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Holiday Books * We Recommend : the works of Art Historian/Author Caroline A. Jones

There is no gift more rewarding than the gift of knowledge. The knowledge of art and art history is  part of the grand evolutionary design to human transcendence.

One of the modern generation’s great unheralded geniuses is Caroline A. Jones.

Caroline A. Jones is professor of the history of art, and director of the History, Theory, and Criticism section in the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Photo by Tony RinaldoPhoto by Tony Rinaldo
Caroline A.Jones
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Art History
Desires for the World Picture: The Global Work of Art

Caroline A. Jones studies modern and contemporary art, with a particular focus on technological modes of production, distribution, and reception. She is a professor of art history in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A curator and essayist, she has published Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art (MIT Press, 2006), Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (University of Chicago Press, 2005), and other works.

Jones’s current research into globalism looks at how art functions in world’s fairs, national pavilions, and biennial culture. The resulting book will return scholarly focus to the work of art; that is, how art operates differently when it is in the context of a global assemblage, with alternating claims of universalism and national identity put into play. In parallel, Jones investigates how the artist becomes subject to these global discourses.

Jones received her AB from Harvard University and her MA/PhD from Stanford University. She has been a fellow at the Institut national d’histoire de l’art in Paris, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Susan and Donald Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College, and the Wissenschaftskolleg and Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte in Berlin. Jones has received Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities awards, and her films and exhibitions have appeared at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Arts in Tokyo, the List Visual Arts Center at MIT, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Bay Area Figurative Art


Caroline A. Jones (Author)

Available worldwide
Paperback, 250 pages
ISBN: 9780520068421
December 1989
$52.95, £36.95
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During the 1950s a few painters in the San Francisco Bay Area began to stage personal, dramatic defections from the prevailing style of Abstract Expressionism, creating what would come to be known as Bay Area Figurative Art. In 1949 David Park destroyed many of his nonobjective canvases and began a new style of consciously naive figuration. Soon Elmer Bischoff and Richard Diebenkorn joined Park and other painters such as Nathan Oliveira, Theophilus Brown, James Weeks, and Paul Wonner in the move away from abstraction and toward figurative subject matter. When artists such as Bruce McGaw, Manuel Neri, and Joan Brown emerged as a second generation of figurative artists, the momentum grew for a powerful new development in American painting.

The achievement of Bay Area Figurative painters and sculptors has become directly relevant to current debates regarding abstraction and representation, as well as to discourses on modernism and postmodernism. Indeed, the historical phenomenon of the movement is an important case study in the evolution of modernism in America, serving as an early example of rupture in the formalist “mainstream.”

Bay Area Figurative Art 1950-1965 was written to accompany an exhibition of the same name at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Based on extensive archival research and interviews, it is the first study of the movement as a whole and is the broadest and most accurate account of the careers and interactions of ten Bay Area artists who worked in this new style.

Cloth $86.00 ISBN: 9780226406480 Published January 1997
Paper $40.00 ISBN: 9780226406497 Published December 1998



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Machine in the Studio

Constructing the Postwar American Artist

Machine in the Studio

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Caroline A. Jones

572 pages | 9 color plates, 109 halftones, 3 line drawings, 2 tables, 1 map | 7 x 10 | © 1996
Taking a fresh look at the art world of the 1960s, Caroline Jones argues that far from the countercultural stance associated with the decade, the artists she examines—including Stella, Warhol, and Smithson—identified their work with postwar industry and corporate culture. Drawing on extensive interviews with artists and their assistants as well as close readings of artworks, Jones explains that much of the major work of the 1960s was compelling precisely because it was central to the visual and economic culture of its time.”Jones manages to analyze art works in their historical, political, and conceptual context, giving them a thickness of description rarely possible in standard art history. . . . This is one of the best books on the period I have read so far. To paraphrase Clement Greenberg, it gives contemporary art history a good name.”—Serge Guilbaut, Bookforum“Though we are some 30 years past the events of the ’60s, our world is still largely responding to them, as this marvelous book amply demonstrates.”—David McCarthy, New Art Examiner
  • Awards : National Museum of American Art: Charles C. Eldredge Prize
  • Contents :
  • List of Illustrations
    Preface and Acknowledgments
    1: The Romance of the Studio and the Abstract Expressionist Sublime
    2: Filming the Artist/Suturing the Spectator
    3: Frank Stella, Executive Artist
    4: Andy Warhol’s Factory, Commonism, and the Business Art Business
    5: Post-Studio/Postmodern: Robert Smithson and the Technological Sublime
    6: Conclusion: The Machine in the Studio
Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art

Sensorium: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art

by Caroline A. Jones (Editor)
The relationship between the body and electronic technology, extensively theorized through the 1980s and 1990s, has reached a new technosensual comfort zone in the early twenty-first century. In Sensorium, contemporary artists and writers explore the implications of the techno-human interface. Ten artists, chosen by an international team of curators, offer their own edgy investigations of embodied technology and the technologized body. These range from Matthieu Briand’s experiment in “controlled schizophrenia” and Janet Cardiff and Georges Bures Miller’s uneasy psychological soundscapes to Bruce Nauman’s uncanny night visions and Francois Roche’s destabilized architecture. The art in Sensorium–which accompanies an exhibition at the MIT List Visual Arts Center–captures the aesthetic attitude of this hybrid moment, when modernist segmentation of the senses is giving way to dramatic multisensory mixes or transpositions. Artwork by each artist appears with an analytical essay by a curator, all of it prefaced by an anchoring essay on “The Mediated Sensorium” by Caroline Jones. In the second half of Sensorium, scholars, scientists, and writers contribute entries to an “Abecedarius of the New Sensorium.” These short, playful pieces include Bruno Latour on “Air,” Barbara Maria Stafford on “Hedonics,” Michel Foucault (from a little-known 1966 radio lecture) on the “Utopian Body,” Donna Haraway on “Compoundings,” and Neal Stephenson on the “Viral.” Sensorium is both forensic and diagnostic, viewing the culture of the technologized body from the inside, by means of contemporary artists’ provocations, and from a distance, in essays that situate it historically and intellectually.Copublished with The MIT List Visual Arts Center.
Paperback, 258 pages

Published October 6th 2006 by MIT Press (MA)

Eyesight Alone

Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses

Eyesight Alone

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Cloth $50.00 ISBN: 9780226409511 Published August 2006
Paper $40.00 ISBN: 9780226409535 Published April 2008



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Caroline A. Jones

544 pages | 23 color plates, 127 halftones | 7 x 10 | © 2006
Even a decade after his death, Clement Greenberg remains controversial. One of the most influential art writers of the twentieth century, Greenberg propelled Abstract Expressionist painting-in particular the monumental work of Jackson Pollock-to a leading position in an international postwar art world. On radio and in print, Greenberg was the voice of “the new American painting,” and a central figure in the postwar cultural history of the United States.Caroline Jones’s magisterial study widens Greenberg’s fundamental tenet of “opticality”-the idea that modernist art is apprehended through “eyesight alone”-to a broader arena, examining how the critic’s emphasis on the specular resonated with a society increasingly invested in positivist approaches to the world. Greenberg’s modernist discourse, Jones argues, developed in relation to the rationalized procedures that gained wide currency in the United States at midcentury, in fields ranging from the sense-data protocols theorized by scientific philosophy to the development of cultural forms, such as hi-fi, that targeted specific senses, one by one. Greenberg’s attempt to isolate and celebrate the visual was one manifestation of a large-scale segmentation-or bureaucratization-of the body’s senses. Working through these historical developments, Jones brings Greenberg’s theories into contemporary philosophical debates about agency and subjectivity.Eyesight Alone offers artists, art historians, philosophers, and all those interested in the arts a critical history of this generative figure, bringing his work fully into dialogue with the ideas that shape contemporary critical discourse and shedding light not only on Clement Greenberg but also on the contested history of modernism itself.
James Meyer

“Although Clement Greenberg’s criticism has inspired and provoked for more than a half-century, how Greenberg developed his critical model has never been adequately explained. In this sociohistorical examination of opticality, Caroline Jones contributes significantly to our understanding of the critic’s formation. Her book is the most ambitious account of Greenberg’s project to date.”–James Meyer, author of Minimalism: Art and Polemics in the Sixties

W. J. T. Mitchell

“No one has immersed themselves quite so deeply in the mind and world of Clement Greenberg as Caroline Jones, whose book is a passionate and pioneering effort to reconstruct a ‘lived modernism’ as it unfolded in the writings of its greatest art critic.  Even more important is the way that Jones escapes mere immersion in Greenberg’s thought with her dazzling hypothesis of the ‘bureaucratization of the senses’ as the framework for the segregation of media and perceptual channels.”–W. J. T. Mitchell, author of What Do Pictures Want?: The Lives and Loves of Images

John O’Brian

Eyesight Alone is ambitious and convincing. It is a brilliant book: compellingly argued, riveting to read, sprawling in reach and length, and exhaustively researched.”–John O’Brian, author of Ruthless Hedonism: The American Reception of Matisse

Barry Schwabsky | The Nation
“Rewarding . . . . The hundred pages Jones spends analyzing Greenberg’s writings on Pollock—minutely shifting the critic’s words through her own searching re-examination of the paintings he had in view—are alone worth the price of the ticket.”
Francis Halsall | The Art Book
“An impressive account of . . .the ‘Greenberg Effect.’ . . . Jones’s fundamental argument is that art is a type of thinking that not only engenders a certain type of looking but also constitutes a certain type of subject.”
Sophie Berrebi | Journal of Visual Culture
“The close readings Jones makes here are invaluable. . . . This detailed research enables Greenberg’s text to come alive, making one aware of the suggestiveness and sensuality of his writing in the 1940s. . . . Eyesight Alone shows that it is . . . possible to both make an archaeology of Greenberg’s ideas, and use them as a springboard to discuss newer themes.”
Picturing Science, Producing Art

Picturing Science, Producing Art

by Caroline A. Jones (Editor)
Between the disciplines of art history and the history of science lies a growing field of inquiry into what science and art share as both image-making and knowledge-producing activities. The contributors of “Picturing Science, Producing Art” occupy this intermediate zone to analyze both scientific and aesthetic representations, utilizing disciplinary perspectives that range from art history to sociology, history and philosophy of science to gender studies, cultural history to the philosophy of mind. Organized in five sites–Styles, The Body, Seeing Wonders, Objectivity/Subjectivity, and Cultures of Vision–their topics extend from Cinquecento theories of female reproduction to the technologies of cloning, from medieval depictions of the stigmata to electrical metaphors for sex, from astronomical drawings to radioencephalography, from Phoenician griffons carved in ivory to factories cast in concrete.
The internationally renowned contributors go beyond both science wars and culture wars by exploring substantive links between systems of visual representation and knowledge in science and art. Contributors include Svetlana Alpers, Jonathan Crary, Arnold Davidson, Carlo Ginzburg, Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, and Simon Schaffer.

Published July 16th 1998 by Routledge

Caroline A. Jones

Caroline Jones studies modern and contemporary art, with a particular focus on its technological modes of production, distribution, and reception. Trained in visual studies and art history at Harvard, she did graduate work at the Institute of Fine Arts in New York before completing her PhD at Stanford University in 1992.
Previous to completing her art history degree, she worked in museum administration and exhibition curation, holding positions at The Museum of Modern Art in New York (1977-83) and the Harvard University Art Museums (1983-85) while she completed two documentary films. In addition to these institutions, her exhibitions and/or films have been shown at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, the Hara Museum Tokyo, the Boston University Art Gallery, and MIT’s List Visual Art Center, among other venues.
She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (among others), and has been honored by fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies (2013-14), the Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College (2009-10), Institute national d’histoire de l’art in Paris (2006-07), the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and the Max Planck Institüt (2001-02), the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton (1994-95), and the Stanford Humanities Center (1986-87).
Her books include Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg’s Modernism and the Bureaucratization of the Senses (2005), Machine in the Studio: Constructing the Postwar American Artist, (1996/98, winner of the Charles Eldredge Prize from the Smithsonian Institution); Bay Area Figurative Art, 1950-1965, (1990, awarded the silver medal from San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club); and Modern Art at Harvard (1985). She edited Sensorium: Embodied experience, technology, and contemporary art (2006) and co-edited Picturing Science, Producing Art (1998). She has published on subjects ranging from Francis Picabia to John Cage to new media art to biennial culture, in journals such as Artforum, Critical Inquiry, Res, Science in Context, caareviews online, Texte zur Kunst, and Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne. Jones’s ongoing research interests include globalism and new media art, which will be published in her forthcoming book Desires for the World Picture: the global work of art.

Caroline Jones's picture
A.B. (magna cum laude) Radcliffe College, Harvard University
Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
A.M., Stanford University
PhD, Stanford University
Academic Experience
Professor of Art History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies
Fellow of the Newhouse Center for the Humanities, Wellesley College
Associate Professor of Art History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Visiting Professor, Yale University
Professeur invité de la foundation de France, Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris, France
Fellow of the Kolleg and of the Max-Planck-Institüt, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin; Max-Planck-Institüt für Wissenschaftsgeschichte Berlin, Germany
Associate Professor, Boston University
Director of Graduate Studies, Boston University
Assistant Professor, Boston University
Books by Caroline A. Jones on Amazon

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Bay Area Figurative Art: 1950-1965 by Caroline A. Jones (Dec 13, 1989)

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Manuel Neri: Plasters by Manuel Neri (May 1989)

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Modern Art at Harvard by Caroline A. Jones (1985)

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Painting Machines by Caroline Jones (Jul 1, 1997)

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December 17, 2013 - Posted by | ART, CULTURE, GUIDES, HOLIDAY GUIDES, LIFESTYLES, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Hello, just wanted to mention, I loved this blog post. It was practical.
    Keep on posting!

    Comment by mobile | June 28, 2014 | Reply

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