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Spring 2024


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New in Rain Taxi
A Review of Transfixed by Prehistory

In a recent review for Rain Taxi, W.C. Bamberger discusses Maria Stavrinaki’s Transfixed by Prehistory: An Inquiry into Modern Art and Time. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to read the full review. An excerpt appears below:

“Stavrinaki considers a wide range of prehistory’s effects. She looks at the extent of the influence of discoveries by Lascaux on modern art, of geology on Cezanne and Max Ernst, and of prehistory’s philosophical implications for Paul Klee, among others. Klee, for example, thought these discoveries revealed ‘the present state of outward appearances in his own world as accidentally fixed in time and space,’ ‘a simple stage in an evolution …’ Stavrinaki points out prehistory’s influence in more recent art as well, looking at the work of Robert Morris and at Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, for example. While some of these attempts to identify parallels between more recent artists’ works and the prehistorical can seem less than convincing, she offers insights from a great variety of sources, ranging from historical records to the science fiction of J. G. Ballard; especially interesting is an excerpt from a letter written by Claude Lévi-Strauss to Georges Bataille, disagreeing with Bataille’s view of Lascaux.”