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Idiosyncratic Identities

Idiosyncratic Identities
Artists at the End of the Avant-Garde

Out of Print

  • Date Published: December 1996
  • availability: Unavailable - out of print June 1999
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521556521

Out of Print
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Unavailable - out of print June 1999
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About the Authors
  • Postmodernism has been described as a decadent and pluralistic period, where avant-garde art has been institutionalised, stereotyped and effectively neutralised; and where models of art seem to stand in ironical, nihilistic relationship to every other. In this study, Donald Kuspit argues that only the idiosyncratic artist remains credible and convincing in the postmodern era. He pursues a sense of artistic and human identity in a situation where there are no guidelines, art historically or socially. Idiosyncratic art, Kuspit posits, is a radically personal art that establishes unconscious communication between individuals in doubt of their identity. Functioning as a medium of self-identification, it affords a sense of authentic selfhood and communicative intimacy in a postmodern society where authenticity and intimacy seem irrelevant and absurd.

    • Analysis of the postmodern situation of visual art
    • Examination of major American and European contemporary artists
    • Discussion of the issue of identity as it arises in their art
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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 1996
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521556521
    • length: 384 pages
    • dimensions: 252 x 177 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.793kg
    • contains: 32 b/w illus.
    • availability: Unavailable - out of print June 1999
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: idiosyncracy: the final frontier
    Part I. Zeitgeist:
    1. The opera is over: a critique of eighties sensibility
    2. The appropriation of marginal art in the 1980s
    3. The magic kingdom of the museum
    4. Sizing art up (and down): the issue of quality
    5. The short, happy life of the work of art: from artifact to art to arty fact
    6. The end of creative imagination
    7. Marcel Duchamp: imposter artist
    8. Act out, turn off
    Part II. Artists:
    9. The horse in the industrial age: Deborah Butterfield's sculptures
    10. Improbable portraits: George Condo's drolleries
    11. Paradox perfected: Agnes Denes's pyramids
    12. The cunning of unreason: Charles Hinman's absurdist constructions
    13. Alfred Jensen: systems mystagogue
    14. Wolfgang Laib's mystical revolution
    15. Carlo Maria Mariani: the re-enactment of beauty
    16. Robert Mapplethorpe: aestheticising the perverse. 17
    Jackson Pollock: late works, 1952–1955
    18. Voluptuous technology: Keith Sonnier's painterly sculpture
    19. Jorge Tacla's irreality
    20. The Psychopolitical Automatism of Antoni Tapies
    21. William Tucker: the fated return of the body
    22. Bill Viola: the mystical defense against the feeling of being mad
    23. Cooling excitement: eros and self in Paul Waldman's art
    Part III. Speculations:
    24. The great divide
    25. Art: sublimated expression of transitional experience? The examples of Van Gogh and Mondrian
    26. The expressive gaze
    27. Philosophy and art: elective affinities in an arranged marriage
    28. In search of the visionary image
    29. Envy and gratitude: the ambivalence of psychoanalysis to art
    30. The avant-garde complex and the postmodern perplex
    31. Mystic and maid.

  • Author

    Donald Burton Kuspit, State University of New York, Stony Brook

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