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Words for Art: Criticism, History, Theory, Practice

Barry Schwabsky
Sternberg Press
Artists' Books
15 × 21.5 × 2 cm

n this volume of short essays, Barry Schwabsky reveals himself to be a critic of uncommon range and erudition. Walter Benjamin’s views on color, E. H. Gombrich’s theory of perception, Mel Bochner’s and Liz Kotz’s narratives of Conceptualism, and Sarah Thornton’s peregrinations in the “art world” are but a few of the topics explored in this volume. In an era of hyper-specialization and rigid academic protocols, Schwabsky revives a form of criticism one imagined barely existed— a criticism of varied interests and passionate opinions.

—James Meyer, author of Minimalism: Art and Polemics in the Sixties

By weaving together evocative and often uncharted episodes from art history, literature, and philosophy, a critical poetic emerges, and an offense of interference and reworked perspectives surfaces from Schwabsky’s essays. Unconcerned with categorical methodologies or totalizing approaches to criticism, Schwabsky writes with nonsequential energy that obliges both artists and critics to complexity, curiosity, and courage.

—Michelle Grabner, artist and professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Like many of the best critics, Schwabsky has the ability to describe things so precisely that no explicit evaluation is necessary. Every time an idea is introduced, it is allowed to hold the reader’s attention for the time it takes to ground a judgment, and no longer. This gentle rhythm gives the essays an unillusioned clarity and undogmatic authority rarely found in writing about art.

—Malcolm Bull, author of Anti-Nietzsche and University Lecturer in Fine Art at Oxford University

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  1. Words for Art: Criticism, History, Theory, Practice

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