WorldCat Identities

Elkins, James 1955-

Overview
Works: 246 works in 873 publications in 5 languages and 27,892 library holdings
Genres: History  Case studies  Conference papers and proceedings  Periodicals  Cross-cultural studies 
Roles: Author, Editor, Thesis advisor, Author of introduction, Contributor, Interviewee, Creator, Interviewer
Publication Timeline
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Most widely held works by James Elkins
What painting is : how to think about oil painting, using the language of alchemy by James Elkins( Book )

24 editions published between 1998 and 2018 in English and Italian and held by 1,806 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Here, Elkins argues that alchemists and painters have similar relationships to the substances they work with. Both try to transform the substance, while seeking to transform their own experience
Why art cannot be taught : a handbook for art students by James Elkins( Book )

12 editions published in 2001 in English and held by 1,630 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In this smart survival guide for students and teachers--the only book of its kind--James Elkins examines the "curious endeavor to teach the unteachable" that is generally known as college-level art instruction. This singular project is organized around a series of conflicting claims about art:"Art can be taught, but nobody knows quite how." "Art can be taught, but it seems as if it can't be since so few students become outstanding artists." "Art cannot be taught, but it can be fostered or helped along." "Art cannot be taught or even nourished, but it is possible to teach right up to the beginnings of art so that students are ready to make art the moment they graduate." "Great art cannot be taught, but more run-of-the-mill art can be." Elkins traces the development (or invention) of the modern art school and considers how issues such as the question of core curriculum and the intellectual isolation of art schools affect the teaching and learning of art. He also addresses the phenomenon of art critiques as a microcosm for teaching art as a whole and dissects real-life critiques, highlighting presuppositions and dynamics that make them confusing and suggesting ways to make them more helpful. Elkins's no-nonsense approach clears away the assumptions about art instruction that are not borne out by classroom practice. For example, he notes that despite much talk about instilling visual acuity and teaching technique, in practice neither teachers nor students behave as if those were their principal goals. He addresses the absurdity of pretending that sexual issues are absent from life-drawing classes and questions the practice of holding up great masters and masterpieces as models for students capable of producing only mediocre art. He also discusses types of art--including art that takes time to complete and art that isn't serious--that cannot be learned in studio art classes. Why Art Cannot Be Taught is a response to Elkins's observation that "we know very little about what we do" in the art classroom. His incisive commentary illuminates the experience of learning art for those involved in it, while opening an intriguing window for those outside the discipline. - Publisher
Visual cultures by James Elkins( )

17 editions published between 2010 and 2011 in English and Undetermined and held by 1,371 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

A study of the place of visuality and literacy in specific nations around the world, and includes essays on the value accorded to the visual and the verbal in Japan, Poland, China, Russia, Ireland, and Slovenia. It also raises and explores issues of national identity, and provides information for future research
Stories of art by James Elkins( )

22 editions published between 2002 and 2015 in English and held by 1,273 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In this intimate history, James Elkins demonstrates that there is - and can never be - only one story of art. He opens up the questions that traditional art history usually avoids
How to use your eyes by James Elkins( Book )

23 editions published between 2000 and 2014 in English and Chinese and held by 1,227 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"James Elkins's How to Use Your Eyes invites us to look at - and maybe see for the first time - the world around us, with breathtaking results. Here are the common artifacts of life, often misunderstood and largely ignored, brought into striking focus. A butterfly's wing pattern encodes its identity. A cloudless sky yields a precise sequence of colors at sunset. A bridge reveals the relationship of a population to its landscape. With the discerning eye of a painter and the zeal of a detective, Elkins also explores complicated things like mandalas, the periodic table, or a hieroglyph, remaking the world into a treasure box of observations."--Jacket
The object stares back : on the nature of seeing by James Elkins( Book )

23 editions published between 1996 and 1999 in English and held by 1,164 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

At first it appears that nothing could be easier than seeing. We just focus our eyes and take in whatever is before us. This ability seems detached, efficient, and rational - as if the eyes are competent machines telling us everything about the world without distorting it in any way. But those ideas are just illusions, Elkins argues, and he suggests that seeing is undependable, inconsistent, and caught up in the threads of the unconscious. Blindness is not the opposite of vision, but its constant companion, and even the foundation of seeing itself. Elkins asks about objects that are too violent, too sexually charged, or too beautiful to look at directly. When we see a naked body, we either stare lasciviously or look away in embarrassment: in those moments our eyes are not ours to command. Bodies, Elkins says, are among the fundamental things that the eye seeks in every scene: when we are presented with something new, we first try to find a body, or the echoes of a body, and if we fail, our seeing becomes restless and nomadic. The same is true of things that are dead or inert. The world is full of objects that catch our eye, and that seem to have eyes of their own. The sun is an eye, perhaps the most powerful of all. It sees us as much as we see it, and when we stare at it, the sun stares back. Using drawings, paintings, diagrams, and photographs to illustrate his points, Elkins raises intriguing questions and offers astonishing perceptions about the nature of vision. Ultimately, he concludes, "Seeing alters the thing that is seen and transforms the seer"--As this remarkable book will transform the viewpoints of all who read it
Master narratives and their discontents by James Elkins( )

15 editions published between 2005 and 2013 in English and held by 1,100 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In this bracing engagement with the many versions of art history, James Elkins argues that the story of modernism and postmodernism is almost always told in terms of four narratives. Works of art are either seen as modern or postmodern, or praised for their technical skill or because of the politics they appear to embody. These are master narratives of contemporary criticism, and each leads to a different understanding of what art is and does. Both a cogent overview of the state of thinking about art and a challenge to think outside the art historical box, Master Narratives and t
Art and globalization( )

10 editions published in 2010 in English and held by 998 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Brings together historians, philosophers, critics, postcolonial theorists, and curators to ask how contemporary global art is conceptualized. Issues discussed include globalism and globalization, internationalism and nationality, empire and capitalism"--Provided by publisher
On the strange place of religion in contemporary art by James Elkins( Book )

13 editions published in 2004 in English and held by 956 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Religion and serious art have grown apart. While Sister Wendy speaks eloquently about modern art as if it were all religious, art historians distance themselves from the very idea of spirituality. And yet there is a tremendous amount of religious art outside the art world. For millennia, art has been religious - even in times and places when there was no word for "art." Then, in the Renaissance, it became possible for art to glorify the artist, making viewers think more of his skills than of the subjects he portrayed. The modern artist faces a more complex dilemma - one that no art historian has talked about until now. Can contemporary art say anything about spirituality? John Updike calls modern art "a religion assembled from the fragments of our daily life," but does that mean that contemporary art is spiritual? What might it mean to say that the art you make expresses your spiritual belief? On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art is about the curious disconnectbetween spirituality and current art. This book will enable you to walk into a museum and talk about the spirituality that is or is not visible in the art you see
Pictures & tears : a history of people who have cried in front of paintings by James Elkins( Book )

38 editions published between 2001 and 2011 in 3 languages and held by 922 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

James Elkins tells the story of paintings that have made people cry, contrasting the emotions shown before works of art in the past, and the tearlessness with which most people approach works of art in the 21st century
Beyond the aesthetic and the anti-aesthetic by James Elkins( )

8 editions published in 2013 in English and held by 883 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Gathers historians, philosophers, critics, curators, and artists to explore the divisions in teaching, practice, and theorization of art created by the choice between continuations of Modernism, with its aesthetic values, and the many kinds of postmodernism, which privilege issues outside aesthetics, including politics, gender, and identity"--Provided by publisher
Is art history global? by James Elkins( Book )

23 editions published between 2006 and 2014 in English and Undetermined and held by 867 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Third in 'The Art Seminar,' a series of conversations on art and visual studies. This work stages an international conversation among art historians and critics on the subject of the practice and responsibility of global thinking within the discipline
What do artists know?( )

3 editions published in 2012 in English and held by 842 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Brings together historians, philosophers, critics, curators, artists, and educators to ask how art is and should be taught. Explores the theories that underwrite art education at all levels, the pertinent history of art education, and the most promising current conceptualizations"--Résumé de l'éditeur
Renaissance theory by James Elkins( )

13 editions published in 2008 in English and Undetermined and held by 793 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Volume 5 in The Art Seminar series, Renaissance Theory presents an animated conversation among art historians about the optimal ways of conceptualizing Renaissance art, and the links between Renaissance art and contemporary art and theory. This is the first discussion of its kind, involving not only questions within Renaissance scholarship, but issues of concern to art historians and critics in all fields. Organized as a virtual roundtable discussion, the contributors discuss rifts and disagreements about how to understand the Renaissance and debate the principal texts and authors of the last 30 years who have sought to reconceptualize the period. They then turn to the issue of the relation between modern art and the Renaissance: why do modern art historians and critics so seldom refer to the Renaissance? Is the Renaissance our indispensable heritage, or are we cut off from it by the revolution of modernism?"--Jacket
What is an image?( )

12 editions published between 2011 and 2013 in English and held by 734 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Brings together historians, philosophers, critics, postcolonial theorists, and curators to ask how images, pictures, and paintings are conceptualized. Issues discussed include concepts such as "image" and "picture" in and outside the West; semiotics; whether images are products of discourse; religious meanings; and the ethics of viewing"--Provided by publisher
Chinese landscape painting as Western art history by James Elkins( )

18 editions published between 1999 and 2010 in 3 languages and held by 709 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This is a provocative essay of reflections on traditional mainstream scholarship on Chinese art as done by towering figures in the field such as James Cahill and Wen Fong. James Elkins offers an engaging and accessible survey of his personal journey encountering and interpreting Chinese art through Western scholars' writings
Farewell to visual studies( )

8 editions published in 2015 in English and held by 683 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"A transdisciplinary collection of essays discussing the identity, nature, and future of visual studies as a laboratory for thinking about relations between fields including art history, cultural studies, sociology, visual anthropology, film studies, media studies, postcolonial studies, philosophy of history, the science of vision, and science studies"--Provided by publisher
Visual studies : a skeptical introduction by James Elkins( Book )

19 editions published between 2003 and 2013 in English and Undetermined and held by 669 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Visual studies is a rapidly expanding intellectual field, growing throughout colleges and universities around the world. But is it asking the most interesting questions? And is it just too easy to do? In his latest book, James Elkins offers a road map through the field of visual studies, describing its major concerns and its principal theoretical sources. Then, with the skill and insight that have marked his successful books on art and visuality, Elkins takes the reader down a side road where visual studies can become a more interesting place. Why look only at the same handful of theorists? Why exclude from one's field of vision non-Western art or the wealth of scientific images? The centerpiece of Visual Studies is Elkins's proposal for ten ways in which visual studies could be made more difficult - theoretically, practically, and in terms of its interpretative and historical range. As Stories of Art offered an antidote to the authorized version of art history, Visual Studies: A Skeptical Introduction proposes a refreshingly open-minded introduction to a growing field. This handsome volume is illustrated throughout." http://www.loc.gov/catdir/enhancements/fy0651/2003013585-d.html
Why are our pictures puzzles? : on the modern origins of pictorial complexity by James Elkins( Book )

17 editions published between 1998 and 1999 in English and held by 646 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Elkins argues that the intricate meanings that are assigned to pictures are less a matter of insight than a symptom of our culture - a kind of excessive desire for understanding and a demand for clear solutions
The domain of images by James Elkins( Book )

17 editions published between 1999 and 2008 in English and held by 592 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In the domain of visual images, those of fine art form a tiny minority. This book calls upon art historians to look beyond their traditional subjects - painting, drawing, photography, and printmaking - to the vast array of "nonart" images, including those from science, technology, commerce, medicine, music, and archaeology. Such images, James Elkins asserts, can be as rich and expressive as any canonical painting. Using scores of illustrations as examples, he proposes a radically new way of thinking about visual analysis, one that relies on an object's own internal sense of organization
 
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What painting is : how to think about oil painting, using the language of alchemy
Alternative Names
Aierjinsi Zhanmusi 1955-....

Elkins, James

Elkins, James Preston 1955-

Elkins, Jim

Elkins Jim 1955-....

James Elkins Amerikaans kunsthistoricus

James Elkins art historian and art critic

James Elkins historiador del arte y crítico de arte

Preston Elkins, James 1955-

엘킨스, 제임스 1955-

Languages
Covers
Why art cannot be taught : a handbook for art studentsVisual culturesStories of artHow to use your eyesThe object stares back : on the nature of seeingMaster narratives and their discontentsArt and globalizationOn the strange place of religion in contemporary art