The Arcades Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin Jens Hoffmann, Caroline A. Jones, Vito Manolo Roma, Kenneth Goldsmith

Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
07 Mar 2017
ISBN:
9780300221992
Imprint:
Jewish Museum
Dimensions:
136 pages: 279 x 184mm
Illustrations:
50 color + b/w illus.

Categories:

The Arcades Project (1927–40), the monumental unfinished work of cultural criticism by Walter Benjamin, is the German philosopher’s effort to comprehend urban modernity through the 19th-century Parisian shopping arcade. The Arcades: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin combines artworks with archival materials and poetic interventions to form an original, multifaceted response to this collagelike cultural text. Jens Hoffmann astutely pairs works by thirty-six well-known and emerging artists, including Lee Friedlander, Andreas Gursky, Pierre Huyghe, and Cindy Sherman, with the thirty-six “Convolutes,” or themes, in Benjamin’s text. Bound into the main volume is a graphic novelette, from the imagination of Vito Manolo Roma, of Benjamin’s dream the night before he committed suicide while fleeing the Nazis. Scholarly essays by Hoffmann and Caroline A. Jones, texts selected by the poet Kenneth Goldsmith, reproductions of Benjamin’s handwritten notes, and a list of the main Paris arcades discussed by him round out this extraordinary publication. 

Jens Hoffmann is director of special exhibitions and public programs at the Jewish Museum.