To all of the artists whose names appear in these pages and to the numerous colleagues in the academic, museum and commercial art world, as well as to the thousands of students, who, for a quarter of a century or more, have wittingly and unwittingly contributed to this study of the problematic relationship between art and the object, I am very grateful. My particular thanks go to Nikos Stangos, an author's dream of what an editor should be, who first proposed that I write a book on modem art, with a selection of my papers as its nucleus, and who has sensitively directed the project.
The major essay, introducing and developing the theme and its complex variations during the past hundred years, was the main piece written for this publication. Some of the articles have appeared previously in the Allen Memorial Art Museum Bulletin, which has a very special and limited audience. Its editor during those years, Laurine Mack Bongiorno, deserves highest praise and thanks for her exact and delicate scrutinizing of every word published between its pages. The amount of revision which the reprinted essays have undergone varies considerably, but in no case are the original ideas and content altered or modified ; thus the date of first publication for each is significant.
The necessary freeing of my time was made possible by a Senior Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and grants in aid of research from Oberlin College. Among the many individuals to whom I am especially grateful for their insights and assistance over the years are my friends and associates Chloe Hamilton Young, Hedy Bäcklin-Landman, Susan Corliss, Jane Kleinberg, Ricardo Barreto and, above all, Athena Tacha Spear, to whose critical comments and informed, stimulating thinking my writing of the past decade is particularly indebted.
The author and the publisher acknowledge permission from the following magazines and journals to reproduce here some material previously published (an essay's title as first published is given in brackets): Allen Memorial Art