To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Friday, March 4, 2011

David Antin’s Radical Coherency, Selected Essays on Art & Literature 1966-2005: An Announcement

University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226020969 Published March 2011
Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9780226027364
Published March 2011

“We got to talking”—so David Antin begins the introduction to Radical Coherency, embarking on the pursuit that has marked much of his breathless, brilliantly conversational work. For the past forty years, whether spoken under the guise of performance artist or poet, cultural explorer or literary critic, Antin’s innovative observations have helped us to better understand everything from Pop to Postmodernism.

Intimately wedded to the worlds of conceptual art and poetics, Radical Coherency collects Antin’s influential critical essays and spontaneous, performed lectures (or “talk pieces”) for the very first time, capturing one of the most distinctive perspectives in contemporary literature. The essays presented here range from the first serious assessment of Andy Warhol published in a major art journal, as well as Antin’s provocative take on Clement Greenberg’s theory of Modernism, to frontline interventions in present debates on poetics and fugitive pieces from the ’60s and ’70s that still sparkle today—and represent a gold mine for art historians of the period. From John Cage to Allan Kaprow, Mark Rothko to Ludwig Wittgenstein, Antin takes the reader on an idiosyncratic, personal journey through twentieth-century culture with his trademark antiformalist panache—one that will be welcomed by any fan of this consummate trailblazer.

“A decade before he became the seminal ‘talk poet’ we all know, David Antin was already writing some of the best art criticism in America. In the waning days of Abstract Expressionism, Antin introduced other ways of thinking about art that looked ahead to twenty-first-century modes of conceptualism, performance, and digital poetics. This superb selection from his writings, which brings together essays—some of them already classics—and a number of talk pieces from the last forty years, is a real treasure: there is something here for anyone who cares about the arts today.”—Marjorie Perloff

“Was Descartes the first (and best) novelist? Why is the most durable art the most indigestible (Duchamp, for example)? In what sense was Ezra Pound provincial and T. S. Eliot a snobbish butler? How did W. H. Auden become a blight upon the land? Why does good video art have to be boring? Do artists own their ideas? (Answer: No!) David Antin’s writing sparkles with bold, surprising judgments, dazzling transitions, precise observations, and hilarious wisecracks. His book is essential reading for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the debates over art and literature in the postmodern era, as narrated by one of its most brilliant and independent voices. Radical Coherency offers more pleasure per page than most of what passes for criticism today.”—W. J. T. Mitchell



Art Essays

Warhol: The Silver Tenement
Alex Katz and the Tactics of Representation
Jean Tinguely’s New Machine
Lead Kindly Blight
“It Reaches a Desert in which Nothing Can Be Perceived but Feeling”
Art and the Corporations
Video, the Distinctive Features of the Medium
Have Mind, Will Travel
the existential allegory of the rothko chapel
Duchamp: The Meal and the Remainder
Allan at Work

Literary Essays

Modernism and Postmodernism: Approaching the Present in Modern American Poetry
Some Questions about Modernism
radical coherency
The Stranger at the Door
The Beggar and the King
“the death of the hired man”
Wittgenstein among the Poets
john cage uncaged is still cagey

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