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Offering a unique thematic approach to recent art history, Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980, Fourth Edition, focuses on eight central ideas recurring in art over the past few decades: identity, the body, time, memory, place, language, science, and spirituality.
This thought-provoking volume features over 200 full-color images of artworks that exemplify a wide variety of materials, techniques, theoretical viewpoints, and stylistic approaches, by artists from diverse ethnic, cultural, and geographic backgrounds. Its concise, engaging, and accessible narrative challenges readers to think actively and critically about the ideas expressed in contemporary art.
JEAN ROBERTSON is Chancellor's Professor of Art History at Indiana University's Herron School of Art and Design. CRAIG McDANIEL is Associate Dean and Professor of Fine Arts at Indiana University's Herron School of Art and Design. They are co-authors of Spellbound: Rethinking the Alphabet (2016).
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION Themes of Contemporary Art: What, Why, and How A Brief Orientation
CHAPTER ONE The Art World Expands Overview of History and Art History: 1980-2016 A Spectrum of Voices Emerges Globalization Theory Flexes Its Muscles Impact of the Digital Traditions Survive, New Trends Arrive Social Experience as Art Art Meets Contemporary Culture PROFILE: Katharina Grosse PROFILE: Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch
CHAPTER TWO Identity A Focus on Identity in Art History Identity Is Collective and Relational Identity Politics Otherness and Representation Essentialism Versus Diversity Authenticity and Hybridity Identity Is Constructed Deconstructing Difference The Fluidity of Identity Fictional Identities Are We Post-Identity? PROFILE: Shirin Neshat PROFILE: Nancy Burson
CHAPTER THREE The Body Past Figurative Art The Body Beautiful A New Spin on the Body The Body Is a Battleground The Body Is a Sign Performing Bodies Sexual Bodies The Gaze Sex and Violence Mortal Bodies Grotesque Bodies Classifying Humans in the Genomic Age Posthuman Bodies PROFILE: Renée Cox PROFILE: Zhang Huan
CHAPTER FOUR Time Changing Views of Time Time and Art History Representing Time Time as a Medium Live Art Film and Video Process Art Exploring the Structure of Time Counting and Measuring Time Reordering Time Expressing Endlessness PROFILE: Hiroshi Sugimoto PROFILE: Cornelia Parker
CHAPTER FIVE Memory Memory and Art History The Texture of Memory Memory Is Emotional Memory Is Unreliable Memory Is Multisensory Strategies for Representing the Past Displaying Evidence Reenacting the Past Fracturing Narratives and Reshuffling Memories Storehouses of Memory Revisiting the Past Recovering History Rethinking History Reframing the Present Commemorating the Past PROFILE: Christian Boltanski PROFILE: Brian Tolle
CHAPTER SIX Place Places Have Meanings Places Have Value History's Influence Representations of Space (Most) Works of Art Exist in a Place What's Public? What's Private? Dislocation Looking Out for Places Fictionalized Places PROFILE: Turbine Hall at Tate Modern PROFILE: Andrea Zittel
CHAPTER SEVEN Language Art and Words: A History Recent Theories of Language Reasons for Using Language Language Makes Meaning Language Takes Form Transparency and Translucency Spatiality and Physicality Books Made by Artists Art Made with Books Wielding the Power of Language Naming Confronting the Challenge of Translation Using Text in the Digital Age PROFILE: Nina Katchadourian PROFILE: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller
CHAPTER EIGHT Science What Is Science? Artists as Amateur Scientists Artists Adopt Scientific Tools and Materials Creole Technologies Bio Art The Ideology of Science Changing Paradigms of Science Is Science Running Amok? Activist Art Responds The Visual Culture of Science Scientific Imaging and Art Deconstructing the Visual Culture of Science Scientific Displays and Archives Science in Popular Culture Is Nature Natural? Marveling at the Universe PROFILE: Patricia Piccinini PROFILE: Eduardo Kac
CHAPTER NINE Spirituality Spirituality and Religion Enchantment A Short History Religious Iconography Spiritual Forms and Materials Mingling the Sacred and the Profane Sacred Spaces and Rituals Art and Transcendence Finding Faith and Harboring Doubt Expressing Religious Identities Facing Death, Doom, and Destruction PROFILE: Bill Viola PROFILE: José Bedia