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Archer, Michael (1997) Material culture: the object in British art of the 1980s and '90s. London: South Bank Centre

'Material Culture' is a phrase used by anthropologists and archeologists to describe physical products of peoples under their scrutiny. The term suggests that culture is something tangible which can take material form.

This book is the accompanying catalogue to the 'Material Culture' exhibition held at the Hayward Gallery in 1996. The exhibition included about seventy works of art that focused on independent objects.

Bacon, Julie (ed) (2008) Arkive City. Belfast: Interface University of Ulster

Arkive City invites the reader on a journey through Kilmainham Gaol and Museum, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the Live Art Archives, to the Imperial War Museum, Arnolfini art centre and the Stasi Archive, to name but a few. The contributors to Arkive City map out important questions and shifts in interest that have arisen from the changing role of archiving in culture, and its relationship with the arts, through their work: curating exhibitions in museums, (de)constructing (art) history, running library and government archives, initiating archives in arts organisations, and shaping individual practice.

Clifford, James (1988) The predicament of culture: twentieth-century ethnography, literature and art. Cambridge: London: Harvard University Press

The Predicament of Culture is a critical ethnography of the west in its changing relations with other societies. Analysing cultural practices such as anthropology, travel writing, collecting, and museum displays of tribal art, Clifford shows authoritative accounts of other ways of life to be contingent fictions, now actively contested in post-colonial contexts. His critique raises questions of global significance: who has authority to speak for any group’s identity and authenticity? What are the essential elements and boundaries of a culture? How do self and “the other” clash in the encounters of ethnography, travel, and modern interethnic relations? Throughout The Predicament of Culture he argues that culture is now less a site of origins and rooting than of translation and transplanting.

Clifford, James (1997) Routes: travel and translation in the late twentieth century. Cambridge, Mass; London: Harvard University Press

This book is the follow up to the Predicament of Culture in which Clifford takes the proper measure: a moving picture of a world that doesn't stand still, that reveals itself en route, in the airport lounge and the tourist parking lot as much as in the marketplace and the museum. In this collage of essays Clifford takes travel and its difficult companion translation, as openings into a complex modernity. Clifford's concern is with the struggles to displace stereotypes, to recognise divergent histories, to sustain 'postcolonial' and 'tribal' identities in the contexts of domination and globalization.

Coles, Alex (2000) Site-specificity: the ethnographic turn. London: Black Dog, 2000

 

The return to real discusses the development of the 20th century art and its connection to the critical theory. Foster focuses on artists active after 1960, such as Andy Warhol, Robert Smithson, Barbara Kruger, Mike Kelley, and Cindy Sherman, among others. The book traces art movements and fashions in art from "art-as-text" in the 1970s, through "art-as-simulacrum" in the 1980s, to the present moment, when according to Foster the return to the real dominates, return to art and theory grounded in the materiality of actual bodies and social sites.

Derrida, Jacques (1996) Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression. Translated by Eric Prenowitz. University of Chicago Press

Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression is a deconstructive analysis of the notion of archiving, using Freudian psychoanalysis as the point of reference. This book explores what archives mean, contain and how they are constructed in relation to power, politics and technology. Archival fever can be interpreted as irresistible impulse to preserve, search for origins, hidden truths and unwavering principles. However, neither the structure nor the researcher's approach to archives can be neutral. Derrida explains the Greek etymology of "archive", which connotes both "commencement" and "commandment" implying that authority is as much at stake as authenticity. As a magazine of civic record and social history the archive seem to be a public entity, in fact it is filled in with the personal, even intimate, artefacts of private lives.

Enwezor, Okwui (2008) Archive fever: uses of the document in contemporary art. Göttingen: Steidl

This book takes its title from Jacques Derrida's book of the same name, which analyse the ambivalent notion of the archives in relation to authenticity and authority. Enwezor’s book gathers contemporary artists who share fascination on photography and film as the quintessential media of the archive and use archival related materials in their art practice. Practitioners included in the book: Tacita Dean, Stan Douglas, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Zoe Leonard, Ilan Lieberman, Walid Raad, Thomas Ruff, Anri Sala, Fazal Sheikh, Eyal Sivan, Lorna Simpson and Vivan Sundaram, among others.

Foster, Hal (1996) The return of the real: the avant-garde at the end of the century. October books: Cambridge, London: MIT Press

The return to real discusses the development of the 20th century art and its connection to the critical theory. Foster focuses on artists active after 1960, such as Andy Warhol, Robert Smithson, Barbara Kruger, Mike Kelley, and Cindy Sherman, among others. The book traces art movements and fashions in art from "art-as-text" in the 1970s, through "art-as-simulacrum" in the 1980s, to the present moment, when according to Foster the return to the real dominates, return to art and theory grounded in the materiality of actual bodies and social sites.

Foucault, Michel (2002) The Archaeology of Knowledge. Routledge classics: London: Routledge

In this book, Susan Pearce explores the philosophies and cultural traditions that underlie museums, their collections and the objects that make them up. She probes the psychological and social reasons that people collect and identifies three modes of collecting: collecting as souvenirs, as fetishes, and as systematic assemblages. The study then considers how museum professionals set policies of collection management; acquire, study, and exhibit objects; and make meaning of the objects in their care. Pearce also explores the ideological relationship between museums and their collections and the intellectual and social relationships of museums to the public.

Holly, Michael Ann and Smith, Marquart (eds.) (2008) What is research in the visual arts? : obsession, archive, encounter. Williamstown, Mass. : Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

This series of thirteen essays focuses on the philosophical and practical issues facing those undertaking research in the visual arts. The authors explore the remarkable nature of art historians’ personal, political, aesthetic and creative curiosity and the process of doing research in the archive, library, studio, gallery, museum, and beyond. As such, the book considers the pleasures and dangers of researchers’ obsessions and encounters with the incoherence, chaos, and wonder that lie at the heart of searching for the not-yet-known. International contributors from academia, publishing, and the arts industries provide essays on two broad topics: encounters and obsessions, and the world and the archive. Particular studies include the researcher as collector of failed goods, archival obsessions and obsessive archives; research as obsession with the scent of history; and new words on cold cases.

Hooper-Greenhill, Eileen (1992) Museums and the shaping of knowledge. London: Routledge

Of particular interest to museum professionals, Museums and the Shaping of Knowledge reviews past and present practices regarding the relationship between the context and interpretation of an object.
Drawing on numerous case studies, Hooper-Greenhill presents a critical survey of museums and their changing roles in the production and shaping of knowledge. She shows how, at a time when funding is becoming increasingly scarce and difficult questions are being asked about the justification of museums, they are once again organising their spaces and collections to present themselves as environments for experimental and self-directed learning.

Pearce, Susan M. (1992) Museums, objects and collections: a cultural study: Leicester: Leicester University Press

In this book, Susan Pearce explores the philosophies and cultural traditions that underlie museums, their collections and the objects that make them up. She probes the psychological and social reasons that people collect and identifies three modes of collecting: collecting as souvenirs, as fetishes, and as systematic assemblages. The study then considers how museum professionals set policies of collection management; acquire, study, and exhibit objects; and make meaning of the objects in their care. Pearce also explores the ideological relationship between museums and their collections and the intellectual and social relationships of museums to the public.

Merewether, Charles (2006) The Archive: Documents of contemporary art. London: Whitechapel 

Published in Whitechapel’s Documents of Contemporary Art series, this book includes writings by Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault, Hal Foster and many others, and essays on the archival practice of such artists as Gerhard Richter, Susan Hiller, Ilya Kabakov, Christian Boltanski, Renee Green, and The Atlas Group. It identifies as a defining feature of the modern era the significance given to the archive in all its documentary forms - official, collective or personal - as the means by which historical knowledge and memory are collected, stored and recovered. The collection considers the archive as a key site of enquiry in fields such as anthropology, critical theory, history, and especially recent art.

Schaffner, Ingrid and Winzen, Matthias  (eds.) (1998). Deep storage: collecting, storing, and archiving in art. Munich, Prestel

 

Many artists have discovered collecting and saving as an artistic expression and have made the storage of objects and information the subject of their work. This ranges from digital memory to rows and stacks of materials to shelves, packaging crates, installations, and entire areas filled with diverse objects stored systematically or in states of utter chaos. This publication documents the importance of collecting and packaging , storing and archiving as a contempoary artistic strategy. It lends insight into the process of creating art, which itself is a result of collecting experiences and materials, by using the work of 40 internationally celebrated artists as examples. In this book these archives of materilas become work of art themselves. The documentation and exhibition of these extreme departures from conventional forms of collection and recollection is a project in the avant-garde tradition. In accordance with its subject matter, this book is organized like a storage file of information, in which the broad spectrum of artistic contributions, essays and texts by 25 authors is presented alphabetically

Spieker, Sven. (2008). The big archive: art from bureaucracy. Cambridge, Mass. ; London, MIT

This book investigates the archive as an overarching motif in twentieth century art, showing that the avant-garde used the archive as a laboratory for experimental enquiries into the nature of vision and its relation to time. It examines the work of Dadaists, constructivist, surrealists and the work of more contemporary artists like Susan Hiller, Gerhard Richter and Walid Raad. It considers archivally driven art in relation to changing media technologies (the typewriter, the telephone, the telegraph, film) and as an attack on the objectification of the historical process.