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Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art

Jacquelynn Baas (Editor), Mary Jane Jacob (Editor)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 264 pages
ISBN: 9780520243460
December 2004
$57.95, £39.95
Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art documents the growing presence of Buddhist perspectives in contemporary culture. This shift began in the nineteenth century and is now pervasive in many aspects of everyday experience. In the arts especially, the increasing importance of process over product has promoted a profound change in the relationship between artist and audience. But while artists have been among the most perceptive interpreters of Buddhism in the West, art historians and critics have been slow to develop the intellectual tools to analyze the impact of Buddhist concepts. This timely, multi-faceted volume explores the relationships between Buddhist practice and the contemporary arts in lively essays by writers from a range of disciplines and in revealing interviews with some of the most influential artists of our time. Elucidating the common ground between the creative mind, the perceiving mind, and the meditative mind, the contributors tackle essential questions about the relationship of art and life.

Among the writers are curators, art critics, educators, and Buddhist commentators in psychology, literature, and cognitive science. They consider the many Western artists today who recognize the Buddhist notion of emptiness, achieved through focused meditation, as a place of great creative potential for the making and experiencing of art. The artists featured in the interviews, all internationally recognized, include Bill Viola, and Ann Hamilton. Extending earlier twentieth-century aesthetic interests in blurring the boundaries of art and life, the artists view art as a way of life, a daily practice, in ways parallel to that of the Buddhist practitioner. Their works, woven throughout the book, richly convey how Buddhism has been both a source for and a lens through which we now perceive art.
Contributors:Laurie Anderson, Jacquelynn Baas, Linda Bamber, Stephen Batchelor, Carol Becker, Arthur Danto, Mark Epstein, Mary Jane Jacob, Suzanne Lacy, Kay Larson, Charng Jiunn Lee, Yvonne Rand, Eleanor Rosch, Marcia Tucker

Artists interviewed: Marina Abramovic, Sanford Biggers, Ann Hamilton, Kimsooja, Lee Mingwei, Mariko Mori, Ernesto Pujol, Michael Rotondi, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Bill Viola, Zhang Huan
Jacquelynn Baas is Director Emeritus of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and an independent scholar. Mary Jane Jacob is Professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an independent curator.
“A groundbreaking collection.”—Speakeasy
“Interesting discussion how the nature of Buddhism as a discovered rather than revealed experience relates to the meditative qualities that infuse some abstract artists. “ “It is worthy of any coffee table.”—Mark Welch, Ph.D. Metapsychology Online Review
“Beautifully designed and lavishly illustrated.”—Buddhadharma
"Eminently readable and extremely meaningful. The contributors tackle essential questions about the relationship of art and life. The book is also very timely, offering a way to approach Buddhism through unexpected channels."—Lynn Gumpert, Director, Grey Art Gallery, New York University

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