Visualizing Feeling: Affect and the Feminine Avant-garde

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9781848858510: Visualizing Feeling: Affect and the Feminine Avant-garde
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Is late modern art "anti-aesthetic?" What does it mean to label a piece of art "affectless?" These traditional characterizations of 1960s and 1970s art are radically challenged in this subversive art history. By introducing feeling to the analysis of this period, Susan Best acknowledges the radical and exploratory nature of art in late modernism. The book focuses on four highly influential female artists--Eva Hesse, Lygia Clark, Ana Mendieta, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha--and it explores how their art transformed established avant-garde protocols by introducing an affective dimension. This aspect of their work, while often noted, has never before been analyzed in detail. Visualizing Feeling also addresses a methodological blind spot in art history: the interpretation of feeling, emotion and affect. It demonstrates that the affective dimension, alongside other materials and methods of art, is part of the artistic means of production and innovation. This is the first thorough re-appraisal of aesthetic engagement with affect in post-1960s art.

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About the Author:

Susan Best is a Senior Lecturer, Department of Art History and Theory, University of New South Wales.

Review:

""At last, here is, a book that lifts the ban on affect imposed on art criticism and theory by the ""anti-aesthetic"" school that has been dominating the scene in the last forty years! Taking her clues from four of the best women artists whose work spans the period, Susan Best convincingly demonstrates that if you close the door of the house of art to feelings, they enter through the window. What’s more, this is valid for the supposedly ‘anaesthetic’ art movements - minimal and conceptual art - that form the contextual background of her case studies: they are no less aesthetic than the art of the past or the most recent present."" -- Thierry de Duve, Historian and Theorist of contemporary art and Professor at University of Lille

 

""Susan Best's remarkably lucid and paradoxical project begins the process of recovering feeling and emotion in late modern art. Her landmark study of four women artists - Hesse, Clark, Mendieta and Cha - rescues both the feminine and the aesthetic from the ghetto, by an astute combination of psycho-analysis and art history."" -- Dr. Ann Stephen, Senior Curator, Sydney University Museums

 

""Visualizing Feeling develops a compelling argument for focusing on precisely the centrality of affect and feeling in any understanding of the art of the 1960s and 1970s, where it seemed that affect no longer had a place. In exploring the work of four powerful and sometimes neglected women artists, she shows how it is paradoxically where affect is consciously minimized that it nevertheless returns to haunt the art work as its most powerful force. Art works affect before they inform, perform or communicate. Sue Best demonstrates that by restoring the question of affect and emotion to the art work, new kinds of questions can be asked about the feminine in art, questions that affirm the personal and political power of these works of art."" -- Elizabeth Grosz, Rutgers University, author of Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth, Columbia University Press, 2008

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Best, Susan
Published by I.B.Tauris (2011)
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Susan Best
Published by I.B.Tauris (2011)
ISBN 10: 1848858515 ISBN 13: 9781848858510
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