Art Since 1940

Art Since 1940 : Strategies of Being

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This comprehensive and authoritative book illustrates art from the 1940's and stresses the individuality of the artists in relation to their political, social, and cultural contexts. KEY TOPICS: The book focuses on the meaning of the major works and innovations. It features nearly 600 illustrations (approximately half in color) representing art since 1940, both in Europe and America. It explores the full range of periods, artists, and movements: New York in the Forties; Calder, Hofmann, Gorky, Motherwell, De Kooning; Existentialism (Pollock, Newman, Rothko, David Smith); The New European Masters of the Late Forties (Dubuffet, Giacometti, Bacon), plus so much more. MARKET: For anyone interested in Postwar Art.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 560 pages
  • 213.36 x 276.86 x 27.94mm | 1,564.89g
  • Pearson
  • Boston, MA, United States
  • English
  • 3rd edition
  • Illustrations (some col.), ports. (some col.)
  • 0131934791
  • 9780131934795
  • 798,593

Back cover copy

The premise of this book is that artists use their art to think about their experience; it gives them a language in which to work out a way of existing in the world. So the front and back of the cover are illustrated with some of the great artists featured in the book doing their work.


1. Yoko Ono in the first performance of Cut Piece, Yamaichi Hall, Kyoto, 1964

photo courtesy Lenono Photo Archive (c) Yoko Ono

2. Ann Hamilton wearing her 1984 # 13: Toothpick Suitchair

photo courtesy Ann Hamilton Studio

3. Josef Beuys lecturing with a blackboard, New York, 1974

photo photo by Peter Moore (c) Estate of Peter Moore/ VAGA, New York

4. Ilya Kabakov performing The Walk with Ilya Kabakov, Moscow, circa 1980

photo (c) Yuri Rost

5. Christo and Jeanne-Claude talking to workers at The Gates assembly plant in Queens, N.Y., February 2005 photo Wolfgang Volz

6. Jackson Pollock painting, East Hampton, N.Y., 1950

(c) The Pollock-Krasner Foundation ARS, NY and DACS, London 2010, photo by Hans Namuth. Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona. Photograph (c) Hans Namuth Estate


7 Cai Guo-Qiang in The Century with Mushroom Clouds Projects for the 20th Century, 1996

Photograph by Hiro Ihara, courtesy of the artist


8. Roxy Paine welding Conjoined, Madison Park, N.Y.C., 2007

photo (c) Sofia M. Paine

9. Louise Bourgeois at home working on her mixed media sculpture Confrontation, New York, 1982

photo Inge Morath, courtesy Louise Bourgeois Studio/(c) Louise Bourgeois. DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2010

10. Andy Warhol during the filming of Lupe Velez (portrayed by Edie Sedgwick) in the home of Panna Grady at the Dakota apartment building, New York, 1965

photo (c) Nat Finkelstein

11. Kerry James Marshall drawing, Chicago, 2009

photo by J. Fineberg

12. David Smith welding, Bolton Landing, 1952

photo (c) John Stewart

13. Robert Arneson, modeling a self portrait, Benicia, California, 1978

Photo courtesy and (c) estate of Robert Arneson/DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2010
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Table of contents

Foreword to the Third Edition



1 Introduction

Approaching Art as a Mode of Thought


The Concept of the Avant-Garde

Modernism's Radical Individuality and Self-Critique


An American Perspective/the Perspective of this Book

2 New Yorkin the Forties

New York Becomes the Center


Wilfredo Lam

Roberto Matta

Joseph Cornell

American Pragmatism and Social Relevance

The Depression and the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.)

The Availability of European Modernism

The Europeans in New York

The Sense of a New Movement in New York

Commonalities and Differences Among the Artists of the New York School

Automatism and Action in the Art of the New York School

Action and Existentialism

Clyfford Still

Adolph Gottlieb

Franz Kline

Friends in and around the New York School

Alternative Narratives of the Forties

Jacob Lawrence

Hedda Sterne

Louise Bourgeois

Photography in the Era of the New York School

Weegee and Lisette Model

Aaron Siskind and the Chicago School

3 A Dialog with Europe

Alexander Calder

Calder's Early Life and Themes

Calder in Paris

Cosmic Imagery and the Mobiles

Hans Hofmann

Stylistic Lessons from Europe

Hofmann's Art Theory

Hofmann's Painting

Arshile Gorky

Gorky's Life (Real and Imagined)

The Development of Gorky's Style

Gorky's Late Works

Robert Motherwell

Intellectual Affinities with the European Moderns

Recurring Themes in Motherwell's Work

Teaching, Writing, and Editing in Motherwell's Early Career

Motherwell's Painting

Willem de Kooning

De Kooning's Training and Early Career

The Dissolution of Anatomy into Abstraction

The Anatomical Forms Dissolve into Brushstrokes

De Kooning's Abstractions of the Fifties

The "Women" of the Sixties and the Late Works

4 Existentialism Comes to the Fore

Jackson Pollock

Pollock's Early Life and Influences

Pollock's Breakthrough of the Early Forties

Pollock's Transition to a Pure Gestural Style

The Dripped and Poured Canvases

Pollock in the Fifties

Barnett Newman

The Revelation of Newman's Onement I

The Paintings of the Late Forties

Vir Heroicus Sublimis and Other Works of the Fifties

The "Stations of the Cross"

Mark Rothko

Rothko's Formative Years

Turning to Classical Myth

Surrealism, Psychoanalysis, and "the Spirit of Myth"

"Heroifying" the Ineffable

The Murals and Other Late Work

David Smith and the Sculpture of the New York School

Smith's Initiation into the Art World

The Aesthetic of Machines and the Unconscious

The Pictograms and Hudson RiverLandscape

An Existential Encounter with the Materials at Hand

Career Success and Personal Sacrifices

The Figural Presence and the Work of the Last Decade

5 The New European Masters of the Late Forties

Jean Dubuffet and Postwar Paris

Dubuffet's Painting of the Forties

Dubuffet's Philosophical Premises

A Focus on Matter in the Fifties

A Grand Style of Entropy

The Existentialist Figuration of Alberto Giacometti

Francis Bacon

6 Some International Tendencies of the Fifties

Purified Abstraction 1

An Encounter with the Physicality of the Materials in Europe

A Material Reading of Action Painting in New York

Greenberg's Definition of Modernism

The Greenberg School

Formalist Painting

"New Images of Man" in Europe and America

The Cobra

The Figurative Revival of the Fifties

Figurative Painting in the Bay Area

Chicago's Existential Imagist

7 The Beat Generation

"A Coney Island of the Mind"

John Cage

Merce Cunningham

The Cage "Event" of 1952

Robert Rauschenberg

The Self as a Mirror of Life

Rauschenberg's Early Career

The Combine Paintings

The Drawings for Dante's Inferno

The End of the Combines

The Silkscreen Paintings

Performance and the Prints of the Later Sixties

Real: Junk Assemblage and Happenings

Underground Film

The Genesis of the Happenings

The Judson Dance Theater

Walk-in Paintings

Claes Oldenburg

The "Cold Existentialism" of the "Ray Gun" and The Street

The Store Days

Soft Sculpture

Proposals for Monuments

Realizing Monuments and the Architectural Scale

Jasper Johns

"Nature" Is How We Describe It

Painting as a Discourse on Language

An Aesthetic of "Found" Expression

Emotion and Distance

Incorporating Objects: What One Sees and What One Knows

The Paintings of 1959

The New Emotional Tone of the Early Sixties

Explorations of Linguistic Philosophy

Diver of 1962

Periscope (Hart Crane)

The Perceptual Complexity of Looking

Dropping the Reserve

8 Asian and European Vanguards of the Later Fifties

Nouveau Realisme

Yves Klein's Romanticism

Le Vide

The "Living Brash"

Seeking Immateriality

Klein's Demise

The Nouveaux Realistes



Joseph Beuys

Revealing the Animism in Nature

The Artist as Shaman

Art as the Creative Life of the Mind

Nam June Paik's Electronic "Nature"

Yoko Ono

9 The Landscape of Signs: American Pop Art

The Electronic Consciousness

A Turning Point in Theory

British Pop: From the Independent Group to David Hockney

Key Figures of the Independent Group

The Exhibitions

Paolozzi and Hamilton as Artists

Popular Imagery into High Art

David Hockney

Collaging Reality on Pop Art's Neutral Screen of Images

Andy Warhol

Warhol's Background

Selecting Nonselectivity

Eliminating the Artist's Touch

A Terrifying Emptiness

The Factory Scene

Business Art and the "Shadows" that Linger Behind It

Roy Lichtenstein

James Rosenquist

Chicago and Points West

H.C. Westermann

Peter Saul

The Hairy Who

West Coast Pop

Funk Art

Peter Voulkos

The Politicized Cultural Climate of the Sixties

William Wiley

Ed Kienholz

L.A. Pop

Robert Arneson

Arneson's Break with Conventional Ceramics

The Toilets

A Technical Breakthrough

Objects of the Mid-Sixties

The Self-Portraits

Discovering a Political Voice

Introspection Via Pollock

10 In the Nature of Materials: The Later Sixties

Back to First Principles-Minimal Art

Frank Stella

Donald Judd

Tony Smith

Carl Andre

Dan Flavin

Robert Morris

Sol Le Witt

The Los Angeles Light and Space Movement

Object/Concept/Illusion in Painting

A Focus on Surface Handling in Painting

Eva Hesse and Investigations of Materials and Process

Eva Hesse

The Direct Sensuality of Fiberglass and Latex

Bruce Nauman and Richard Serra

Bruce Nauman

Richard Tuttle

Richard Serra

Artists Working in the Landscape

Michael Heizer

Walter De Maria

Robert Smiths

An Accidental Rubric

Arte Povera, and a Persevering Rapport with Nature in Europe

11 Politics and Postmodernism

The Critical Atmosphere at the End of the Sixties

Language and Measure

Recasting Photography

Art and Nature

Vito Acconci: Defining a Conceptual Oeuvre

Body Art

Ana Mendieta

Lygia Clark

Helio Oiticica

Performance Art

Political Comment

Marcel Broodthaers


The Potential for Broader Political Action

Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Art in the Theater of Real Events

The Shift to an Architectural Scale

The Logistics of the Projects

Surrounded Islands

Christo and Jeanne-Claude in the Nineties and Beyond


Sigmar Polke

Gerhard Richter

John Baldessari

Transition to the Seventies

12 Corporate Culture and its Enemies

A "New" Pluralism

Romare Bearden

Bearden's Collages of the Sixties

Identity, Corporate Culture, and Pluralism

Art and Feminism

A Dazzling Photorealism

Everyday Places

Appropriated Sites: Charles Simonds

Gordon Matta-Clark's Site Critiques

Alice Aycock

Aycock's Work of the Eighties

Cultural Complexity

Media as a Medium


Cindy Sherman

13 Painting in the Seventies

Philip Guston's Late Style

Guston's Early Career

Guston's Action Paintings of the Fifties

The Re-emergence of the Figure

New Expressionist Painting in Europe

Joerg Immendorff's Political Analysis of Painting in the Seventies

Identity on the Plane of Images

Georg Baselitz and A.R. Penck

Anselm Kiefer

Italian Neo-Expressionism

Francesco Clemente

New Image Painting

Elizabeth Murray

The Origins of Murray's Style

Pursuing the Logic of the Shaped Canvas

The Internationalization of Neo-Expressionism

American Neo-expressionism

14 The Eighties

Complexity Settles In

A Fresh Look at Abstraction

An Expressionism Beyond Medium: Jonathan Borofsky

Graffiti Art

Keith Haring

The East Village Scene of the Eighties

Jean-Michel Basquiat

David Wojnarowicz

Eighties Installation

The Peculiar Case of the Russians

Ilya Kabakov

Kabakov in the West

The Aesthetic of Consumerism

Political Appropriation

15 The Nineties

Keeping it Real

Return to the Body

Ann Hamilton

Transgressive Dislocations of the Body

Matthew Barney


Controversial Methods

Postmodern Conceptualism

Constructing the Postmodern Self

Louise Bourgeois

New Uses of the Camera


Slippage: Fred Tomaselli

Roxy Paine's Taxonomy

Cultural Identity

Kerry James Marshall

The Comics

Global Culture and Local Meaning


16 A New Century, A Changed World

Violated Boundaries


" (c)Murakami": Branding the Self

Conrad Bakker-Parsing the Fictions of Real Economies

Andrea Fraser: Context and Self

Detached Subjectivity

Identity and Shopping: Sang-ah Choi

Dissolution, Dislocation, Displacement of Boundaries-An Autopsy on Identity

An Alternative History

17 To Say the Things That Are One's Own



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Review quote

Fineberg's new edition is the book to learn modern art from--many times over. No other study is as truly comprehensive. Always sensitive to the political context of modern and contemporary art, Fineberg resists playing ideological favorites. Every artist, every medium, receives a sympathetic, informative view in accessible prose that never dodges the inherent complexities. Follow Fineberg as he moves from accounts of the careers of Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock to the fantasy world of Maya Deren's filmmaking, to Alfredo Jaar's manipulations of public information, to Kerry James Marshall's drawings of black superhero comics, to the cultural appropriations of Nikki S. Lee, and on and on. It's all there, and it's all succinctly, yet deeply, authoritatively, considered. --- RichardShiff, The University of Texas at Austin

The great value of Fineberg's account of the art of the past seventy years is its attentiveness to what happens for artists in the course of their work, how the play of individual circumstances makes breakthrough moments possible, and how the life of art is always as well an experiential record of ways of living. ---Franklin "Buzz" Spector, Washington University in St. Louis
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About Jonathan Fineberg

Jonathan Fineberg is Gutgsell Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois and a trustee of The Phillips Collection in Washington. He earned his B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, an M.A. from the Courtauld Institute in London, and studied psychoanalysis at the Boston and Western New England Institutes. He has taught at Yale, Harvard, and Columbia universities and among his awards are: the Pulitzer Fellowship in Critical Writing, the NEA Art Critic's Fellowship, and the College Art Association's

Award for Distinguished Teaching in the History of Art. His other books include: Christo and Jeanne-Claude: On the Way to the Gates (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), The Innocent Eye: Children's Art and the Modern Artist (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997), Imagining America: Icons of 20th Century American Art (with John Carlin; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005; also a two-hour television special on PBS), and When We Were Young: New Perspectives on the Art of the Child (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006).
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