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Postmodern Animal

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  5 reviews
In The Postmodern Animal, Steve Baker explores how animal imagery has been used in modern and contemporary art and performance, and in postmodern philosophy and literature, to suggest and shape ideas about identity and creativity. Baker cogently analyses the work of such European and American artists as Olly and Suzi, Mark Dion, Paula Rego and Sue Coe, at the same time loo ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by Reaktion Books
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Stephanie
Sep 18, 2010 rated it liked it
I ran out of tea halfway through Steve Baker's chapter that was called something about Leopards, but was really about Deleuze and Guattari's theory of becoming-animal. When I returned from the boiled kettle and the newly-made cup, I had forgotten why the ape hanging on the window-sill was important. But returning to Deleuzian theory is a bit like returning to a dream - it all makes perfect sense until you wake up, and second time around it's never the same as the first. I like that after giving ...more
Emma Gray
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
[22/166]

I'd really love to come back with a much deeper understanding of postmodernism and argue with this book; for as many good points as it makes there were certain bits where I felt inclined to scoff. I think the singular thing that irks me most about postmodernism is this continuing need to be "taken seriously" (discussed around page 176), veering from sentimentality... I can see where this complaint is coming from, but I believe it automatically enforces certain limits on an artist. There
...more
anthony e.
Nov 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
A bit dense at times, especially in the second half. But, Baker seems to have set out to address his project of definign the postmodern animal by taking a decidedly postmodern approach, opting always to hit at the hard-to-pin-down peripheral notions of basts, rather than trafficing in the straghtforward concepts which they seem to demand. The result is a work that causes the reader to endlessly think through and around notion sthat seem on one level obvious, and on another wholly foreign and unr ...more
Steven
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Nearly worth it just for the 74 photos and plates of transgressive animal-themed artwork. Equally rewarding is Baker's discussion of artistic techniques and poststructuralist philosophy as they relate to animal imagery and human identity. Although not limited to their analyses in scope, Baker does heavily engage with Deleuze and Guattari, especially their A Thousand Plateaus, for the conceptual framework used in approaching the artistic works he analyses. One of the most thought provoking and en ...more
Thomas Buchanan
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly thought provoking look at animal figures in contemporary art.
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