Description : “This is criticism at its best.”—Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times Writing in the tradition of Susan Sontag and Elaine Scarry, Maggie Nelson has emerged as one of our foremost cultural critics with this landmark work about representations of cruelty and violence in art. From Sylvia Plath’s poetry to Francis Bacon’s paintings, from the Saw franchise to Yoko Ono’s performance art, Nelson’s nuanced exploration across the artistic landscape ultimately offers a model of how one might balance strong ethical convictions with an equally strong appreciation for work that tests the limits of taste, taboo, and permissibility.
Description : Winner of the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Ian Buruma is fascinated, he writes, “by what makes the human species behave atrociously.” In Theater of Cruelty the acclaimed author of The Wages of Guilt and Year Zero: A History of 1945 once again turns to World War II to explore that question—to the Nazi occupation of Paris, the Allied bombing of German cities, the international controversies over Anne Frank’s diaries, Japan’s militarist intellectuals and its kamikaze pilots. One way that people respond to power and cruelty, Buruma argues, is through art, and the art that most interests him reveals the dark impulses beneath the veneer of civilized behavior. This is what draws him to German and Japanese artists such as Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Mishima Yukio, and Yokoo Tadanori, as well as to filmmakers such as Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Kurosawa Kiyoshi, and Hans-Jürgen Syberberg. All were affected by fascism and its terrible consequences; all “looked into the abyss and made art of what they saw.” Whether he is writing in this wide-ranging collection about war, artists, or film—or about David Bowie’s music, R. Crumb’s drawings, the Palestinians of the West Bank, or Asian theme parks—Ian Buruma brings sympathetic historical insight and shrewd aesthetic judgment to understanding the diverse ways that people deal with violence and cruelty in life and in art. Theater of Cruelty includes eight pages of color and black & white images.
Description : In Hold It Against Me, Jennifer Doyle explores the relationship between difficulty and emotion in contemporary art, treating emotion as an artist's medium. She encourages readers to examine the ways in which works of art challenge how we experience not only the artist's feelings, but our own. Discussing performance art, painting, and photography, Doyle provides new perspectives on artists including Ron Athey, Aliza Shvarts, Thomas Eakins, James Luna, Carrie Mae Weems, and David Wojnarowicz. Confronting the challenge of writing about difficult works of art, she shows how these artists work with feelings as a means to question our assumptions about identity, intimacy, and expression. They deploy the complexity of emotion to measure the weight of history, and to deepen our sense of where and how politics happens in contemporary art. Doyle explores ideologies of emotion and how emotion circulates in and around art. Throughout, she gives readers welcoming points of entry into artworks that they may at first find off-putting or confrontational. Doyle offers new insight into how the discourse of controversy serves to shut down discussion about this side of contemporary art practice, and counters with a critical language that allows the reader to accept emotional intensity in order to learn from it.
Description : This book analyses the animal images used in William Hogarth's art, demonstrating how animals were variously depicted as hybrids, edibles, companions, emblems of satire and objects of cruelty. Beirne offers an important assessment of how Hogarth's various audiences reacted to his gruesome images and ultimately what was meant by 'cruelty'.
Description : For decades, modern seekers have experimented and studied with many diverse teachers and religions, but Stuart Wilde says in that toward the end of a long spiritual journey we all seek the same thing: redemption. None of us is perfect, and yet through embracing that imperfection and reconciling it, we become a complete being—encompassing both the light and the dark. As Stuart says: "Many mystics, holy people, and even the Hopi Indians have predicted a new age of enlightenment, and they are not wrong in my view. It has arrived, and with it has come a whole host of fascinating phenomena never seen before. We are stepping into a magical new era . . . the age of forgiveness." It is when the ivory tower of the ego’s ideas falls that we can then embrace a new humility, allowing us to become ever more genuine, compassionate, and real. In this fascinating book, Stuart makes the point that the process of redemption and forgiveness comes from incorporating the Three Graces in one’s heart: tenderness, generosity, and respect.
Description : Bartolomé de Las Casas was the first and fiercest critic of Spanish colonialism in the New World. An early traveller to the Americas who sailed on one of Columbus's voyages, Las Casas was so horrified by the wholesale massacre he witnessed that he dedicated his life to protecting the Indian community. He wrote A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies in 1542, a shocking catalogue of mass slaughter, torture and slavery, which showed that the evangelizing vision of Columbus had descended under later conquistadors into genocide. Dedicated to Philip II to alert the Castilian Crown to these atrocities and demand that the Indians be entitled to the basic rights of humankind, this passionate work of documentary vividness outraged Europe and contributed to the idea of the Spanish 'Black Legend' that would last for centuries.