Memory

Ian Farr, Editor
Edited by Ian Farr. MIT, $24.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-262-51776-8
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This insightful collection investigates the multifarious iterations of memory in contemporary artistic practices and thought. The anthology is comprised of 46 seminal short essays and excerpts penned by artists (e.g., Joseph Cornell), curators, and theorists. Many texts are cross-referential, such as a piece by Georges Perec followed by one about the French writer and filmmaker; motifs flow through different pieces creating an intertwined discussion. Farr's artful curation lends coherence to essays that examine an array of mediums, including minimalist sculpture, avant-garde literature, performance art, and video installation. The art works discussed invoke memory in varied forms including the appropriation of images (such as a 1988 painting recalling the 1968 Memphis sanitation strike) or events, purposeful forgetting, meditations on archives, and the politics of remembrance. These works illume how we, collectively and individually, strive to forget, remember, or reconstruct the past and how this is mediated by art. Although a few essays may be intimidatingly theory-heavy for those not conversant in art criticism, this stimulating collection is bound to provoke further investigation for the curious initiate and seasoned critical thinker alike. (Sept.)
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