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The Cute

Documents of Contemporary Art


Eds.: Dianne Ngai

Publisher: The MIT Press

240 Pages

A collection that tracks the astonishing impact of one vernacular aesthetic category—the cute—on postwar and contemporary art.

The Cute tracks the astonishing impact of a single aesthetic category on post-war and contemporary art, and on the vast range of cultural practices and discourses on which artists draw. From robots and cat videos to ice cream socials, The Cute explores the ramifications of an aesthetic “of” or “about” minorness—or what is perceived to be diminutive, subordinate, and above all, unthreatening—on the shifting forms and contents of art today. This anthology is the first of its kind to show how contemporary artists have worked on and transformed the cute, in ways that not only complexify its meaning, but also reshape their own artistic practices.

Artists surveyed include

Peggy Ahwesh, Cosima Von Bonin, Nayland Blake, Paul Chan, Adrian Howells, Juliana Huxtable, Larry Johnson, Mike Kelley, Dean Kenning, Wyndham Lewis, Jeff Koons, Sean-Kierre Lyons, Mammalian Diving Reflex, Alake Shilling, Annette Messager, Mariko Mori, Takashi Murakami, Charlemagne Palestine, David Robbins, Mika Rottenberg, Allen Ruppersberg, Jack Smith, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Yoshitomo Nara

Writers include

Sasha Archibald, Roland Barthes, Leigh Claire La Berge, Lauren Berlant, Ian Bogost, Jennifer Doyle, Lee Edelman, Adrienne Edwards, Lewis Gordon, Rosemarie Garland-Thompson, Stephen Jay Gould, Lori Merish, John Morreall, Juliane Rebentisch, Frances Richard, Carrie Rickey, Friedrich Schiller, Peter Schjeldahl, Kanako Shiokawa, Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy, Kevin Young


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