The Renaissance Society, Chicago

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A FATAL ATTRACTION: ART AND THE MEDIA


“To consume in America is not to buy; it is to dream. Advertising is the suggestion that the dream of entering the third person singular might possibly be fulfilled.”

-Don DeLillo

These are the artists who put the load-bearing post in postmodern, making the visual politics of media, marketplace and patriarchy the crucial issues for the 1980s: Sarah Charlesworth, Eric Bogosian, Nancy Dwyer, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Robert Longo, Richard Prince, David Salle, Cindy Sherman. A Fatal Attraction brought these and other artists who share these concerns together at a seminal point in this movement. This exhibition catalogue is a valuable reference for scholarship of this period of contemporary art, not to mention a cultural relic from an important moment in recent art history. Tom Lawson’s essay links the artists within a set of shared concerns-deconstruction of institutionalized pleasure, demystification of representation-that follow from the discourse of 1960s and 70s conceptual art, but takes this critique of ideology from the insulated art world out into the streets and living rooms of America.

 

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Jessica Stockholder


Approaching architectural space and scale with the formal inventiveness and speed common to gestural abstract painting, Stockholder took the art world by storm in the late 1980s.

The first half of the catalog chronicles Stockholder’s installations from 1983–1991 in 35 beautiful color plates. Accompanying the reproductions are short descriptions, authored by the artist, addressing the architectural and material choices of each installation. The second half of the catalogue contains John Miller’s essay “Formalism and Its Other”, which keenly places Stockholder’s activity somewhere between the rigorous formalism of Clement Greenberg’s critical writing and the liberating potential of Allan Kaprow’s Happenings.

Published in conjunction with the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; text in Dutch and English

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Georg Herold, Albert Oehlen, Christopher Wool


This fantastic book, designed by the artists and edited by Karen Marta, brings together a quartet of outstanding essayists who responded in kind to the acerbic wit and intelligence of the German multidisciplinary artists Georg Herold and Albert Oehlen, and the American painter Christopher Wool. Since this exhibition these three have continued to critique artistic stereotypes and strategies with stark, sometimes brutal humor. Together they form an ironic postmodern version of the Marx Brothers chasing one another, seeing who can be the first to give truth to Derrida’s statement: “What is art? As long as one refuses to give an answer in advance to this question, ‘art’ is only a word.”

 

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Gaylen Gerber


The exhibition of Gerber’s work at The Renaissance Society in 1992 marked the culmination of a ten-year period in which Gerber persistently painted the same opaque, monochromatic still-life over and over, in a bold artistic assertion that seeing is not believing but simply perceiving.

This catalog is the first monograph publication of Gerber’s work, and documents the artist’s installations of these paintings at various international exhibitions, including Documenta 9 in 1992, and Robbin Lockett Gallery in Chicago in 1988. At the Society’s exhibition, Gerber hung a single row of his paintings abutted end to end on a wall crossing the entire gallery space.

Jan Avgiko’s catalog essay, written in close tandem with Gerber, is a brilliant investigation of the role perceptual aesthetic theories play in the modernist and postmodernist monochrome.

 

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