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Primary Documents Publication Series

Aimed at English-language readers with a serious interest in international modern art, these books contain meticulously edited translations of source materials relating to the visual arts of specific countries, historical moments, disciplines, and themes, together with newly commissioned contextual essays and other materials.


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Mário Pedrosa: Primary Documentss

FORTHCOMING, 2014

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Pedrosa, Brazil’s most important post-War art critic, played a major role in the founding of museums and of the São Paulo Biennale. His texts, featured in this primary document publication, have never been translated into English before

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Taking Positions: Architects Write in Latin America 1920-1985 Primary Documents

FORTHCOMING, 2015

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Further information is forthcoming.

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Arab Art in the Twentieth Century: Primary Documents

FORTHCOMING, 2015

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From Postwar to Postmodern, Art in Japan 1945-1989: Primary Documents

Edited by Doryun Chong, Michio Hayashi, Kenji Kajiya, and Fumihiko Sumitomo, 2013
The history of Japanese postwar art between 1945 and 1989

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The Museum of Modern Art’s newest volume in the MoMA Primary Documents series is From Postwar to Postmodern, Art in Japan 1945–1989, a trove of primary source materials that offers a panoramic look at more than four decades of Japanese art after the end of World War II, both as it unfolded and from the perspective of the present day. It is an invaluable critical resource for English-reading students and scholars, bringing together key documents, artist manifestos, and critical writings that discuss a range of artistic mediums, many of them translated into English for the first time. The collection is organized chronologically and thematically to highlight periods, works, and phenomena of medium-specific significance, such as the pioneering artist collectives Gutai and Hi Red Center, the influential photography periodical PROVOKE, and the emergence of video art during the 1980s. Interspersed throughout the volume are newly commissioned texts by contemporary scholars that contextualize and supplement the primary source materials.

From Postwar to Postmodern, Art in Japan 1945-1989: Primary Documents is part of the ongoing publication series Primary Documents, which includes the titles:

About the Editors
Doryun Chong is an associate curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art. He has organized exhibitions including Projects 94: Henrik Olesen (2011) and Tokyo 1955 – 1970: A New Avant Garde (2013). In December 2010, he was awarded the first Gerrit Lansing Independent Vision Award by the Independent Curators International.

Michio Hayashi is a professor of art history and criticism at Sophia University, Faculty of Liberal Arts. His publications include Painting Dies Twice, or Never, vol.1-7 (Tokyo: Art Trace, 2003-09) and “Notes on Michael Fried’s Why Photography Matters as Art as Never Before,” (Photographer’s Gallery Press, May 2010). He is cofounder of the magazine Art Trace Press (founded 2011). Kenji Kajiya is an associate professor in the Faculty of Arts at the Hiroshima City University. Previously, he was a fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and studied at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University/University of Tokyo. Fumihiko Sumimoto is a curator, currently working as a curator of Aichi Triennale 2013. He is also an adjunct curator of Maebashi Art Museum, which will open in 2013. Previously, he was a senior curator at Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT), and NTT InterCommunication Center in Tokyo. He was also a founding member of Arts Initiative Tokyo (AIT), a nonprofit, independent collective of curators and art administrators based in Tokyo.

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This publication is made possible by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art in honor of its members and friends Toshio Hara, Minoru Mori, Takeo Obayashi, Yoshi Taniguchi, and Seiji Tsutsumi. Generous support is provided by Mr. and Mrs. Minoru Mori, The Asian Cultural Council, Inc., E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Obayashi Corporation, Obayashi Foundation, The Cowles Charitable Trust, ISE Cultural Foundation, and The Saison Foundation. Additional funding is provided by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art members Wendy Stark Morrissey, Frances Reynolds, and Byron Meyer. From Postwar to Postmodern, Art in Japan 1945-1989: Primary Documents is published by The Museum of Modern Art in cooperation with the Japan Foundation.

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Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents

Edited by Wu Hung, with the assistance of Peggy Wang, 2010
The history of contemporary Chinese art between 1976 and 2006

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In spite of the liveliness and creativity of contemporary Chinese art, there has been no systematic art-historical introduction to this important topic in any Western language. Moreover, most of the relevant primary documents have existed only in Chinese, scattered in hard-to-find publications. A part of MoMA's Primary Documents series, the goal of Contemporary Chinese Art is to remedy this situation and to make accessible to English-language readers a group of carefully selected primary source texts related to art in China between 1976 and 2006.

The texts are arranged in chronological order to guide readers through the development of avant-garde Chinese art of this period. Because experimental Chinese art emerged as a domestic phenomenon in the 1970s and 1980s, and its subsequent development has been closely related to China's social and economical transformation, this volume focuses on art from mainland China. At the same time, it encompasses the activities of mainland artists residing overseas, since artists who emigrated in the 1980s and 1990s were often key participants in the early avant-garde movements and have continued to interact with the mainland art world.

The primary documents include the manifestos of avant-garde groups, prefaces to important exhibitions, writings by representative artists, important critical and analytical essays, and even some official documents. Each chapter and section begins with a concise preface explaining the significance of the texts and providing the necessary historical background; the volume includes a timeline summarizing important art phenomena and related political events.

This book is supplemented by a website containing additional historical texts on the subject of Chinese contemporary art. Further texts may be added to the site over time, making it an ongoing archive.

Contemporary Chinese Art is part of the ongoing publication series Primary Documents, which includes the titles:

About the Authors
Wu Hung is the Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor in Art History and East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Director of the Center for the Art of East Asia, and Consulting Curator at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago. His many books include Remaking Beijing: Tiananmen Square and the Creation of a Political Space, Transience: Chinese Experimental Art at the End of the Twentieth Century, and (with Christopher Phillips) Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China. He has curated many international exhibitions of Chinese and international contemporary art.

Peggy Wang is Assistant Professor at Denison University.

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Contemporary Chinese Art: Primary Documents is made possible by lead sponsor The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation. Generous support is provided by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art. Additional funding is provided by Budi Tek, Byron A. Meyer, E. Rhodes & Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, Blakemore Foundation, Guy and Myriam Ullens, LLWW Foundation, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal of He Xiangning Art Museum (OCAT), Anne H. Bass, Jo Carole Lauder, Larry Warsh and AW Asia, The Rosenkranz Foundation, Vicki and Roger Sant, Agnes Gund, Robert E. Meyerhoff, The Fran and Ray Stark Foundation, H.R.H. Duke Franz of Bavaria, Jack Shear, Thierry Barbier-Mueller, Mr. Marc Besen AO and Mrs. Eva Besen AO, Lyn and Jerry Grinstein in honor of Jay Levenson, Sophia Sheng, Eleanor Ford Sullivan, Migs Wright, Constance Caplan, Uli Sigg, and Lenore and Bernard Greenberg.

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Modern Swedish Design: Three Founding Texts

Edited by Lucy Creagh, Helena Kåberg, and Barbara Miller Lane, 2008
The history of Swedish modernist design in the 20th century

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Modern Swedish Design: Three Founding Texts, presents to English language readers the first translations of three seminal texts by pioneers of Swedish design.

The three founding texts are: "Beauty in the Home" (1899), by the philosopher and critic Ellen Key; "Better Things for Everyday Life" (1919), by Gregor Paulsson, art historian and director of the Swedish Arts and Crafts Society from 1920 to 1934; and "acceptera" (1931), coauthored by Paulsson and the architects Gunnar Asplund, Sven Markelius, Eskil Sundahl, Uno Åhrén, and Wolter Gahn. Through these three core writings, you can trace the progression of the Swedish modern movement from the late 19th century and the movement's essential arguments: the necessity of artists' collaboration with industry; the inherent democracy of making good design affordable to all; and the social benefits of a well-designed environment.

Through a shared belief in the transformative power of a well-designed environment, the texts highlighted in this book played central roles in the development of modern thought on architecture, design, and society in 20th-century Sweden.

In addition, the editors of the volume—Lucy Creagh, Helena Kåberg, and Barbara Miller Lane—contextualize these texts and their historical importance in introductions, and the architectural historian Kenneth Frampton explores the "untimely timeliness" of Swedish modernism in an essay that provides further background.

Modern Swedish Design is part of the ongoing publication series Primary Documents, which includes the titles:

About the Editors
Lucy Creagh is an architect and a PhD candidate at Columbia University
Helena Kåberg is a curator at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Stockholm
Barbara Miller Lane is Emeritus Professor, Bryn Mawr College

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This publication was made possible by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Kerstin and Pontus Bonnier, Stockholm, and The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art. Additional support was provided by the Consulate General of Sweden in New York, Estrid Ericsons Stiftelse, and the Department of Art History, Uppsala University.

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Alfredo Boulton and his Contemporaries: Critical Dialogues in Venezuelan Art 1912–1974

Edited by Ariel Jiménez, 2008
The history of 20th-century modern art in Venezuela

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This publication is dedicated to one of Venezuela's foremost cultural and aesthetic observers of the 20th century, the art critic, cultural historian, and photographer Alfredo Boulton (1908–1995). Boulton was a highly influential figure in the development of modernist art and discourse in his country and his diverse contributions serve as points of departure in Alfredo Boulton and His Contemporaries: Critical Dialogues in Venezuelan Art, 1912–1974. In this book, you will find a wide variety of texts, including manifestos, correspondence, and critical writings, by notable Latin American intellectuals of Boulton's time, including critics Mariano Picón-Salas, Angel Rama, and Marta Traba; architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva; and artists Jesús Rafael Soto, Alejandro Otero, and Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt).

This selection of writings by figures whose works and ideas shaped the face of contemporary Venezuela traces the country's struggle toward modernity and an autonomous identity on the international cultural scene. To contextualize the historical texts, the volume also includes a series of newly written critical and explanatory essays by editor Ariel Jiménez and eight other contemporary scholars: Hugo Achugar, Rafael Castillo Zapata, Roldán Esteva-Grillet, Marco Negrón, Luis Pérez-Oramas, Sandra Pinardi, Elías Pino Iturrieta, and Maciá Pintó.

Alfredo Boulton and His Contemporaries: Critical Dialogues in Venezuelan Art, 1912–1974 is part of the ongoing publication series Primary Documents, which includes the titles:

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This publication was generously sponsored by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art. Additional support was provided by Mercantil Servicios Financieros (Venezuela), Ignacio and Luis Alfonso Oberto, The Reed Foundation, Juan Ignacio Parra, the Alberto Vollmer Foundation Inc., Jean Hartley Boulton, Estrellita B. Brodsky, Harry Mannil, Gonzalo Parodi, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Byron Meyer, and William L. Bernhard.

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Listen, Here, Now! Argentine Art of the 1960s: Writings of the Avant-Garde

Edited by Inés Katzenstein, 2004
The history of avant-garde art in Argentina in the 1960s

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Listen, Here, Now! Argentine Art of the 1960s: Writings of the Avant-Garde, explores the intense, internationally significant developments in Argentine art of the 1960s through English translations of original documents, such as artist statements, manifestoes, and critical writings.

Many of the key texts in the anthology provide invaluable primary source material on the development of performance art, media art, and political art in Argentina. The volume also includes key essays by the two best-known Argentine critics of the period, Jorge Romero Brest and Oscar Masotta, along with manifestos, letters, lectures, and project notes by several artists, including Alberto Greco, Marta Minujín, and León Ferrari.

The volume is edited by the Argentine scholar Inés Katzenstein and, in part, by the art historian, Andrea Giunta. Well-known Latin American scholars contribute chapter introductions that place the ideas and arguments of these documents in context. The book also includes a comprehensive biographical and bibliographical appendix, making it a key source for a better understanding of this dynamic period of Argentine avant-garde art.

Listen, Here, Now! Argentine Art of the 1960s: Writings of the Avant-Garde is part of the ongoing publication series Primary Documents, which includes the titles:

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Listen, Here, Now! Argentine Art of the 1960s: Writings of the Avant-Garde (2004) was subsequently published in Spanish as Escritos de vanguardia: Arte argentino de los años '60 (2007), with the collaboration of Fundación Proa and Fundación Espigas of Buenos Aires.

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Primary Documents: A Sourcebook for Eastern and Central European Art since the 1950s

Edited by Laura Hoptman & Tomáš Pospiszyl, 2002
The history of Central and Eastern European art in the second half of the 20th century

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Primary Documents: A Sourcebook for Eastern and Central European Art since the 1950s, is the first collection of English-language documents on modern art drawn directly from the artistic archives of Eastern and Central Europe. The publication was edited by Laura Hoptman, Curator at The Museum of Modern Art, and the Prague-based critic, curator, and scholar Tomáš Pospiszyl.

In this volume, readers are introduced to the writings of artists and scholars Tadeusz Kantor, Komar and Melamid, Slavoj Žižek, and many others. Access to these primary source documents, which are essential to a deeper understanding of the art of this region, makes this volume an important introduction to the major artistic and critical movements of Central and Eastern Europe during the latter half of the 20th century.

Primary Documents: A Sourcebook for Eastern and Central European Art since the 1950s is part of the ongoing publication series Primary Documents, which includes the titles:

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