Synopses & Reviews
Art and Today is an innovative and extensive survey of international contemporary art from the 1980s to the present. Over four hundred of the most significant contemporary artists from around the world are represented in this comprehensive overview - some emerging, some mid-career, and others long established. Each of the book's sixteen chapters address recurring and relevant themes as diverse as "Art and Popular Culture," "Art and Its Institutions," and "Art and Globalism," rather than follow a strict chronological, geographical, or stylistic structure. Lively and up-to-date, Art and Today explores an era in which art defies simple categorization. The result is a surprising and original yet clear and reasoned perspective on contemporary art that breaks from prescribed classifications to offer a survey as expansive as the art it describes. For instance, in the chapter "Art and the Body," one might find performance discussed alongside figurative painting, sculpture and photography alongside video, and North American artists alongside Asian artists. The chapter "Art and Globalism" discusses artists whose nationality, generation, and medium are as diverse as those of Alan Sekula, Michal Rovner, Cildo Meireles, Manuel Ocampo, Chen Zhen, and Andreas Gursky. Internationally renowned art critic and scholar Eleanor Heartney is respected for her clear language and pragmatic approach to contemporary art. Her straightforward, engaging descriptions and explanations will appeal to both experts and newcomers alike, and will serve as an invaluable resource for years to come.
"The history of contemporary art, writes Heartney (Postmodernism), a contributing editor to Art in America, offers a 'tapestry of stories' in an innovative, intellectually vigorous and superbly illustrated survey. In this era of 'anarchic pluralism,' master narratives are inappropriate, and Heartney thus organizes her vividly written study thematically ('Art and Time,' 'Art and Narrative') rather than chronologically, and artists range from Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and other 'high kitsch' creators to the 'participatory' works of artists such as Nam June Paik and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Heartney's focus is sharp and selective, and her approach complexly postmodern: the 'ever-proliferating universe' of Matthew Ritchie's installations are discussed in the context of Roland Barthes, Cindy Sherman's photographs as Bakhtinian carnival. Participatory art, Heartney argues in her last chapter, is 'a direct challenge to cherished assumptions about the meaning of art,' whose 'democratization' may be the most significant force in art today. This exceptional survey will have wide appeal from the generalist to the scholar interested in a work that's both perceptive and energetic." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)