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Gabrielle ZevinThe American Booksellers Association collects nominations from bookstores all over the country for favorite forthcoming titles. The Storied Life of... Continue »
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Sweet Dreams: Contemporary Art and Complicity


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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Johanna Drucker's "sweet dream" is for a new and more positive approach to contemporary art. Drucker argues that contemporary art is fully engaged with material culture—yet still struggling to escape the oppositional legacy of the early-twentieth-century avant-garde. She calls for a revamping of the critical vocabulary used to discuss art into one more befitting current creative practices.

Drucker shows that artists today are aware of working within the ideologies of mainstream culture and have replaced avant-garde resistance with acknowledged complicity. Finding their materials at malls and superstores or exploring celebrity culture, contemporary artists have created a vibrantly playful attitude towards mass culture—all while critics continue to cling to an outmoded vocabulary of opposition and radical negativity that defined modernism's avant-garde. At the cutting edge of new media research, Drucker surveys a wide range of exciting contemporary artists, demonstrating their clear departure from the past and petitioning viewers and critics to shift their own terms and sensibilities as well. Sweet Dreams is a testament to the creative processes and self-conscious heterogeneity of art today as well as a revolutionary effort to celebrate imaginative, creative thought and the value of art in contemporary life.


Johanna Drucker's "sweet dream" is for a new and more positive approach to

About the Author

Johanna Drucker is the Robertson Professor of Media Studies in the Department of English at the University of Virginia. She is the author of several books, including The Visible Word, The Alphabetic Labyrinth, The Century of Artists Books, and Figuring the Word.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Preface: Starting Now

1. Sweet Dreams

1. Twilight

2. Reawakening and Imagining Otherwise, Again

2. Current Conditions

1. Symbolic Currency

2. Complicit Sensibilities

3. Forms of Flirtation

3. Critical Histories

1. The Legacy of Autonomy

2. The Reconceptualization of Art

4. Forms of Complicity

1. Slacker Aesthetics

2. Violating the Old Taboos of Fashion, Amusement, and Sentimentality

3. New Monumentality and the "Now" Sublime

4. After Visual Un-pleasure or Monsters and Flesh

5. Painting as an Impure Medium

6. Hybridity and Unnaturalism

7. Thingness and Objecthood

8. Affectivity and Entropy

9. Dubious Documents

10. New Aestheticism and Media Culture

11. Techno-bodies and Art Culture

12. Commodified and Mediated Identities

13. Image Branding and Art Product Design

14. Flagrant Complicity

15. Mediation of Modern Life




Product Details

Drucker, Johanna
University of Chicago Press
Anime Hotshots
History - Contemporary (1945- )
Criticism -- Theory.
Art - General
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
16 color plates, 32 halftones
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Theory and Criticism
History and Social Science » Archaeology » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General

Sweet Dreams: Contemporary Art and Complicity New Trade Paper
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