Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Six best books on rethinking of the rules of artistic appropriation

David Shields’s new book, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, is:
an ars poetica for a burgeoning group of interrelated but unconnected artists who, living in an unbearably artificial world, are breaking ever larger chunks of “reality” into their work. The questions Shields explores—the bending of form and genre, the lure and blur of the real—play out constantly around us, and Reality Hunger is a rigorous, radical reframing of how we might think about this “truthiness”: about literary license, quotation, and appropriation in television, film, performance art, rap, and graffiti, in lyric essays, prose poems, and collage novels.
For The Week magazine, he named six books that inspired the project. One title on the list:
Wisconsin Death Trip by Michael Lesy

Rather like Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man in that the art consists of taking someone else’s material and reframing it. Lesy juxtaposes photographs and historical documents from turn-of-the-20th-century Jackson County, Wisc., to create what he calls “an experiment in both history and alchemy”—the alchemy being Lesy’s transformation of American pastoral into a nightmare out of Munch.
Read about the other books on Shields's list.

--Marshal Zeringue