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Chaos and Cosmos


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About the Author

Karen Lang is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Southern California.


"Karen Lang's new book, 'Chaos and Cosmos: On the Image in Aesthetics and Art History,' is a timely intervention. Lang brings order, by way of an original synthesis, to ideas scattered in the discursive spaces of art history. Responding to a good quarter century's worth of historiographico-critical writing, she has produced a searching and insightful book, one that is historically grounded if not a history per se. Lang reveals herself to be a superlative expositor as she invites readers to re-encounter select writings by Erwin Panofsky, Immanuel Kant, Aby Warburg, Ernst Cassirer, Alois Riegl, and Walter Benjamin. The texts she treats include some of the most challenging, most resonant, most regularly revisited works in today's critical canon. Lang's book is artfully plotted, with surprising turns."-Professor Elizabeth Sears, X-tra Contemporary Art Quarterly, Fall 2007 "Chaos and Cosmos is a powerful and fluent examination of the conceptual foundations of the discipline of the history of art. It is judiciously and wittily illustrated, and its clear, thoroughly considered, and generous arguments end with the emergence in contemporary art of a new subject, and with a plea for a new audience for all art. Anyone interested in being part of that audience should read this book."-David Summers, University of Virginia "In Chaos and Cosmos, Karen Lang's close readings of key, and often neglected, texts in the discipline provide a map of the terrain of the aesthetic foundations of the history of art."-Catherine Soussloff, University of California, Santa Cruz "Exhibiting both philosophical sophistication and deep historical sensitivity, Chaos and Cosmos offers a-subtle, original, and highly suggestive treatment of major figures-associated with the origins and development of art historiography."-Jonathan Gilmore, Yale University

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