Many people have helped in the writing of this book. I would like especially to thank the editors of Block for the stimulating exchange of ideas, for providing an accessible introduction to debates in art and design history and for encouraging me to venture into a new field of enquiry. I would also like to thank the editors of Ten.8 for opening up a space in which it became possible to try out new kinds of writing about imagery and new ways of combining words and photographs. I am grateful to the staff and students of two other institutions-the Center for 20th Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and the Communications Department at McGill University, Montreal-for inviting me to speak, for introducing me to approaches and traditions with which I was entirely unfamiliar, and for asking useful questions which I couldn't answer at the time but which served as catalysts for later work.
Thanks particularly to Kathy Woodward and Herb Blau at Milwaukee for their hospitality and for providing me with an opportunity to rethink earlier work from a different angle and, ultimately, to acknowledge and confront its limitations.
In the two weeks I spent at McGill in January, 1986, only the weather was cold-staff and students on the graduate program in communications took care to make me feel at home and discussion was always lively and engaged.
Without the benefit of that dialogue and the opportunity to think my way in lectures and seminars through current debates on cultural studies and postmodernism, the last section of this book would not have been written. I would like especially to thank Irene Bellertz for inviting me and Dorothy Carruthers, Peter Wollheim, Marika Finlay and Bruce Ferguson for giving me so much time, help and support during my stay in Montreal.