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ArtSpeak: A Guide to Contemporary Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords, 1945 to the Presentby Robert Atkins
Synopses & Reviews
The leading lexicon of contemporary art returns in an expanded, full-color third edition.
An indispensable guide for art-world neophytes and seasoned professionals alike, the best-selling ArtSpeak returns in a revised and expanded third edition, illustrated in full color. Nearly 150 alphabetical entries—30 of them new to this edition—explain the who, what, where, and when of postwar and contemporary art. These concise mini-essays on the key terms of the art world are written with wit and common sense by veteran critic Robert Atkins. More than eighty images, most in color, illustrate key works of the art movements discussed, making ArtSpeak a visual reference, as well as a textual one. A timeline traces world and art-world events from 1945 to the present day, and a single-page ArtChart provides a handy overview of the major art movements in that period.
"A revised and expanded edition of the popular field guide, Atkins's text manages an accomplished duality of concision and comprehensiveness as it tours through contemporary art. Even for dedicated fans, the contemporary art world can be a daunting place, driven by seemingly abstruse styles, movements, and theoretical preoccupations. As a veteran traveler in this world, Atkins gracefully distills many of these major forces into succinct entries, listing the most influential artists alongside his brief explanation of driving concerns and modes. By necessity, the lexicon is less about producing startling insights and more about providing some basic framing for those entering a museum or gallery, and its consistent pointing toward other artists and overlapping -isms generate plenty of opportunities for further research. At the same time, Atkins includes a number of basic terms (from 'biennial' to 'zeitgeist') that help provide a useful outline of contemporary art on whole, amorphous as it is. The new edition includes both very recent vocabulary, such as 2012's coining of 'abject expressionism,' as well as a more developed mapping of contemporary Chinese art. While the guide could certainly be broadened in countless ways, for those encountering the market-driven world primarily centered in the West, Atkins provides a practical text, somehow able to navigate its inscrutable subject and arrive at an engaging, readable survey. Color illus. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Robert Atkins, an art historian, critic, and journalist, has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times and Art in America, and is a former staff columnist for The Village Voice. A frequent lecturer on contemporary art and culture, new media, and technology, Atkins has also been active in numerous cultural organizations, including Visual AIDS, of which he is a co-founder. His other books include ArtSpoke: A Guide to Modern Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords, 18481944 and Censoring Culture: Contemporary Threats to Free Expression.
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