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Concerning Consequences

Studies in Art, Destruction, and Trauma

Kristine Stiles has played a vital role in establishing trauma studies within the humanities. A formidable force in the art world, Stiles examines the significance of traumatic experiences both in the individual lives and works of artists and in contemporary international cultures since World War II. In Concerning Consequences, she considers some of the most notorious art of the second half of the twentieth century by artists who use their bodies to address destruction and violence.

The essays in this book focus primarily on performance art and photography. From war and environmental pollution to racism and sexual assault, Stiles analyzes the consequences of trauma as seen in the works of artists like Marina Abramovic, Pope.L, and Chris Burden. Assembling rich intellectual explorations on everything from Paleolithic paintings to the Bible’s patriarchal legacies to documentary images of nuclear explosions, Concerning Consequences explores how art can provide a distinctive means of understanding trauma and promote individual and collective healing.

504 pages | 29 halftones | 7 x 10 | © 2016

Art: American Art, Art Criticism

Film Studies

Gender and Sexuality

Psychology: General Psychology


“An incredibly ambitious book by one of the world’s preeminent art historians. Stiles’s work is theoretically sophisticated; the detail through which she speaks is clear evidence of years spent with living artists and archives; and her style and argumentation are accessible, fluid, and engaging. Concerning Consequences asserts the importance of seeing artists on their own terms.”

Douglas Kahn, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Table of Contents


I. Cultures of Trauma
Survival Ethos and Destruction Art
Shaved Heads and Marked Bodies: Representations from Cultures of Trauma
Remembering Invisibility: Documentary Photography of the Nuclear Age

II. Doubles
The Ideal Gifts and The Trinity Session of Istvan Kantor
Franz West’s Dialogic Paßstücke
1.1.78–2.2.78: Lynn Hershman’s Roberta Breitmore
Larry Miller’s Mom-Me
Unbosoming Lennon: The Politics of Yoko Ono’s Experience

III. Shooting Range
Burden of Light: Chris Burden
Teaching a Dead Hand to Draw: Kim Jones, War, and Art
Jean Toche: Impressions from the Rogue Bush Imperial Presidency

IV. Corpora Vilia
Cloud with Its Shadow: Marina Abramović
Thunderbird Immolation: William Pope.L and Burning Racism
Barbara Turner Smith’s Haunting
The Aesthetics of the Misfit: The Case of Henry Flynt and David Tudor
Notes on Rudolf Schwarzkogler’s Images of Healing, A Biographical Sketch

V. Terminal Culture
Rauschenberg’s “Gap”
Warhol’s “What?”
Maurice Benayoun’s “7:47 a.m.”
Wangechi Mutu’s Family Tree

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