Download the Series Preface

The Art Seminar is a series of seven books, involving hundreds of scholars from around the word. All the titles are available online.

The idea of the series was to be conversational and open-ended, producing a cross-section of current understandings on each topic. The reasons for the open architecture and dialogic form of the series are set out in the Series Preface.

In the last volume of the series there’s a Series Afterword, taking stock of the entire project. What seemed especially interesting was the differing degrees of incoherence in the seven subjects, which may be indicative of the current state of theorizing. The Afterword concludes that the art world has a deeper kind of incoherence, beyond simple pluralism or relativism. Contributors to vol. 2, for example, sometimes had positions on what theories should be taken to underwrite photography; but other contributors had no position on theories, even though they considered themselves writers on the subject of photo theory. That kind of incoherence was in evidence in each of these seven volumes. It would be as if a group of physicists included some who weren’t sure if E = mc^2, but didn’t really care. I was amazed to see that kind of multiply layered self-contradiction reappear in each event, and for me it was the takehome value of the entire enormous project.

Vol. 1:     Art History versus Aesthetics, with an Introduction by Robert Gero, Afterwords by Jay Bernstein and Marc Redfield, and assessments by Arthur Danto, Thierry De Duve, Diarmuid Costello, Andrew Benjamin, Stephen Melville, Adrian Rifkin, Paul Crowther, Wendy Steiner, John Hyman, Richard Woodfield, Anna Dezeuze, Keith Moxey, Matthew Rampley, and about twenty others (New York: Routledge, 2005).

Vol. 2:    Photography Theory (the entire book is available here), with an introduction by Sabine Kriebel, an Afterword by Walter Benn Michaels, and contributions by Joel Snyder, Margaret Iversen, Jan Baetens, Liz Wells, Geoffrey Batchen, Carol Squiers, Michael Leja, Margaret Olin, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Johan Swinnen, Steve Edwards, Rosalind Krauss, Alan Trachtenberg, Diarmuid Costello, Victor Burgin, Graham Smith, Anne McCauley, Walter Benn Michaels, and others (New York: Routledge, 2006).

Vol. 3:    Is Art History Global?, with an Afterword by Shelly Errington, and contributions by Friedrich Teja Bach, Cao Yiqiang, Shigemi Inaga, Craig Clunas, Suman Gupta, David Carrier, Matthew Rampley, Keith Moxey, Andrea Giunta, Sandra Klopper, Barbara Stafford, Charlotte Bydler, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Mariusz Bryl, Keith Moxey, Suzana Milevska, Shelly Errington, David Summers, and others  (New York: Routledge, 2006).

Vol. 4:    The State of Art Criticism (the entire book is available here), co-edited with Michael Newman,  with contributions by Stephen Melville, Dave Hickey, Irit Rogoff, Guy Brett, Katy Deepwell, Joseph Masheck, Peter Plagens, Julian Stallabrass, Alex Alberro, Whitney Davis, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, and others (New York: Routledge, 2007).

Vol. 5:    Renaissance Theory (the Seminar itself is uploaded here), co-edited with Robert Williams, with an Introduction by Rebecca Zorach and contributions by Stephen Campbell, Fredrika Jacobs, Matt Kavaler, Michael Cole, Claire Farago, Alessandro Nova, and others (New York: Routledge, 2007).

Vol. 6:    Landscape Theory (the entire book is uploaded here), co-edited with Rachael DeLue, with contributions by Rachael DeLue, Yvonne Scott, Minna Törmä, Denis Cosgrove, Rebecca Solnit, Anne Whiston Spirn, David Hays, Michael Gaudio, Jacob Wamberg, Michael Newman, Jessica Dubow, and others (New York: Routledge, 2008).

Vol. 7:    Re-Enchantment (the seminar conversation is here), co-edited by David Morgan, with contributions by Thierry de Duve, Boris Groys, Wendy Doniger, Kajri Jain, and others (New York: Routledge, 2008).

A poster for the final event in the series, Chicago, 2007.