A distinguished group of art historians reflect on the work of Michael Baxandall, in terms of its importance for their own formation, its location in the development of a new art history, and its influence on the broader languages and theories of contemporary cultural theory. The volume deploys the meaning of the word 'about' both as an adverb and a preposition to weave a tissue of readings through and around the writing of Baxandall in such a way as both to characterize its importance in recent thinking on art and cultural history and to displace it from a conventional understanding.Working critically, analytically and through analogy the essays not only rethink Baxandall through a cultural theory in which he takes an unexpected position alongside Aby Warburg and Walter Benjamin, but position his ideas in the conceptual fields of a Marcel Duchamp or a Donald Judd. Alternatively they historicize his thinking in a context of modern ethnographic, sociological and feminist methodologies, or one of important considerations on such concepts as material culture or artistic production as figures in the writing of art history.
1. Patterns in the Shadows: Attention in/to the Writings of Michael Baxandall: Michael Anne Holly (University of Rochester).
2. Aspects of the Critical Reception and Intellectual History of Baxandall's Concept of the Period Eye: Alland Langdale (University of British Columbia).
3. Limewood, Chiromancy and Narratives of Making. Writing about the Materials and Processes of Sculpture: Malcolm Baker (Victoria and Albert Museum).
4. Michael Baxandall and the Shadows in Plato's Cave: Alex Potts (University of Reading).
5. Last Words (Rilke, Wittgenstein)(Duchamp): Molly Nesbit (Vassar University).
6. Women under the Gaze, a Renaissance Genealogy: Paolo Berdini (Stanford University).
7. A Baxandall Bibliography: Allan Langdale (University of California at Santa Barbara).