The Art of Mechanical Reproduction

Technology and Aesthetics from Duchamp to the Digital

Tamara Trodd

The Art of Mechanical Reproduction

Tamara Trodd

368 pages | 72 color plates, 62 halftones | 8 1/2 x 10 | © 2014
Cloth $50.00 ISBN: 9780226131191 Will Publish October 2015
E-book $50.00 ISBN: 9780226178172 Will Publish October 2015
The Art of Mechanical Reproduction presents a striking new approach to how traditional art mediums—painting, sculpture, and drawing—changed in the twentieth century in response to photography, film, and other technologies. Countering the modernist view that the medium provides advanced art with “resistance” against technological pressures, Tamara Trodd argues that we should view art and its practices as imaginatively responding to the potential that artists glimpsed in mechanical reproduction, putting art into dialogue with the commercial cultures of its time.

The Art of Mechanical Reproduction weaves a rich history of the experimental networks in which artists as diverse as Paul Klee, Hans Bellmer, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Smithson, Gerhard Richter, Chris Marker, and Tacita Dean have worked, and it shows for the first time how extensively technological innovations of the moment have affected their work. Original and broad-ranging, The Art of Mechanical Reproduction challenges some of the most respected and entrenched criticism of the past several decades—and allows us to think about these artists anew.
Review Quotes
Alexander Potts, University of Michigan
“Trodd’s analysis stands out for its level of thoughtfulness and intellectual sophistication and for its perceptive and inventive engagement with larger theoretical issues that have been debated intensively in the art historical literature of the past few decades. The book offers a way of moving beyond the closures of current thinking on the vexed question of how picturing and drawing practices have been reshaped by the technologizing of the image in modern media.”
David Lomas, University of Manchester
The Art of Mechanical Reproduction is adroit and well informed across a broad swath of modern and contemporary art; it is bold and fearless in tackling heavyweight writers in the field, and the literary standard throughout is exceptionally high. The fine-textured visual analyses and Trodd’s weave of cross-connections bind together what on the surface are quite disparate case studies. A most impressive work.”
Margaret Iversen, University of Essex
“Trodd’s book is original, rigorous, and written in a lively prose style. It engages with theories of art following Walter Benjamin concerned with our interaction as subjects with the technical image. The ‘post-cinematic’ art she analyzes is born of an encounter with the machine. Instead of bemoaning that encounter, Trodd conveys something of the early avant-garde’s excitement in the new technology while also maintaining a critical edge. Her excitement is contagious.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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