Hannaham, Patrick McGrath, Joyce Carol Oates, Shawn Rosenheim, Csaba Toth, and Anne Williams, and a short story by Dennis Cooper, explore the Gothic in history and in contemporary art and culture.

Artists: Julie Becker, Monica Carocci, Dinos and Jake Chapman, Gregory Crewdson, Keith Edmier, James Elaine, Robert Gober, Douglas Gordon, Wolfgang Amadeus Hansbauer, Jim Hodges, Cameron Jamie, Mike Kelley, Abigail Lane, Zoe Leonard, Tony Oursler, Sheila Pepe, Alexis Rockman, Aura Rosenberg, Pieter Schoolwerth, Cindy Sherman, Jeanne Silverthorne, Gary Simmons.

Copublished with The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Gothic: Transmutations of Horror in Late Twentieth Century Art was published to accompany an exhibition in 1997 at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston, where editor Christoph Grunenberg is curator. The first essay, by Grunenberg himself--"Unsolved Mysteries: Gothic Tales from Frankenstein to the Hair Eating Doll"--is both a rich, fascinating overview of the ongoing Gothic revival in several media (with a treasure trove of black-and-white illustrations) and an introduction to the exhibition:

As the millennium draws to a close, a Gothic spirit once again penetrates much of today's art and culture. Over the last decade, American and European artists have grown increasingly fascinated with the dark and uncanny side of the human psyche, the theatrical and the grotesque, the violent and destructive.
This handsomely produced book includes numerous color plates of the artwork from the show, such as a carefully crafted crime scene (Abigail Lane), closets evocative of childhood secrets (Robert Gober), soiled and worn-out dolls (Mike Kelley), photos incorporating incongruous body parts and rotting food (Cindy Sherman), an oversized medieval chandelier adorned with real carcasses (James Elaine), miniature recreations of creepy corners in houses (Julie Becker), photographic tableaux juxtaposing peaceful suburban or natural settings with images of crime and disease (Gregory Crewdson), disturbing hyperrealism (Alexis Rockman), and obsessively overwrought chronicles of American popular culture (Pieter Schoolwerth). The eight other essays and prose pieces, by such writers as Patrick McGrath, Dennis Cooper, and Joyce Carol Oates, cover themes of the Gothic and grotesque in rock music, film, literature, and other parts of contemporary culture. --Fiona Webster

About the Author:

Christoph Grunenberg is Curator at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

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