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Second Sight

The Paradox of Vision in Contemporary Art

Ellen Y. Tani with an essay by Amanda Cachia and contributions by Joseph Grigely, Shaun Leonardo, Tony Lewis, Nyeema Morgan and Gala Porras-Kim

    ISBN: 978 1 78551 165 3

    Size: 250 x 210 mm

    Binding: Hardback

    Pages: 112

    In association with:

    Date published: March, 2018

    UK £29.95 /US $45


  • Ground-breaking new research offers a contribution to the field of perception in contemporary art
  • Accompanies an exhibition of the same name at Bowdoin College Museum of Art (1 March – 3 June 2018).


Featuring sculptural, sound-based, and language-based artworks, this fascinating volume explores the experiential, psychological, and metaphorical implications of blindness and invisibility in recent American art.  New research addresses the paradox of why and how numerous sighted and unsighted artists, normally considered to be ‘visual artists’ such as William Anastasi, Robert Morris, Joseph Grigely, and Lorna Simpson, have challenged the primacy of vision as a bearer of perceptual authority. Their work explores what resides on the other side of the visual field, prompting audiences to reflect upon the significance of what we cannot see, whether by choice, habit, or physiological limitations, in the world around us. In so doing, they point to ways of knowing beyond what can be observed with the eyes, as well as to the invisible forces (societal, political, cultural) that govern our own frameworks of experience.

Accompanies an exhibition at Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 1 March – 3 June 2018.

Author information

Ellen Y. Tani is the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Amanda Cachia is Assistant Professor of Art History at Moreno Valley College in Southern California.