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Book review: Jae Emerling on Keith Moxey, Visual Time: The Image in History

20 November 2015

To render time sensible: transmissibility

Review of:

Keith Moxey, Visual Time: The Image in History, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2013, 207 pp., 8 col. plates, 21 b. & w. illus., $89.85 hdbk, $24.95 pbk, Hardback ISBN 978-0-8223-5354-6, Paperback ISBN 978-0-8223-5369-0.

Jae Emerling 13/JE1

Abstract: This review-essay of Keith Moxey’s Visual Time: The Image in History (2013) addresses recent theoretical work on images, historiography, and temporality. It does so by critiquing preexisting methodological issues such as linear chronology, ekphrasis, and contemporaneity. In addition to reviewing how Moxey deals with the problematic of temporality in art historical practice, this review-essay develops its own methodological approach through the concept of transmissibility. Transmissibility is a theoretical methodology for how to approach the relation between temporality and artworks that draws on the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Transmissibility stems from a desire to arrive at an art history capable of articulating the complex epistemic and aesthetic power of an artwork. In other words, an artwork as a material, expressive reality, a conjunction of content and expression, statement and visibility, sensible and intelligible. It remains to us as art historians to think a philosophy of history wherein artworks embody transmissibility (survival, anachronism, memory, becoming): the full complexity of temporality.

Keywords: art theory, temporality, images, methodology, Gilles Deleuze, transmissibility, ontology of art.

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