Themes of Contemporary Art

Themes of Contemporary Art : Visual Art After 1980

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A compact and accessible introduction to recent contemporary art history, Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980, Second Edition, focuses on seven important themes that have recurred in art over the past few decades: identity, the body, time, place, language, science, and spirituality. The opening chapter provides a concise overview of the period, analyzing how five key changes (the rise of new media, a growing awareness of diversity, globalization, the influence of theory, and interactions with everyday visual culture) have resulted in an art world with dramatically expanded boundaries. The remaining seven chapters each feature an introduction to one thematic topic; a brief look at historical influences; a detailed analysis of how contemporary artists have responded to and embodied aspects of the theme in specific works; and two profiles of artists who have extensively explored aspects of the theme in their work. The book's thematic organization encourages students, gallery goers, and other readers to think actively and critically about the ideas expressed in the artwork instead of simply memorizing "who, what, when, and where." Themes of Contemporary Art, Second Edition, features more than 125 vivid illustrations (including 21 in color) that exemplify a wide variety of materials, techniques, theoretical viewpoints, and stylistic approaches from artists of diverse ethnic, cultural, and geographic backgrounds. It also includes an updated timeline that situates art within the context of the time it was created. New to the Second Edition *An additional chapter explores science as a theme in recent contemporary art *Eight new artist profiles and revisions to existing chapters bring the examples well into the 21st century *An updated timeline of world events and developments in art and pop culture *Over 40 new illustrations of contemporary artshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 359 pages
  • 190.5 x 233.68 x 17.78mm | 612.35g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • Illustrations (some col.)
  • 019536757X
  • 9780195367577
  • 249,591

Table of contents

CONTENTS; INTRODUCTION; Themes of Contemporary Art: What, Why, and How; Format of the Book; CHAPTER ONE: THE ART WORLD EXPANDS; Overview of History and Art History: 1980-2008; Old Media Thrive, New Media Make Waves; The Art World Goes Global; Theory Waxes and Wanes; Art Meets Contemporary Culture; Post Studio Art Practice; CHAPTER TWO: TIME; Time and Art History; Changing Views of Time; Changing Views of the Past; Exhibits about Time; Exploring the Structure of Time; Revisiting the Past; Commemorating the Past; Profile #1: Brian Tolle; Profile #2: Cornelia Parker; CHAPTER THREE: PLACE; Places Have Meanings; Places Have Value; Exhibits about Place; History's Influence; Looking at Places; Looking Out For Places; Constructing (and Deconstructing) Artificial Places; Placeless Spaces; What's Public? What's Private?; In-Between Places; Profile #1: Janet Cardiff; Profile #2: Unilever Series at Tate Modern; CHAPTER FOUR: IDENTITY; Identity in Art History; Identity is Communal or Relational; Essentialism; Difference; Identity is Not Fixed; Sexual Identity is Diverse; Hybridity; Reinventing Identities; Profile #1: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith; Profile #2: Shirin Neshat; CHAPTER FIVE: THE BODY; Past Figurative Art; A New Spin on the Body; The Body Beautiful; Different bodies; Body parts; Mortal Bodies; Sexual Bodies; Post-Human Bodies; Profile #1: Renee Cox; Profile #2: Zhang Huan; CHAPTER SIX: LANGUAGE; Words with Art: A History; Art with Words: A History; Recent Theories of Language; Reasons for Using Language; Exhibitions and Publications Concerning Language in Art; Language Makes Meaning; Language Takes Form; Wielding the Power of Language; Confronting the Challenge of Translation; Using Text in the Information Age; Profile #1: Ken Aptekar; Profile #2: Nina Katchadourian; CHAPTER SEVEN: SCIENCE; What is Science?; Artists as Amateur Scientists; Artists Adopt Scientific Methods and Materials; Science and Art: Intertwined Through History; The Ideology of Science; Is Science Running Amok? Activist Art Responds; Recent Exhibits about science and art; The Visual Culture of Science; Classifying Humans in the Genomic Age; Is Nature Natural?; Marveling at the Universe; Profile #1: Patricia Piccinini; Profile #2: Eduardo Kac; CHAPTER EIGHT: SPIRITUALITY; A Short History; A Few Strategies; Finding Faith and Harboring Doubt; Expressing Religious Identities; Facing Death, Doom, and Destruction; Mingling the Sacred and the Secular; Profile #1: Jose Bedia; Profile #2: Bill Viola; BIBLIOGRAPHY; TIMELINE (1980-2008); INDEXshow more

About Jean Robertson

Jean Robertson is Professor of Art History and Craig McDaniel is Associate Dean and Professor of Fine Art, both at Herron School of Art and Design, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis. They are coauthors of Painting as a Language: Materials, Technique, Form, Content (2000).show more

Rating details

78 ratings
3.67 out of 5 stars
5 18% (14)
4 46% (36)
3 24% (19)
2 9% (7)
1 3% (2)
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