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Writings by the conceptual artist Michael Asher-including notes, proposals, exhibition statements, and letters to curators and critics-most published here for the first time. The California conceptual artist Michael Asher (1943-2012) was known for rigorous site specificity and pioneering institutional critique. His decades of teaching at CalArts influenced generations of artists. Much of Asher's artistic practice was devoted to creating works that had no lasting material presence and often responded to the material, social, or ideological context of a situation. Because most of Asher's artworks have ceased to exist, his writings about them have special significance. Public Knowledge collects writings by Asher about his work-including preliminary notes and ideas, project proposals, exhibition statements, and letters to curators and critics-most of which have never been previously published. Asher gave few interviews, didn't write art criticism, and rarely published extensive accounts of his own work. Yet writing was central to his artistic practice, serving as a tool for working out ideas, negotiating institutional parameters, and describing thought processes. In these texts, he considers writing and documentation, discusses artistic practice, offers notes for gallery and museum talks, presents artist statements for exhibition-goers, describes individual works and their situational context, and reflects on teaching and art education. Among other things, Asher provides his definition of site specificity, addresses the function of art in public space, and analyzes the intersection of teaching art and institutional models of education. Readers will see an artist at work, formulating ethical and political strategies for making art in a situational world.
From the bestselling author of The Real Bravo Two Zero comes the definitive history of the world's most elite fighting force - the SAS 'Breathtaking bravery, astonishing feats of endurance, raids and battles described with terrific immediacy and pace. Compelling and definitive . . . will surely not be bettered' Sunday Telegraph On 4 May 1980, seven terrorists holding twenty-one people captive in the Iranian Embassy in London's Prince's Gate, executed their first hostage. They threatened to kill another hostage every thirty minutes until their demands were met. Minutes later, armed men in black overalls and balaclavas shimmied down the roof on ropes and burst in through windows and doors. In seconds all but one of the terrorists had been shot dead, the other captured. For most people, this was their first acquaintance with a unit that was soon to become the ideal of modern military excellence - the Special Air Service regiment. Few realized that the SAS had been in existence for almost forty years, playing a discreet, if not secret, role almost everywhere Britain had fought since World War II, and had been the prototype of all modern special forces units throughout the world. In The Regiment, Michael Asher - a former soldier in 23 SAS Regiment - examines the evolution of the special forces idea and investigates the real story behind the greatest military legend of the late twentieth century. 'Detailed, scathingly honest. Asher has brought the critical eye of the knowledgeable insider to his in-depth study of SAS operations and personalities' Herald Praise for Michael Asher: 'This is the most complete picture of the Sudanese campaigns that has yet been published . . . a vigorous and engrossing narrative' Philip Ziegler, Daily Telegraph 'A staggering achievement. Asher has delivered a scintillating tale of a period of history that deserves to be remembered' Guardian
More Death or Glory adventure as Tom Caine is captured by Nazis. Italy, 1943 - SAS Captain Tom Caine is being held captive by Nazis forces. While imprisoned he befriends another member of the SAS - one who has heard a rumour. The operative knows the location of an ancient codex. A codex he claims will lead them to the location of the original texts of Tacitus's Germania. Caine is deployed by the Nazis to find the codex and retrieve the texts on a mission that will most certainly bring about his death, and refusal is not an option. Caine has little choice but to begin his most deadly campaign yet. The Death or Glory series is perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell and Andy McNab - Michael Asher combines seamless historical accuracy with the pace and action of a modern SAS thriller. Praise for the Death or Glory series: 'Breathtaking bravery, astonishing feats of endurance, raids and battles described with terrific immediacy and pace. Compelling and definitive . . . will surely not be bettered' Sunday Telegraph 'Detailed, scathingly honest. Asher has brought the critical eye of the knowledgeable insider to his in-depth study of SAS operations and personalities' Herald Michael Asher has served in the Parachute Regiment and the SAS. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and has won the Ness Award of the Royal Geographical Society and the Mungo Park Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for Exploration.
Part three in Death or Glory series, Highroad to Hell is Michael Asher's latest Second World War adventure. With Asher's insider knowledge of the SAS he brings to life the action of the battlefield in this fast-paced and compelling novel following Captain Tom Caine. Tunisia 1943 - the Allies' advance is halted by determined Axis forces. The 8th Army has no choice but to outflank the enemy along their impenetrable Mareth line in the hellish Matmata hills. On a mission to safeguard this movement, Captain Tom Caine's SAS patrol is diverted by a strange emergency signal that draws them to a derelict aircraft and a mysterious black box. Besieged by a Nazi Death's Head unit intent on retrieving the box and betrayed by a comrade who steals it, Caine must make a choice. Should he pursue the stolen object or stick to his original task and face almost certain death? The entire campaign rests on his decision. Michael Asher's third Death or Glory novel, Highroad to Hell, will have you gripped to the very last page. Breathtaking bravery, astonishing feats of endurance, raids and battles described with terrific immediacy and pace. Compelling and definitive . . . will surely not be bettered - Sunday Telegraph Detailed, scathingly honest. Asher has brought the critical eye of the knowledgeable insider to his in-depth study of SAS operations and personalities - Herald Michael Asher has served in the Parachute Regiment and the SAS. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and has won the Ness Award of the Royal Geographical Society and the Mungo Park Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for Exploration. The first two books in this series, The Last Commando and The Flaming Sword were also published by Penguin.
In the heat of battle you have a choice: Death or Glory . . . Libya, 1942 - Rommel's Africa Korps is sweeping across the desert. Ragged Allied forces are being torn apart in brutal fire-fights on the scorched sands. A desperate message to the Prime Minister is entrusted to First Officer Madeleine Rose, WRNS. Her codename: Runefish. When GHQ hears that Runefish's plane is lost behind enemy lines, they send for battle-hardened Sergeant Tom Caine. Caine is a first class soldier who nearly always does what he's told. He will lead a squad of specialist commandos into the heart of enemy territory and either rescue or execute Runefish. If he refuses to take this near-suicide mission he faces court martial. Now the outcome of the war depends on his following orders. Death or glory beckon . . .
Desert explorer Michael Asher investigates the most disastrous exploration mission in the history of the Sahara In December 1880 a French expedition attempted to map a route for a railway that would stretch from their colony in Algeria right across the Sahara desert to reach their territories in West Africa. 'Paris to Timbuctoo in Six Days' was the slogan. It would do for the French colonies what the American railways were doing in the western states at the same time. No native opposition was expected. As one of the expedition's organizers said, 'A hundred uncivilized tribesmen armed with old-fashioned spears: what is that against the might of France?' Four months later, a handful of emaciated survivors staggered into a remote outpost on the edge of the desert. Although armed with modern rifles, the column had been lured to destruction by the self-styled 'lords of the desert', the Tuareg. At this, the highpoint of European colonialism in Africa, this story of treachery, massacre, torture and even cannibalism made headlines around the world. Attacked by the Tuareg in their remote heartland, the survivors had been pursued for weeks on end, driven into the waterless desert to die. The desperate lengths they resorted to shocked Victorian sensibilities. They do not make easy reading now. This grisly story, told by our greatest living desert explorer reveals what happened when the conceit of western colonialism met the equally arrogant Tuareg, who had dominated this remote region, and anyone trying to cross it, for a thousand years.
The British campaign in the Sudan in Queen Victoria's reign is an epic tale of adventure more thrilling than any fiction. The story begins with the massacre of the 11,000 strong Hicks Pasha column in 1883. Sent to evacuate the country, British hero General Gordon was surrounded and murdered in Khartoum by an army of dervishes led by the Mahdi. The relief mission arrived 2 days too late. The result was a national scandal that shocked the Queen and led to the fall of the British government. Twelve years later it was the brilliant Herbert Kitchener who struck back. Achieving the impossible he built a railway across the desert to transport his troops to the final devastating confrontation at Omdurman in 1898. Desert explorer and author Michael Asher has reconstructed this classic tale in vivid detail. Having covered every inch of the ground and examined all eyewitness reports, he brings to bear new evidence questioning several accepted aspects of the story. The result is an account that sheds new light on the most riveting tale of honour, courage, revenge and savagery of late Victorian times.
The true story of the most famous SAS operation in history. 'Bravo Two Zero' was the code-name of the famous SAS operation: a classic story of bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. BRAVO TWO ZERO by patrol commander 'Andy McNab' became an international bestseller, as did the book by 'Chris Ryan' (THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY). Both men became millionaires. Three members of the patrol were killed. One, veteran sergeant Vince Phillips, was blamed in both books for a succession of mistakes. As Michael Asher reveals, the stories in BRAVO TWO ZERO and THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY grew considerably in the telling. Their heroic tales of taking out tanks with their rocket launchers, mowing down hundreds of Iraqi soldiers, the silent stabbing of the occasional sentry, were never mentioned at their post-war debriefings... In an investigation literally in the footsteps of the patrol, Michael Asher tells the true story.
A Desert Dies chronicles Michael Asher's life with desert communities in the Sahara over three drought-filled years. While Michael came to appreciate the allure of a nomadic life in isolation, he also saw how the perennial failure of rains devastated the way of life of even the hardiest of residents.Shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award for 1986-87A classic travel writing piece previously published by Longman's and Penguin Books in 1984 and 1986 respectively.
In August 1986, Michael Asher and Mariantonietta Peru set out to achieve the impossible: crossing from west to east of the Sahara. They traversed the vast lands of northern Africa long before 'Arab Spring' became word of mouth and threw the region into turmoil. Newly married, Asher and his wife go through a parallel adventure in their marriage. The rigours of the desert bring them closer together, until they discover themselves and adapt to the new milieu.
Asher is captivated by the Libyan Desert from the moment he sees it. He soon becomes frustrated with the confines of public transport and decides to buy his own camel. He discovers that this is the best way to live the experience of traversing the land of sun, sand, and stars, and tries to adapt. He sets out to trace the path of the once historic Forty Days Road. After riding solo for a while, he attaches himself to desert tribes but gets caught up in their conflicts. With the authorities frowning on his excursion, he finds himself battling for acceptance, freedom, and survival.