Contemporary Art and the Cosmopolitan Imagination
Routledge – 2011 – 132 pages
Contemporary Art and the Cosmopolitan Imagination explores the role of art in conceiving and reconfiguring the political, ethical and social landscape of our time. Understanding art as a vital form of articulation, Meskimmon argues that artworks do more than simply reflect and represent the processes of transnational and transcultural exchange typical of the global economy. Rather, art can change the way we imagine, understand and engage with the world and with others very different than ourselves. In this sense, art participates in a critical dialogue between cosmopolitan imagination, embodied ethics and locational identity.
The development of a cosmopolitan imagination is crucial to engendering a global sense of ethical and political responsibility. By materialising concepts and meanings beyond the limits of a narrow individualism, art plays an important role in this development, enabling us to encounter difference, imagine change and make possible the new. This book asks what it means to inhabit a globalized world – how we might literally and figuratively make ourselves cosmopolitans, ‘at home’ everywhere. Contemporary art provides a space for this enquiry.
Contemporary Art and the Cosmopolitan Imagination is structured and written through four ‘architectonic figurations’ – foundation, threshold, passage and landing – which simultaneously reference the built environment and the transformative structure of knowledge-systems. It offers a challenging new direction in the current literature on cosmopolitanism, globalisation and art.
List of Illustrations List of Plates Introduction. Contemporary art: at home in a global world Chapter 1. Foundation – dynamic ground Chapter 2. Threshold – infinite generosity Chapter 3. Passage – transitive affects Chapter 4. Landing – imaginative engagement Afterword On Affirmative Criticality Selected Bibliography Index
Dr. Marsha Meskimmon is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Loughborough, UK. Her research centres on the work of women artists and expanded theoretical and critical perspectives on aesthetics, history and gendered subjectivity. She has authored a number of books and journal articles, including Women Making Art: History, Subjectivity, Aesthetics (2003) and We Weren’t Modern Enough: Women Artists and the Limits of German Modernism (1999).