ruins – thoughts on the aesthetic

An exhibition currently at the Tate in London is exploring British images of ruin since the 18th century. Ruin Lust, an exhibition at Tate Britain from 4 March 2014, offers a guide to the mournful, thrilling, comic and perverse uses of ruins in art from the seventeenth century to the present day. The exhibition is…

theory of ruin – hylography

– the clouds take on shapes almost recognizable – the waves on the shore offer smooth gestures in the sand – the gravestone inscription weathers such that it appears to have lost all form … but not quite This is hylography – the process of emergence and disappearance, intentional or unintentional, of graphical form out…

Ruin Memories

The Ruin Memories project is drawing to a close. Here is the introduction to the final portfolio: Modernity is rarely associated with ruins. In our everyday comprehension ruins rather bring to mind ancient and enchanted monumental structures; an archaeological dream world featuring celebrities such as Machu Picchu, Pompeii and Angkor Wat. Yet never have so…

political engagement, contemporary art, archaeology

Six Lines of Flight: Shifting Geographies in Contemporary Art has just closed at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art [Link] [Link] The topic of the exhibition – contemporary art in six “far-flung” cities not typically defined as traditional centers of the art world: Beirut, Cali, Cluj-Napoca, Ho Chi Minh City, San Francisco, Tangier. Ostensibly this is…

Ben Cullen

On the anniversary of the untimely and sudden death of Ben Cullen in 1995. [Link] [Link] [Link] I dedicated my book, The Archaeological Imagination [Link], published in April, to Ben. It is seventeen years today since he died. Uncanny. I wonder what I would say to him about the book, that might reveal how much…

automotive archaeology and the physiognomy of a car

Fred Simeone’s new book about the conservation and preservation of cars is out today, launched at Bonhams’s “Preserving the Automobile” auction at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, Philadelphia, – [Link]. Fred is prompting a reevaluation of car collecting with his support for sensitive preservation rather than restoration. There have been two preservation classes of cars…

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