We Are All Dinosaurs

John Harris, OBE

The Last Connoisseur: “We are dinosaurs left over from an epoch whose participants are mostly dead. There is no one to take our place.” 

Toward a Fusion of Art History and Material Culture Studies

Michael Yonan

What do art history and material culture studies have in common? Why have the two been so poorly integrated with each other? Should art-historical practices play a greater role in the examination of the social lives of objects?


Jeffrey T. Schnapp

We have come full circle in a world built around performance as flow; a world in which spinning disks signify sampling, mixing, busting moves and rhymes and singing songs; a world in which the pulse of the ideal life is a synthetic drum track. 

A Concise Cultural History of (Secondhand) Clothing

Hanna Rose Shell

Clothing’s portability grants it a history of embodiment and transmutation, moving among bodies, cultures, nations, and economies.

Paperwork Explosion

Ben Kafka

“Machines should work — people should think — machines — should work — people — should think — machines — should — work — people — should — think.” 

Carving, Recarving, and Forgery: Working Ivory in the Tenth and Twentieth Centuries

Anthony Cutler

How important is it to understand the method by which an object comes into being? What does knowledge of these methods reveal about the object itself?

From the Desk of Roland Barthes

Ben Kafka

Putting mater (and pater) back in materialism. Roland Barthes's take on writing, paperwork, the materiality of communication, and its unconscious dimensions.

Reassessing the Saul Bass and Alfred Hitchcock Collaboration

Pat Kirkham

A major evaluation of one of the most visually productive collaborations in the history of cinema.

Featured Articles

Featured articles will be updated regularly. For a full list of the contents in the print edition of West 86th, please see West 86th In Print. Full issues are published by the University of Chicago Press, and can be accessed here.


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