Faculty Activities: Tom McDonough in Social Histories of Art


Associate Professor Tom McDonough‘s introductions and commentary for two of T. J. Clark’s essays were recently published in  Social Histories of Art: A Critical Anthology, (les presses du réel, June 2016) under the auspices of the Institut national d’histoire de l’art. This anthology gathers together significant art historical primary texts and situates them in the discipline’s history:

The history of art is not singular. This young discipline, which since the nineteenth century has attempted to conquer its autonomy as a science, is to be read and practiced (preferably, at least) by relating and linking it to a context — diverse, burgeoning, and sometimes unstable, but rich: such is the purpose that governs this book.
Repeatedly, throughout the twentieth century, voices were heard proposing a reading of artistic production informed by material, economic, political, or institutional conditions. This anthology in two volumes makes these voices resonate by proposing a path that sweeps that century, from 1930 to 2000, between Europe and the United States. It allows us to read, chronologically, thirty-three texts, some of which are little known, often translated into French for the first time, and presented and commented by today’s art historians. From one chapter to another, in connection with an art history that leads the reader from the Florentine Renaissance to photography, from the art of the Netherlands to the recent history of museums, these extracts debate Marxist readings and gender studies, technical approaches and theoretical essays, without ignoring the crises, tensions, aporias, and even the silences that have punctuated this history.

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