WorldCat Identities

Elkins, James 1955-

Works: 233 works in 818 publications in 4 languages and 25,414 library holdings
Genres: Case studies  History  Conference papers and proceedings  Cross-cultural studies 
Roles: Author, Editor, Thesis advisor, Author of introduction, Contributor, Interviewee, Interviewer, Creator
Classifications: ND1135, 750.18
Publication Timeline
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 )

21 editions published between 1998 and 2012 in English and Italian and held by 1,383 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
How to use your eyes by James Elkins( Book )

23 editions published between 2000 and 2014 in English and Chinese and held by 1,214 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."--BOOK JACKET
The object stares back : on the nature of seeing by James Elkins( Book )

20 editions published between 1996 and 1999 in English and held by 1,162 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
Why art cannot be taught : a handbook for art students by James Elkins( Book )

12 editions published in 2001 in English and held by 847 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
Pictures & tears : a history of people who have cried in front of paintings by James Elkins( Book )

36 editions published between 2001 and 2011 in English and Chinese and held by 795 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

James Elkins tells the story of paintings that have made people cry. Drawing upon anecdotes related to individual works of art, he provides a chronicle of how people have shown emotion before works of art
Visual studies : a skeptical introduction by James Elkins( Book )

20 editions published between 2003 and 2013 in English and Undetermined and held by 606 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."
Stories of art by James Elkins( Book )

19 editions published between 2002 and 2015 in English and Undetermined and held by 597 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
The domain of images by James Elkins( Book )

17 editions published between 1999 and 2008 in English and held by 584 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
Our beautiful, dry, and distant texts : art history as writing by James Elkins( Book )

23 editions published between 1997 and 2000 in English and held by 567 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Elkins argues that writing is what art historians produce, and, whether such writing is a transparent vehicle for the transmission of facts or an embattled forum for the rehearsal of institutional relations and constructions of history, it is an expressive medium, with the capacity for emotion and reflection. Therefore, it needs to be taken seriously for its own sake: it is the testament of art history and of individual historians, and it is only weakened and slighted by versions of history that imagine it either as uncontrolled dissemination or as objective discovery and reporting
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 557 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 poetics of perspective by James Elkins( Book )

18 editions published between 1994 and 1996 in English and held by 532 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Perspective has been a divided subject, orphaned among various disciplines from philosophy to gardening. In the first book to bring together recent thinking on perspective from such fields as art history, literary theory, aesthetics, psychology, and the history of mathematics, James Elkins leads us to a new understanding of how we talk about pictures." "Elkins provides an abundantly illustrated history of the theory and practice of perspective. Looking at key texts from the Renaissance to the present, he traces a fundamental historical change that took place in the way in which perspective was conceptualized; first a technique for constructing pictures, it slowly became a metaphor for subjectivity. That gradual transformation, he observes, has led to the rifts that today separate those who understand perspective as a historical or formal property of pictures from those who see it as a linguistic, cognitive, or epistemological metaphor." "Elkins considers how the principal concepts of perspective have been rewritten in work by Erwin Panofsky, Hubert Damisch, Martin Jay, Paul Ricoeur, Jacques Lacan, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and E.H. Gombrich. The Poetics of Perspective illustrates that perspective is an unusual kind of subject: it exists as a coherent idea, but no one discipline offers an adequate exposition of it. Rather than presenting perspective as a resonant metaphor for subjectivity, a painter's tool without meaning, a disused historical practice, or a model for vision and representation, Elkins proposes a comprehensive revaluation. The perspective he describes is at once a series of specific pictorial decisions and a powerful figure for our knowledge of the world."--Jacket
On the strange place of religion in contemporary art by James Elkins( Book )

12 editions published in 2004 in English and Undetermined and held by 512 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
Photography theory by James Elkins( Book )

19 editions published between 2007 and 2013 in English and held by 492 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Photography Theory" presents forty of the world's most active art historians and theorists, including Victor Burgin, Joel Snyder, Rosalind Krauss, Alan Trachtenberg, Geoffrey Batchen and Carol Squiers in animated debate on the nature of photography
Is art history global? by James Elkins( Book )

22 editions published between 2006 and 2014 in English and Undetermined and held by 455 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This is the third volume in The Art Seminar, James Elkin's series of conversations on art and visual studies. Is Art History Global? stages an international conversation among art historians and critics on the subject of the practice and responsibility of global thinking within the discipline. Participants range from Keith Moxey of Columbia University to Cao Yiqiang, Ding Ning, Cuautemoc Medina, Oliver Debroise, Renato Gonzalez Mello, and other scholars
Renaissance theory by James Elkins( Book )

13 editions published in 2008 in English and Undetermined and held by 365 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
Art and globalization( Book )

10 editions published in 2010 in English and held by 350 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
Visual cultures by James Elkins( Book )

15 editions published between 2010 and 2011 in English and Undetermined and held by 247 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
Beyond the aesthetic and the anti-aesthetic by James Elkins( Book )

7 editions published in 2013 in English and held by 216 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
What do artists know? by James Elkins( Book )

7 editions published between 2012 and 2013 in English and held by 202 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"--Provided by publisher
Farewell to visual studies( Book )

5 editions published in 2015 in English and held by 169 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
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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-

How to use your eyesThe object stares back : on the nature of seeingWhy art cannot be taught : a handbook for art studentsPictures & tears : a history of people who have cried in front of paintingsVisual studies : a skeptical introductionStories of artThe domain of imagesOur beautiful, dry, and distant texts : art history as writing