Synopses & Reviews
Art in Theory 1815-1900 is the most wide-ranging and comprehensive collection of documents ever assembled on 19th century theories of art. Like its highly successful companion volume, Art in Theory 1900-1990, this indispensable volume provides the documentary material for informed and up-to-date study. Its 236 texts, clear organization, and considerable editorial content help to create the essential guide to art theory of the period. The anthology also provides a view of the wider cultural debates of the 19th century, and the development of modern aesthetic theories.
Art in Theory combines writings by artists, critics, philosophers, and literary figures -- some reprinted in their entirety, others excerpted from longer works. About 1/3 of the material is composed of new translations, with texts drawn from French, German, Italian, Norwegian, and Russian sources. It examines a broad range of themes including concepts of genius and originality, modes of landscape painting, approaches to Realism, the question of Modernity and debates over Impressionism, theories of optics and color, the aesthetics of photography, and the rise of photography. Each section is prefaced by an essay that situates the ideas of the period in their historical context, while relating theoretical concerns and debates to developments in the practice of art. Each text is briefly introduced by an outline giving the circumstances of its original appearance and indicating its relevance to the development of modern artistic theory. An extensive bibliography is also provided.
Current debates about the status of Modernism have led to an increasing interest in critical and aesthetic theories, and to a questioning of some of the traditional assumptions and limits of art history. The aim of this substantial anthology is to equip the student, teacher and interested general reader with the necessary materials for an up-to-date understanding of twentieth-century art.
Beside the writings of the century's major artists, Art in Theory includes relevant texts by critics, philosophers, politicians and literary figures. It is organised into eight sections, from the legacy of Symbolism at the turn of the century to contemporary debates about the Postmodern. Each section is prefaced by a brief essay. There are introductions for all of the 300-plus texts, which serve to place theories and critical approaches in context. The result is both a comprehensive collection of documents on twentieth-century art and an encylopaedic history of relevant theory.
Since it was first published in 1992, this book has become one of the leading anthologies of art theoretical texts in the English-speaking world. This expanded edition includes the fruits of recent research, involving a considerable amount of newly translated material from the entire period, together with additional texts from the last decades of the twentieth century.
The features that made the first edition so successful have been retained:
- The volume provides comprehensive representation of the theories, which underpinned developments in the visual arts during the twentieth century.
- As well as writings by artists, the anthology includes texts by critics, philosophers, politicians and literary figures.
- The content is clearly structured into eight broadly chronological sections, starting with the legacy of symbolism and concluding with contemporary debates about the postmodern.
- The editors provide individual introductions to each of the 340 anthologised texts.
Material new to this expanded edition includes texts on African art, on the Bauhaus and on the re-emergent avant-gardes of the period after the Second World War. Post-modernist debates are amplified by texts on gender, on installation and performance art, and on the increasing globalisation of culture.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -1154) and index.
About the Author
is the author of a number of books on modern art criticism and art theory. He has been continuously involved in modern art as an exhibitor, critic, historian and theorist.
Paul Wood has published widely in exhibition catalogues and journals including Art History, Artscribe and Arts Magazine. He is a consulting editor for the Oxford Arts Journal.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Legacy of Symbolism:.
1. Classicism and Originality.
2. Expression and the Primitive.
Part II: The Idea of the Modern World:.
Part III: Rationalization and Transformation:.
5. Neo-Classicism and the Call to Order.
6. Dissent and Disorder.
7. Abstraction and Form.
8. Utility and Construction.
Part IV: Freedom, Responsibility and Power:.
9 The Modern as Ideal.
10. Realism as Figuration.
11. Realism as Critique.
12. Modernism as Critique.
Part V: The Individual and the Social:.
13. The American Avant-Garde.
14. Individualism in Europe.
15. Art and Society.
Part VI: Modernisation and Modernism:.
16. Art and Modern Life.
17. Modernist Art.
Part VII: Institutions and Objections:.
18. Objecthood and Reductivism.
19. Attitudes to Form.
20. Political Aspects.
21. Critical Revisions.
Part VIII: Ideas of the Postmodern:.
22. The Condition of History.
23. The Critique of Originality.
24. Figures of Difference.