Tag Archives: Major Art

Andy Freeberg

Andy Freeberg should have been a major league baseball player as his projects hit home run after home run.  His new project, Art Fare, just rounded the corner and crossed home base, again. And he’s just opened an exhibition of Art Fare at the Paul Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles which will run through October 27th.

Born in NYC, Andy was an early observer of a sophisticated city culture and after college in Michigan, began a professional photography career in New York taking portraits for such publications as The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Time, and Fortune, photographing the likes of Michael Jackson, Bill Gates, and Neil Young. I think being a native New Yorker cultivates a wry and subtlety pointed way of looking at the world, kind of like the cool guy at the party who holds back and observes the drunken dance floor, with a smirk and a knowing.

Stroganov Palace, Russian State Museum, from Guardians
Andy has been fascinated with the gallery and museum worlds for a long time and often turns his camera on the dealers, gallery patrons, artists, museum guards, and their interplay with the works of art themselves. His project Guardians, about the women that guard the art in Russian museums, won Photolucida’s Critical Mass book award and was published in 2010. One of my favorite series, Sentry, takes a look at galleristas that stand guard at the reception desks in the world of Chelsea galleries in NYC.

Metro Pictures, from Sentry

Art Fare: Gallery owners and their staff are usually hidden behind large entry desks and closed office doors. But at the major art fairs I’ve visited, like New York’s Armory Show and Art Basel in Miami and Switzerland, they’re in plain view in their booths.
As if on stage, you can see art dealers meeting with collectors, selling and negotiating, talking on cell phones, working on laptops, and manipulating touch screens in 21st century postures newly adapted for the latest electronic devices. I found the lighting, costumes, and set design excellent for photographing these living dioramas, where the art world plays itself.



Nina Menocal
Sean Kelly
 Annie de Villepoix

Skarstedt
Andrea Rosen
Christopher Cutts
Chuck and Andy at Gagosian

Claire Oliver

Gagosian

Hasted Hunt Kraeutler

Ileana Tounta

Leonard Ruethmueller
Marlborough
Rokeby
Gary Snyder
Spinello

Art Space Tokyo

Art Space Tokyo

Tokyo is not an easy place to get to grips with, especially for those of us who are used to the structure and scale of most European cities. Its multi-layered sprawl and labyrinthine underground transport network can make it feel like a never-ending maze. Like the city itself, Tokyo’s art scene can feel impenetrable to an outsider. The fluctuations of the art world make it difficult to keep up with the art landscape in any big city, but Tokyo more than most as the contemporary art market is not as developed and established as in the US or Europe. This doesn’t mean fewer galleries, but rather more of them and a constant ebb and flow of relocations, openings, and closures too. As a regular visitor to the city over the last decade, I still feel as if I have only seen the tip of the art scene iceberg. Galleries are often small, tiny even, and difficult to find, rarely at street level but tucked away in a basement or on the 4th floor of an anonymous building in a non-descript neighbourhood. Part of the charm if you’re gallery hopping, but if you actually have to get to a meeting, it can be a little more stressful. I often rely on Tokyo Art Beat, a kind of online art events guide (in both Japanese and English) including exhibition reviews that tells you what is on in Tokyo. A very useful tool, in its attempt to be comprehensive it also ends up being a little overwhelming and is probably more useful when you know what you are looking for.

Thankfully there is now another online English-language resource to turn to. Art Space Tokyo has existed as a physical book since 2008, but it has now been launched on digital platforms and as a website including three major sections: spaces, interviews and essays, as well as a timeline of some of the major art events in Tokyo over the last 60+ years. Rather than going for a comprehensive picture of the Tokyo art scene, Art Space Tokyo limits itself to a couple of handfuls of spaces and art world ‘players’, providing the essential info but also going into some depth and analysing current trends. The essays included also tackle interesting questions such as the nature of Japanese street art or the state of art journalism and criticism in Japan, making this much more than a guidebook to the Tokyo art world. The authors, Ashley Rawlings and Craig Mod, have also clearly given a lot of thought to translating all the content from a paper book to digital platforms (iPad, Kindle) and to a website. They have been generous too, putting up the entire contents of the book online for free, even holding on to Nobumasa Takahashi‘s great illustrations, rather than treating the site as a sneak preview promotional tool. This one is bound to come in handy on my next visit to Tokyo.

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Beyond Yale: Another View of New Haven

In her work, Elaine Stocki is a bit of a shape shifter. It’s hard to know by looking at the images, for example, if they come from a man or a woman. The perspective of the photographer is raceless, classless – even ageless. Stocki believes that this vagueness is central to her work: she endeavors to explore people without regard to their identities and in mixed groups. She prefers strangers to whom she can develop an intimacy from scratch.

“I like working with groups of people – groups of bodies because there’s an unexpected element to it,” she says, adding that she favors those who aren’t self-conscious doing odd things for the camera in public places. “And I don’t photograph people who I don’t like personally.”

Her vision has paid off this year in the form of a Grange Prize nomination—the prestigious Canadian public-voted major art award with a $50,000 prize—for her graduate school thesis project, Balcony. Stocki was one of four finalists, two of whom are mid-career artists. She’s still young and just a couple of years out of Yale’s MFA program. But her seemingly effortless complex compositions and intimate character studies have been earning her critical acclaim since her undergraduate days.

Growing up in Winnipeg, Man., Stocki was often photographed by her father, who was the designated family photographer and favored medium-format images taken with a Hasselblad. But it wasn’t until she was halfway through a Bachelors’ degree in chemistry at the University of Manitoba that she realized how much she needed an artistic outlet. Soon after, she settled on photography.

Armed with an undergraduate degree in photography, Stocki moved from her hometown to New Haven, Conn. But New Haven was more confusing than she anticipated.

“I felt like a fish out of water, even though my work was supported,” she says of her time at school in the disjointed city, which couples a modest local economy and a bit of urban decay with the wealthy bubble of the Yale campus. “I think for grad students with working class backgrounds, it’s a bit surreal to be thrown into this world of extreme privilege and to be told that you belong to this community. It didn’t feel true.”

In those first few months, Stocki experienced a wide range of emotions, including some anger and frustration over the disconnect between community and school. It was in this period that she met William, a man who was known around campus for occasionally panhandling. Stocki asked William to model for her and the rest is history: the two grew close and Stocki was able to meet his live-in girlfriend, family and friends. Theirs was a two-year relationship built on friendship and on a stunning collection of work.

While the school continued to feel foreign to her, the surrounding town reminded her of Winnipeg: a working class population in a town with a great deal of open and forgotten space. She found it easy to move around the city, using its landscape as her backdrop without worrying about interference. Walking around outside Yale’s reach, she found small areas that caught her eye: porches, a rock wall. She’d bring William or one of her other subjects to that space—alone or in a group—and begin to set up one of the layered scenes for which she is known and admired.

Just don’t make it about her personal identity or the differences between her and her subjects. “For me it’s about creating a dialogue that is inclusive and not focused on race or class,” she says. “These people felt like my community.”

Elaine Stocki is a Brooklyn-based photographer. See more about her series here.

Meredith Melnick is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @MeredithCM

History’s Shadow: X-rays of Art Antiquities

maisel-hs_1.jpg

David Maisel, from History’s Shadow

Photographer David Maisel collaborated with major art museums to create a series of stunning photos of x-rays of antique statues, sculptures and fragile vessels. The title of the series is History’s Shadow, and the results are immediately compelling as they draw you in through multiple milky layers of translucent materials that could never be seen with the naked eye. long and foster .

Thanks to the miracle of x-rays, we’re able to see all of the surface features (front, back and sides, all at once), as well as the inner areas that display some pentimento-like traces of the artists’ hands plus the pins, nails, staples and struts that support these beautiful old works of art.

Maisel’s photos are beautifully eerie, ghost-like, and almost alive. It is as if we can visually see someone’s thought process, suspended and preserved, from hundreds of years ago.

maisel-hs_6.jpg

David Maisel, from History’s Shadow

Be sure to view the work in our high-resolution slide show, and read David’s insightful text about this project.

maisel-hs_14.jpg

David Maisel, from History’s Shadow

History’s Shadow: X-rays of Art Antiquities

maisel-hs_1.jpg

David Maisel, from History’s Shadow

Photographer David Maisel collaborated with major art museums to create a series of stunning photos of x-rays of antique statues, sculptures and fragile vessels. The title of the series is History’s Shadow, and the results are immediately compelling as they draw you in through multiple milky layers of translucent materials that could never be seen with the naked eye.

Thanks to the miracle of x-rays, we’re able to see all of the surface features (front, back and sides, all at once), as well as the inner areas that display some pentimento-like traces of the artists’ hands plus the pins, nails, staples and struts that support these beautiful old works of art. Welcome .

Maisel’s photos are beautifully eerie, ghost-like, and almost alive. It is as if we can visually see someone’s thought process, suspended and preserved, from hundreds of years ago.

maisel-hs_6.jpg

David Maisel, from History’s Shadow

Be sure to view the work in our high-resolution slide show, and read David’s insightful text about this project.

maisel-hs_14.jpg

David Maisel, from History’s Shadow

PAUL CHAN

PAUL CHAN
Interview by Shana Gallagher Lindsay
. . .
paul chan, 5th light, 2006, installation view
photo by martin runeborg

Paul Chan was born in Hong Kong (1973) and raised in Nebraska. He received his BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, and his MFA in film/video/new media from Bard College (2002). His work in various media oscillates between the delicate and the monumental, the subtle and the provocative, connecting complex ideas to today’s mass-media-disseminated material and cunningly deploying both traditional and newer techniques to re-imagine older notions.

Following graduate school, Chan produced a suite of three videos (Re: The Operation, 27 min., 2002; Baghdad in no Particular Order, 51 min., 2003; Now Promise Now Threat, 33 min. 2005) that at once articulate and blur distinctions (e.g., friend vs. foe) that we commonly use to position ourselves in the social sphere. Subsequently, The 7 Lights (2005-08), arguably Chan’s first major art-world success, challenges the common Western linkage of knowledge and creation to clarity (vs. darkness). The mesmerizing video features shadowy objects and figures that float or fall through a zone that insinuates a shaft of light from a window, and alludes at once to Biblical accounts of creation and destruction, Plato’s cave, and Alberti’s Renaissance window.
Seemingly finding a more rebellious source of inspiration, Chan came out with several sexually-infused works, including Sade for Sade’s Sake, which premiered at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009). The projection animates monumental silhouetted figures that alternately assemble in orgiastic frenzy and shatter through devices like syncopation and abstract formal arrangement, then disappear. Re-conceiving an otherwise non-sexual cultural terrain as a field charged with ecstasy and desire, Chan wrote Phaderus Pron (2008), a dialogue inspired by Plato’s Phaedrus, wherein the guidelines of a platonic master/student relationship are blissfully defied. Chan’s term, pron, is borrowed from “pr0n,” a masking-word devised to disguise Internet searches for pornography. Appropriating at the other end of the cultural spectrum from Plato and yet violating similar “laws,” Chan re-scripts a Law And Order episode with suggestive subtitles in the Mother of All Episodes (2009, 45 min. loop). Connected to the Sade project, Chan created fonts that compel users to generate a transgressive text. Working well beyond the traditional boundaries of many visual artists, Chan helped to organize a production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot in post-Katrina New Orleans in 2005. He has written insightfully on topics as seemingly disparate as Emanuel Kant, Walter Benjamin, the lyrics of the Insane Clown Posse, and the current economic recession.

Shana Gallagher Lindsay: Paul, I’d like to start with a fairly basic question about your well-known work, The 7 Lights (2005-2008) To what degree was the specific imagery of the projections meaningful?

PAUL CHAN: I suppose it is the degree to which one is willing to spend time with it.

paul chan, 5th light, 2006, installation view
photo by jason mandella

Lindsay: Descriptions of the work, such as that accompanying its exhibition at the New Museum (New York, 2006) liken it to the Biblical seven days of creation, and seven lights are also mentioned in the Book of Revelations. What kind of a hold does religion have on your thought?

CHAN: A surprising one. It’s surprising given that we’re now living in 2011. I didn’t think that at the beginning of the 21st century, religion would have such a hold on our social imagination. I just heard Obama’s speech last night in Arizona [the memorial for the Tucson shooting victims], and I was so struck by what was said. Two of the people that spoke were from his Administration: Eric Holder, the Attorney General, and Janet Napolitano, who is Homeland Security Director and who used to be the governor of Arizona. And as our top civil servants, they basically spoke only through the Bible. Napolitano quoted from the Old Testament, and Holder quoted from Paul, in Corinthians. They didn’t say anything else. They just quoted scripture. The implication is that religion, and Christianity in this country in particular, is the only social balm that offers any kind of solace for something like what happened in Arizona. But, we know that’s not true.

Lindsay: So it seems.

CHAN: Or let’s say it like this. Progress would be an image of immanent consolation. In any case, I think anyone who is even remotely interested in the present tense can’t help but see the hold religion has, here and there.

Lindsay: So, perhaps more after 9/11 than before?

CHAN: Here is an interesting parallel. It was only after going to Iraq before the 2003 occupation that I realized this. Historically, Iraq wasn’t a religious country. Whatever one may think of Saddam Hussein, his ambition was to create the first modern and secular Arab state, one that was neither beholden to Western colonial powers nor Muslim fundamentalists. It was only after the First Gulf War in 1990 that it became weaponized with a kind of institutional Islam, because Hussein used it as a way to mend the social fabric of the country after his country was decimated. And, so, the parallel between the social fabric ripping in Iraq, and then political orders using religion to try to mend it, in a way, parallels, I think, what is happening here.

Lindsay: It’s a galvanizing factor.

CHAN: Yeah, and, you know, I think the dreams of modernity are still there, but the idea that social, economic, and maybe even aesthetic progress can come from a kind of, well, immanence, as opposed to transcendence, I think, seems to be an anachronism today. It’s sad but true. Maybe it’s not sadâ€it’s obviously not sad for the people who believe, because it’s just prophecy, I suppose.

Lindsay: You have been critical of certain social media. [Paul Chan, “The Unthinkable Community,” e-flux Journal]. You have likewise criticized recent video and new media art, and the manner of their presentation in galleries and museums. Would you elaborate on your critique?

CHAN: I can. Someday. And it will be incisive and illuminating.

paul chan, 3rd light, 2006, idigital video projection, table, 14:00

Lindsay: What are distinctions between your work in new media, and that of which you, perhaps, don’t approve?

CHAN: I approve of all the work. I just don’t want to be around any of it.

Lindsay: Do you think there’s a kind of crescendo in culture now, a sort of urgency to be “of one’s time,” that is problematic? You went to school for new media, right?

CHAN: I studied film and video. New media was just in the air.

Lindsay: So, was there a kind of critical view of it there, or was everyone pretty much gung ho?

CHAN: I think that at the time that I went to school, new media was different from what we know of it now. In, say, 2000-2001, new media was really about the Web. Online manifestations held the promise for a kind of interactivity that was mediated by programming or different formal expressions. This mediation no longer exists. Somehow there is no longer mediation. New media has transformed into the promise of social media. And so, connections have themselves become forms of expression. Atlanta Garbage Disposal Repair .

Lindsay: So, you engage various media in your works: .gif format animations, projected videos, installations. Does media bear much of the meaning in your work? Is the medium at all the message?

CHAN: I don’t know how to answer that except that it is something that I use.

paul chan, happiness (finally) after 35,000 years of civilization (after henry darger and charles fourier) (still), 2000-2003, mini pc, installation instructions, sparkle vellum screen and equipment specifications

Lindsay:: And, if you were using a flip book, or something, for the Darger work that you did [Happiness (finally) after 35,000 Years of Civilizationâ€after Henry Darger and Charles Fourier, projected digital animation, color, 17 min., 2000-2003], would it have a similar resonance?

CHAN: I don’t know. When I do work, I have a flash of an idea or thought in my mind, and then I sit on it for a couple days, a couple weeks, months, or a couple of years. And if the thought sticks around, then I realize that it has the potential of being more than a thought, and that it should become something more than mindfulness. Essence becomes appearance. And how it appears, then, is the way something transforms from a thought into a thing, and then into something else. And so, I don’t care actually whether the thing is a flip book or a video or a projection. It only matters what this thought which becomes a thing can change both in the process to become something wholly other.

Lindsay: Some of your videos are long projections.

CHAN: Is that a compliment?

Lindsay: You could say that your art makes time for itself and demands the viewers’ time. Would you discuss your interest in time? I know you have discussed it in various contexts.

CHAN: Sure. First, I feel like I don’t have any… And I don’t know if this right, but it seems to me that one way to not feel like this is to make time. watch movies .

Lindsay: We can produce it.

CHAN: Yes. When I make work, the pleasure of the making comes from how this work holds me in its time. One makes time as much as one makes work. And it seems to me that this is important because time is also what we spend to make a being of ourselves. I am constantly at a loss as to how to make more of it.

Lindsay: Do you think your kind of art heightens one’s awareness of time spent?

CHAN: Some people have said I have wasted their time. And sometimes, in my less successful works, I have wasted my own.

Lindsay: You seem to understand your role as something of a catalyst. Am I correct in this assessment?

CHAN: Who said that?

Lindsay: I just see that. watch movies online .

CHAN: Really? I guess I’d have to deny it.

Lindsay: Really?

CHAN: Catalyst for what?

Lindsay: Well, maybe forging communities rather than networking.

CHAN: It’s hard to tell the difference these days.

paul chan and christopher mcelroen, waiting for godot, 2007
creative time, new york and the classical theater of harlem

Lindsay: Is it? How about in your work Waiting for Godot in New Orleans, your work with students and artists down there?†it seems that this was an important aspect of the project for youâ€people coming together and then taking off from that point.

CHAN: There were many aspects to that project. What I appreciate most about the experience was that they were all equidistant in import to what happened.

Lindsay: I have another question about that particular work. I was reminded of Robert Smithson’s sites/non-sites and Hans Haacke’s politicized installations when I saw your recent installation at The Museum of Modern Art of objects and ephemera from the New Orleans project. Are you inspired by these artists? And why is this kind of documentary presentation important? Why not just show the video of the performance?

CHAN: I’m interested in Smithson. Seeing his retrospective, I was surprised at how Christian his works fundamentally were. We know of his earthworks. I didn’t know his paintings. At first, it seemed jarring to see the paintings and then the earthworks. But then the more you expose yourself to them, the more you see the continuity of what is happening†especially the idea of redemption. I think that showing the video is the surest way of lying. I think video today has the feeling of it being it. And it’s not it.

Lindsay: “It” meaning what it’s all about, the meaning of it.

CHAN: I don’t think the props would do it either. I think the important thing is to remind people that whatever you show, this isn’t it. I think that’s as close as it gets.

Lindsay: There’s always something else.

CHAN: As close as it gets.

Lindsay: It’s always an approximation.

CHAN: Yes.

Lindsay: The issue of sacrifice has come up in your comments and writings. For instance, in your talk, “Spirit of the Recession,” a privileged class unjustifiably exacts sacrifice from the underclass. You have discussed the displacement of religion onto secular behavior. Are there any particular texts that have inspired your thinking in this direction?

CHAN: Our mutual friend, Bob Hullot-Kentor, of course. There are definitely others. I just guest edited an issue of e-flux Journal with an art historian and critic from the Netherlands, Sven Lütticken. It’s about the rise of right-wing populism in the US and Europe. And I write about how in this country, when things go wrong, people feel like someone has to pay. And that’s as succinct as it gets. Someone has to pay. This is the impulse to sacrifice, right? But, strangely, it’s never the people who fucked it up in the first place; it’s always someone else. And I think this impulse is not modern; but it’s also not eternal. I think thinking through what it actually means is one thing; and then finding forms that would articulate it in a way that is illuminatingâ€finding ways to illuminate it from within would be useful.

Lindsay: What is it that you value in the sexual content of your recent work?

CHAN: What I value most is how it made sex for me the truer image of sex than before, which is, that it is not sex. It is entangled in such a way that it renewed a particular image of it for me. The idea of the Sade project has been in my mind for a while, and I finally took the time to do it, and in doing it, renewed a particular image of sex that, I think, is as complex and contradictory as it ought to be.

paul chan, sade for sade’s sake, 2009, digital projection, 5 hours, 45 minutes looped

Lindsay: And how would you describe your relationship as artist with the viewer or readerâ€because there are the Pron texts [such as Composition as Explanation Pron where you transfigure a seminal text by Gertrude Stein as a pornographic monologue]â€at the time the sexually-charged content is consumed by the viewer/reader?

CHAN: I don’t know. That brings to mind an image of me doing some sort of focus group experiment, where I’m behind a one-way mirror, watching people reading it. From the sales of the books online, I would say there are no readers. And, if there were, they’re not telling me what it’s like to read it. I did do a public reading of Pron, though. And it was both tedious and pleasurable.

Lindsay: Well, your voice changes that. I listened to that reading. The way you read it gave it more harmony.

CHAN: Well, thank you. But, I would like to think that, if one were to have a quiet dayâ€let’s say, riding on New Jersey Transitâ€and you were to start reading it aloud, one would find that the only way to make sense of it would be to make it rhythmic. Perhaps sense is nothing but rhythm? What was interesting about doing the book, and about doing Sade [Sade for Sade’s Sake, 5h, 45min. video projection, fonts, drawings, installation, 2010], was the insight that pornography and poetry both use rhythm to be more than what they are. In the work of some, this is clear. Sade, for instance, or Sappho. So, what I wanted to do with the fonts that I made, which is the “vocabulary” for the novel, was to distill the idea of rhythm-as-sex. That was the interesting compositional challengeâ€what happens when you charge words and phrases that are not sensical, but not nonsensical, with this compositional rhythm.

Lindsay: And there it would seem that the medium is important, as you [the artist] can control rhythm [in animation] or [with the fonts] you can give some control to a user.

paul chan, the body of oh ho_darlin (truetype font), 2008, ink on paper and mixed media

CHAN: More and less. In the case of the fonts, they reduce your ability to communicate at the same time that they give you the chance to type what I imagine you want to say anyway.

Lindsay: You seem to have transformed the idea of the archive with your website, National Philistine. You have vivified it, so it is no longer a “tomb” with “relics,” where art historians go to excavate, but rather, a forum, in whichâ€particularly due to your readings of other people’s textsâ€the dead and the living connect, virtually. To what extent are your art and your archive the same? Or are they separate in your mind?

CHAN: They’re not the same but they’re not separate. I put stuff online when I have time and when I feel like it. I put stuff online that is sometimes half finished, that is, in a way, incomplete. And I like it that way. It’s a cross between a half-forgotten folder, a trashcan, and a compost heap.

And, to me, it keeps a particular notion of new media alive: the idea of giving stuff away. I think this is actually the one of the most interesting notions we have now. We live in a time when scarcity may not be what gives something value. Like musicians, who give away whole albums for free in order to continue working and living, we’re seeing that scarcity does not create value as much as it used to.

Lindsay: A kind of potlatch.

CHAN: I suppose. Being someone who came up at a time when the Web was just flowering, I had the experience of just making stuff and putting it up, and I see this as a continuation of that kind of spirit. Now, it doesn’t mean that you have to be puritanical about it. It doesn’t mean that you should give away everything; there should be some distinctions to be made. But then the question is: What are those distinctions? I think that’s constantly negotiated, and negotiable. I finally just downloaded the Girl Talk album, and it’s great. And you know, I started an e-book press, and I want to sell e-books…

Lindsay: Badlands Unlimited?

CHAN: Yeah, but, all the books I read are free, and are illegal e-books. And I don’t even go to see movies any more, I just download them off of BitTorrent, and that’s just the way it is. And it’s great. I always had this idea that there should be a law that if something is really popularâ€lets say if 50,000 or 100,000 people like it enoughâ€that, by law, it should be free.

Lindsay: You once stated that successful art is that which is memorable. What do you hope will be memorable about your work?

CHAN: I said that?

Lindsay: Yeah.

CHAN: Where was it?

Lindsay: An interview [with Beth Capper in F Newsmagazine] where you were discussing other unnamed people’s collages, bricollages, and you said that what made some stand out from others was that they were memorable. So, I was wondering what you want to be memorable about your work.

CHAN: A difficult question…

Lindsay: Difficult because its too broad?

CHAN: No. Because it puts me in a position of telling other people what they ought to take away from the work. And so, maybe the best thing to say is: I hope that what people remember about the work is, at the least, is that it is not it. Whatever it is, it is not it.

REFERENCES
Chan, Paul and Sven Lütticken. e-flux Journal [http://www.e-flux.com/journal/issue/22]
Hullot-Kentor, Robert. “Origin Is the Goal,” in Things Beyond Resemblence: Collected Essays on Theodor W. Adorno (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2006), 1â€22.

. . .
2011