The Art History Newsletter

‘Different Visions’

by | 29 January 2010 | Journals, Medieval

Also in CAA Reviews, Sherry C.M. Lindquist reports on Different Visions, the “new, peer-reviewed, open-access e-journal edited by Rachel Dressler and dedicated to the “intersection of critical theory and medieval visual culture”:

The journal’s inaugural issue is entitled “Triangulating Our Vision: Madeline Caviness’s Approach to Medieval Art” … Caviness is known for her meticulous, award-winning work on medieval stained glass, and also for her employment of critical theory—particularly feminist and queer theory—to medieval objects. Always erudite, always imaginative, always thought-provoking, and frequently hilarious, Caviness’s theoretical work is widely read; it has, it must be said, garnered some criticism. Her work, like that of the much missed Michael Camille, makes startling juxtapositions that knit together the past and present in unexpected ways. It is playful. It is risky. It is subversive. And it drives some people crazy …

The benefits and practical applicability of Caviness’s model are evident in all of the contributions to this intriguing collection. They engage, question, correct, and destabilize accepted notions about major monuments and concepts in medieval art history today; as such they are ideal reading for undergraduate and graduate courses as well as for discussion among specialists …

Different Visions is most welcome, as it demonstrates the expertise, vitality, and commitment of emerging and established scholars concerned with discovering how the quintessentially human activities of art making and viewing structure human subjectivity and social systems. Introductory material with a certain conversational quality prefaces strong, peer-reviewed, syllabus-worthy chapters. Each section is generously illustrated with color pictures and converts instantly into a handsomely designed PDF file. Schleif, Dressler, and the editorial board at Different Visions are to be congratulated for their innovative initiative of “triangulating” the desirable aspects of scholarly conferences, academic publishing, and electronic media in a way that is both energizing and inspiring.