Art History: Its Use and Abuse (Paperback)
In a discipline forever subject to ad hoc or opportunistic research, where the differences between descriptive, comparative, and intellectual analyses are increasingly blurred, W. McAllister Johnson offers these provocative, 'issues-oriented' essays, an effort to address the intellectual bases of art history in relation to everyday work. The essays attempt to bridge the gap between theory and practice through common sense and a measure of realism that is sometimes humorous, sometimes brutal. Conversational in tone, the book is intended to stimulate reflection rather than serve as a reference book or manual.
Through the constant interweaving of intellectual and art history with practical instructions that address concretely and in detail the realistic needs of students and writers, Johnson speaks to the field itself rather than to its externals. He deals with such different matters as the nature and evolution of the research process, university and public life, bibliography, and cataloguing. These essays discuss major questions that should arise in courses in bibliography, methodology, and historiography, once the survey courses are left behind.
Art librarians have previously had little to offer between introductory works or manuals and specialized literature. Yet, beyond what interests one or what can be judged in the light of personal or professional experience, everyone needs a foil that goes beyond immediate needs and forces him or her to reassess method and attitudes. In this book Johnson offers just such an instrument.