David Zwirner Books is pleased to present the ekphrasis series, specially dedicated to publishing rare, out-of-print, and newly commissioned texts as accessible paperback volumes. The series is part of David Zwirner Books’s ongoing effort to publish new and surprising pieces of writing on visual culture.
“Ekphrasis” is traditionally defined as the literary representation of a work of visual art. One of the oldest forms of writing, its meaning originated in ancient Greece when it referred to the practice and skill of describing people, objects, and experiences through vivid, highly detailed accounts. Today, ekphrasis is more openly interpreted as one art form, whether it be writing, visual art, music, or film, being used to define and describe another art form, in order to bring to the audience the experiential and visceral impact of the subject, and, in turn, enhancing and expanding its original meaning.
By bringing back into print important but overlooked books—often pieces by established artists and authors—and by commissioning emerging writers, philosophers, and artists to write freely on visual culture, David Zwirner Books aims to encourage a richer conversation between the worlds of literary and visual art. With an emphasis on writing that isn’t academic in the traditional sense, but is compelling as prose, and more concerned with subject matter than historical reference, ekphrasis invites a broader and more varied audience to participate in discussions about the arts. Particularly now, as visual art becomes an increasingly important cultural touchstone, creating a series that encourages us to make meaning of what we see, and invites more voices into our conversations on visuality, has become more compelling than ever. Books in the ekphrasis series remind us, with refreshing energy, why so many people have dedicated their lives to art.