ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

RECENT POSTS

DATE 1/22/2019

We can't get enough of Mahesh Shantaram's 'Matrimania'

DATE 1/21/2019

Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with 'Builder Levy: Humanity in the Streets'

DATE 1/18/2019

Lynda Benglis on "philosopher purist" Paul Mogensen

DATE 1/17/2019

'Cabin Fever' is one of the coolest, most giftable books on our list this year

DATE 1/16/2019

Three emerging painters in 'True Colours'

DATE 1/15/2019

Hans J. Wegner and other masters of Danish "golden-age" chair design are collected in this chic compendium

DATE 1/14/2019

Painting as emancipation in Niko Pirosmani

DATE 1/13/2019

Opera and nature in Beatriz Milhazes's collages

DATE 1/12/2019

Impossible not to love: 'Beatriz Milhazes: Collages'

DATE 1/12/2019

Commemorate Black History Month with these 2019 Staff Picks

DATE 1/11/2019

'Shtetl in the Sun' is a Staff Favorite for 2019

DATE 1/10/2019

An awkward, spellbinding document, 'Party! Party!! Party!!!' captures unselfconscious German decadence in Weimar Germany

DATE 1/9/2019

Ahh, the freedom in Frank Habicht's Sixties

DATE 1/9/2019

Ed Templeton signing 'Tangentially Parenthetical' at Park Life

DATE 1/5/2019

Joshua Sperling to launch "A Writer of Our Time: The Life and Work of John Berger" at Artbook at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles

DATE 1/4/2019

Janet Clare to launch "Time is the Longest Distance" at Artbook at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles

DATE 1/1/2019

The Class of 2018: Critics' Picks and Future Backlist Classics

DATE 12/21/2018

May the new year bring you unfathomable adventure! Happy holidays from ARTBOOK | D.A.P.

DATE 12/19/2018

What to give the photographer who has everything

DATE 12/18/2018

A facsimile of a rare 1900 children's book of 'Elfin Rhymes' is new from Art / Books

DATE 12/17/2018

Every day is a “ME” day with Sherrie Levine's 'Diary 2019'

DATE 12/16/2018

James Welling captures the culture of MoMA's Sculpture Garden in 'Oasis in the City'

DATE 12/16/2018

Give 'Michael Jackson: On the Wall' to the art and music lover on your list!

DATE 12/15/2018

Book trailer magic: 'Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin'

DATE 12/14/2018

A remarkable new monograph from Tod Papageorge is one of our Staff Pick Holiday Gift Books, 2018!

DATE 12/13/2018

Ruin the Yuletide with 'We Do Christmas'!

DATE 12/12/2018

A smile is the only possible outcome to 'Robots 1:1'

DATE 12/11/2018

Hard to Read presents 'The Disco Files' at Le Bain with Vince Aletti, Matthew Higgs, Danny Krivit and others!

DATE 12/11/2018

"Sweet dreams, kiddies."
—Love, R. Crumb

DATE 12/10/2018

Shopping for a playful design sophisticate? Look no further!

DATE 12/8/2018

Experimentation and contemplation in 'Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin'

DATE 12/7/2018

Back in Stock! 'Voguing and the House Ballroom Scene of New York City 1989-92'

DATE 12/6/2018

Join Artbook @ Art Basel Miami Beach 2018!

DATE 12/6/2018

'The Swimming Pool in Photography' is a Staff Favorite Holiday Gift Book, 2018

DATE 12/5/2018

'The Moon: From Inner Worlds to Outer Space' is a Staff Pick Holiday Gift for Stargazers

DATE 12/4/2018

Coleen Sterritt book launch at Artbook at Hauser & Wirth Bookstore, LA

DATE 12/4/2018

Luc Sante picks 'Shomei Tomatsu' for the 'New York Times Book Review' Holiday Gift Guide

DATE 12/3/2018

We ❤️ Karen Green's 'Frail Sister'

DATE 12/3/2018

Roy DeCarava and Langston Hughes' 'Sweet Flypaper of Life' featured in The New York Times Book Review

DATE 12/2/2018

Precog Mag launch, screening and performance at MoMA PS1 Book Space

DATE 12/2/2018

MoMA PS1 Book Space launches 'Bricks from the Kiln' #3

DATE 12/1/2018

Design as an Attitude: Alice Rawsthorn in Conversation with Paola Antonelli at MoMA

DATE 12/1/2018

The Brother In Elysium Books celebrates Dick Higgins' Selected Writings and 10 Years of Siglio Press

DATE 12/1/2018

Bonnie Marranca, Omar Berrada, Susan Bee, Stephen Motika, and Joan Retallack celebrate 'Etel Adnan: The Sun on the Tongue' at MoMA PS1 Book Space

DATE 12/1/2018

Dashwood Books celebrates The Ice Plant with Melissa Catanese, Michael Schmelling & Jake Longstreth signings

DATE 12/1/2018

Time stops in Holiday Gift Staff Pick 'Evelyn Hofer: New York'

DATE 12/1/2018

Rachel Cobb presents 'Mistral' at Albertine

DATE 11/30/2018

'Rachel Cobb: Mistral' captures the legendary wind of Provence

DATE 11/29/2018

Steve Clay, Joshua Beckman, Steve McCaffery & Tracie Morris celebrate Dick Higgins' Selected Writings at Poets House

DATE 11/29/2018

Michael Roberts and Grace Coddington to launch 'GingerNutz Takes Paris' at Bookmarc NYC

DATE 11/29/2018

Music lovers, rejoice! An expanded edition of Vince Aletti's "Disco Files" is out now.


EXCERPTS & ESSAYS

KLAUS OTTMANN | DATE 8/18/2010

Yves Klein's "Ethics" of Style
By Klaus Ottmann from Yves Klein By Himself, published by Dilecta, 2010

Yves Klein (1928-1962) was an agitator of ideas, a total artist who used his considerable charisma to propagate social change through art. In his writings and talks, Klein drew on a vast repertoire of philosophical, scientific, political and occult materials, synthesizing them into a declamatory propaganda for his own art. Yves Klein by Himself is a composite biography of one of the most influential artists of the second half of the twentieth century. Neither an intellectual biography nor an art-historical analysis, Yves Klein by Himself is rather a kind of "Klein reader" that lets the artist speak through his ideas and philosophical conceptions, and in doing so attempts to reconstruct his "organized network of obsessions." To this end, it intermixes biographical facts, a selection of texts by the writers and artists who influenced Klein, a glossary of keywords with Klein's own definitions derived from published texts as well as previously unpublished manuscripts and a selection of critical writings with analyses of Klein's philosophical ideas by the author and editor of this volume, Klein scholar Klaus Ottmann.

The following excerpt, from Chapter V, presents Ottmann's brilliant explication of Klein's "ethics" of style.

V: Grace into Style

Style is the general necessity seen sub specie aeterni.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

Style is the ultimate morality of mind.
Alfred North Whitehead

When Yves Klein arrived in New York to show his blue monochromes at Leo Castelli’s gallery in 1961, the New York art world objected not so much to his work than to his style. For years to come, American reviewers continued to focus on Klein’s appearance, dismissing him as an “entertainer and idea man.” American Pop art, as Roland Barthes observed so keenly, was anti-style; it was about neutralizing identity:

"Pop art is well aware that the fundamental expression of the person is style. As Buffon said (a celebrated remark, once known to every French schoolboy): “Style is the man.” Take away style and there is no longer any (individual) man. The notion of style, in all the arts, has therefore been linked, historically, to a humanism of the person... There is, as I see it, a certain relation between pop art and what is called “script,” that anonymous writing style sometimes taught to dysgraphic children because it is inspired by the neutral and, so to speak, elementary features of typography. Further, we must realize that if pop art depersonalizes, it does not make anonymous: nothing is more identifiable than Marilyn...; they are in fact nothing but that: ...teaching us that identity is not the person: the future world risks being a world of identities... but not of persons."

Klein’s emphasis on style must be viewed in the context of the French notion of civilization. Unlike his contemporaries, especially the Teutonic-shamanistic Joseph Beuys or the orgiastic Viennese actionists Otto Mühl and Hermann Nitzsch, Klein always presented himself and his art in a proper, civilized manner – notably during his performances of the Anthropometries, when he directing his “living brushes” from a distance like a Master of Ceremonies, never touching the models or the paintings with his own hands.

In 1828 the historian and future Prime Minister of France, François Guizot announced, in his lectures on the “The General History of Civilization in Europe,” that “France has been... the home of civilization in Europe,” and, by 1852, when Alphonse de Lamartine, the nineteenth-century poet and politician, founded the journal Le Civilisateur, civilization had become synonymous with France.

Unlike Beuys in Germany and Klein in France, Andy Warhol shifted artistic personality from himself onto his objects, or even his critics (he would frequently tell interviewers to write his answers to their questions). Klein’s style is an essential part of his art and of its humanism. Even when he yielded the actual production of a painting to his models during the making of his Anthropometries, he never conceded his role as an artist. His presence in these performances was essential, very unlike the modus operandi of Warhol who would simply turn on his film camera and walk away, letting those in front of the camera take control. (“I make nothing happen.”)

Wittgenstein’s famous dictum that “ethics and aesthetics are one” has to be read in the context of the philosopher’s understanding of philosophy as a living practice. Ethics includes an aesthetical component, and vice versa. For Wittgenstein – as for Nietzsche before him – art and morality are closely tied. All aesthetic activity is also ethical, just as philosophy is a practice of life, a Lebensphilosophie. It is through style that philosophical and aesthetical practices become authentic. Philosophy and art are forms of life:

"To imagine a language means to imagine a form of life [Lebensform]."

Language is an activity or a form of life: “The term “language-game” is meant to bring into prominence the fact that the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life.”

Wittgenstein’s note about style that serves as an epigraph to this chapter was written in the 1930s but is directly related to a remark found in his notebooks of 1915–16:

"The work of art is the object seen sub specie aeternitatis; and the good life is the world seen sub specie aeternitatis. This is the connection between art and ethics."

Both remarks relate to a reference in Spinoza’s Ethics to “sub specie aeternitatis” (under the aspect of eternity, i.e., universally and eternally true), which Spinoza links to human freedom. Hegel writes about Spinoza’s Ethics that there is “no purer and loftier morality... ; the eternal truth is man’s sole purpose for his actions.” In Book II of his Ethics, Spinoza introduces the notion of ideas as active concepts rather than passive perceptions (at conceptus actionem mentis exprimere videtur) and ties these active ideas to man’s free will (libera voluntas).

In a letter to the Austrian publisher Ludwig von Ficker, Wittgenstein writes that the meaning of his Tractatus is “ethical,” and that the work consists of two parts – a written and an unwritten one:

"My work consists of two parts: what is on hand and everything I did not write. And it is precisely this second part that is most important. The Ethical is quasi defined from within by my book."

Style endows language and art with authenticity: it gives them an authentic voice, grounds them in life. For Klein, as for Wittgenstein, the work consists of two parts: one is materialized in the pigment; the other is immaterial, lived, or enacted in performances. Style is not a fashioning of power to attain a desired end but an ethical practice: to exist as a living work of art[.]


Yves Klein By Himself
Yves Klein By Himself
Yves Klein By Himself
Yves Klein By Himself
Yves Klein By Himself
Yves Klein By Himself
Yves Klein By Himself
Yves Klein By Himself

Yves Klein By Himself

Yves Klein By Himself

EDITIONS DILECTA
Hbk, 4.5 x 7.5 in. / 440 pgs.





ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the art world's source for books on art & culture

  

CUSTOMER SERVICE
orders@artbook.com
212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST

TRADE ACCOUNTS

800 338 2665

CONTACT

JOBS + INTERNSHIPS

NEW YORK
Showroom by Appointment Only
75 Broad Street, Suite 630
New York NY 10004
Tel   212 627 1999

LOS ANGELES
Showroom by Appointment Only
818 S. Broadway, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 323 969 8985

ARTBOOK LLC
D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.


All site content Copyright C 2000-2017 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.

ARTBOOK AMPERSAT

The D.A.P. Catalog
www.artbook.com