In the mid-1980s the sprouting of new movements that had driven modern art since the nineteenth century finally went dormant, sputtering out with a few last half-hearted labels ('pattern painting', 'neo-geo', 'commodity art'). But this was not the end of art history - far from it. In the years since, art's creative development has remained more vibrant than ever, resulting in a diversity of new forms that is truly staggering.
Defining Contemporary Art responds to this unique landscape with an innovative approach to art history. Selected by the eight most prominent curators working today, all of whom have both witnessed and shaped this period, Defining Contemporary Art today tells the story of the 200 pivotal artworks of the past 25 years. With insightful texts and generous illustrations, it offers the most complete, accurate and easy-to-use guide to the history of contemporary art. A vital sourcebook for historians and art practitioners, it is also an accessible introduction for anyone eager to understand the art of our time.
Publisher: Phaidon Press Ltd
Number of pages: 480
Weight: 2608 g
Dimensions: 290 x 214 x 53 mm
"...The reader is tempted with an array of dazzling images and supporting essays to tease out their own grand narratives. Whether you are an art historian, collector or a casual art peruser, this survey of the past 25 years from a curatorial perspective is certainly a feast for the eyes."-The Huffington Post
"Not only addresses the obstacle of pinning down the nebulous term "contemporary art," but also manages to pull off a legible presentation of it in a single book... Ultimately, Defining Contemporary Art functions as both a demonstration of contemporary curation and a poly-contextualized historical view."-Art Log
"Ambitious in scope... An attempt to write the art history of the last 25 years through artworks, rather than to define the 'contemporary'... The notion of the 'pivotal' artwork is the guiding principle here... Some of the artworks do appear truly pivotal in the sense that they transformed the artistic culture that came after... Because the artworks and essays are [...] ordered chronologically, it's revealing to see each year as a snapshot based on the way that it appears to the panel now."-Art Review
"Phaidon writes the latest chapter in art history... Examine[s] with fresh eyes both the obvious suspects - such as the entry on Jeff Koon's Rabbit (1986) penned by Gioni - alongside works whose importance has grown since their making - like Nickas's re-evaluation of Sherrie Levine's La Fortune (After Man Ray) (1989)."-Flash Art
"If there are multiple concepts embedded within the idea of art, perhaps multiple tour leaders are what is required. Whilst there is a constant stream of chunky picture books offering glossy surveys of recent art history, Defining Contemporary Art - 25 Years in 200 Pivotal Artworks has [...] instead of essays [...] eight art world luminaries select significant artworks and present them chronologically. The strength of this book lies in its list of contributors."-Art Monthly
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