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Circus Americanus
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Circus Americanus (Paperback)

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Actors' headshots, manhole covers, forensic courtroom displays, Mexican wrestling, a sewage treatment plants may seem unlikely subjects for the gaze of an art critic, but then Ralph Rugoff - no ordinary critic - has an eye capable of discerning an aesthetic in the unlikeliest of locations. Rugoff wants to remind readers that art is not produced in a vacuum, but is a continuum of everyday life. In this spirit, this book takes us on a guided tour of some of the world's leading museums and some of the most unusual, including the L.A. County Sheriff's Museum, the Nixon Museum, the Liberace Museum, the Museum of Pathological Anatomy and the Museum of Jurassic Technology. They transport us to built spaces such as Citywalk, L.A.'s theme park of itself, around horsetracks and on freeways, barely pausing to point out that the visual appeal of a daring overpass and the aesthetic appeal of a curvilinear sculpture are not unrelated. They talk to us about the relationship between L.A. artists and theme park aesthetics, about the role of fantasy in contemporary architecture, about the art of the human body as revealed in nudist photography, bodybuilding and plastic surgery.

This book, emulating the talent of artists for making unexpected connections and juxtapositions, allows readers to perceive and enjoy the beautiful, the bizarre and the downright perverse in places we never thought of looking before.

Art, Fashion & PhotographyArt monographs, history & theoryHistory of art / art & design stylesPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesAnthropologyPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesCultural StudiesTravel & MapsTravel & holiday guidesMuseum, historic sites, gallery & art guides Publisher: Verso Books Publication Date: 07/11/1995 ISBN-13: 9781859840030  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
Availability: Currently unavailable to order online.  

Ralph Rugoff is Director of the Hayward Gallery and was previously a Los Angeles art critic covering visual culture for LA Weekly.

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