Brigitte Weingart


    Thirteen scholars, critics, writers, and artists choose the year’s outstanding titles.

    T. J. CLARK

    No great surprise about my book of the year. I had been waiting for Michael Fried’s The Moment of Caravaggio (Princeton University Press) ever since hearing him present an early version of its opening ideas in Berkeley years ago, and when the volume arrived it took me by storm. I have never understood the churlishness of so much mainstream art history when confronted with the latest episode in Fried’s lifelong research project, but no doubt there will be the usual rolling of eyes in certain quarters

  • Michael Taussig’s What Color Is the Sacred?

    IT IS A GERMAN SOLDIER of the early nineteenth century, of all people, who turns out to epitomize this book on color—on color, partly, as “we in the West” see it (or don’t see it), and how this perception is linked to the effects of colonial history on the imagination. As Goethe recounts in his Zur Farbenlehre (Theory of Colors), this soldier, having returned to Hesse from America, painted his face in vivid colors in the style of the “savages” (Wilde) he had come across in the New World. We don’t need to read Michael Taussig’s admission in his final chapter to discover that the author identifies

  • “The Great Transformation: Art and Tactical Magic”

    “The Great Transformation” attempts to take magic seriously without subscribing to its transcendental claims, using it instead as a means of investigating power relations and alternative concepts of subjectivity.

    As the already quaint self-image of our times as “enlightened” continues to be revealed as mere wishful thinking, the art world's increasing interest in the rites of supernatural belief comes as no surprise. “The Great Transformation”—a group show, organized by Chus Martínez, featuring the work of specialists in pop culture's complicities with the irrational, such as Allan Ruppersberg and Mike Kelley, along with contributions from the Center for Tactical Magic, Goshka Macuga, Olivia Plender, and others—attempts to take magic seriously without subscribing to its transcendental