Derrida Reframed: Interpreting Key Thinkers for the Arts

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Bloomsbury Academic, Jul 30, 2008 - Art - 149 pages

Are your students baffled by Baudrillard? Dazed by Deleuze? Confused by Kristeva? Other beginners' guides can feel as impenetrable as the original texts to students who 'think in images'. "Contemporary Thinkers Reframed" instead uses the language of the arts to explore the usefulness in practice of complex ideas. Short, contemporary and accessible, these lively books utilise actual examples of artworks, films, television shows, works of architecture, fashion and even computer games to explain and explore the work of the most commonly taught thinkers. Conceived specifically for the visually minded, the series will prove invaluable to students right across the visual arts.'Deconstruction' is touted in every visual area from architecture to fashion, yet few really understand what Derrida's notorious concept means, much less his elusive idea of 'differance'. In fact Derrida's work can seem almost impenetrable.
This guide explains Derrida's key concepts through examples from across the whole spectrum of the arts, looking at the work of architects such as Bernard Tschumi and Daniel Libeskind, fashion designers such as Ann Demeulemeister and at the work of artists as varied as Kara Walker, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Rachel Whiteread and Jeff Wall. Showing what Derrida's work really 'means' in practice, this short guide makes this thinker's complex work accessible to a wider public.

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I read this book for research on the Heidegger-Schapiro confrontation. The text strikes me as somewhat erratic and strangely organized. For example, I found myself at times puzzled by the author's inclination to discuss one topic in moderate detail only to move, in the next paragraph, to an entirely peripheral matter that argumentatively had little to do with the immediately preceding thoughts and discussion. I do think that this text can help one make sense of 'The Truth in Painting', but my ultimate verdict is that this text would have benefited from closer attention and perhaps more time. Overall it feels a bit rushed and helter-skelter, and, quite honestly, I imagine this text to be remarkably confusing and assumptive for a student with more knowledge of art than philosophy. Background: I am a graduate student in philosophy and my undergraduate diplomas are in philosophy, english, and psychology. 

About the author (2008)

K. Malcom Richards is Senior Lecturer at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

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