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Themes of Contemporary Art Visual Art after 1980



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Oxford University Press
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  • Themes of Contemporary Art Visual Art after 1980
    Themes of Contemporary Art Visual Art after 1980
  • Themes of Contemporary Art Visual Art after 1980
    Themes of Contemporary Art Visual Art after 1980


Offering a unique thematic approach to recent art history,Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980, Third Edition, focuses on eight central ideas recurring in art over the past few decades: identity, the body, time, memory, place, language, science, and spirituality. Featuring 160 vivid illustrations (23 in color and 137 in black and white), this wide-ranging introduction presents artworks that exemplify a wide variety of materials, techniques, theoretical viewpoints, and stylistic approaches, by artists from diverse ethnic, cultural, and geographic backgrounds. Concise, engaging, and accessible, this thought-provoking volume challenges readers to think actively and critically about the ideas expressed in contemporary art. New to this Edition * Updated throughoutwith the most recent scholarship, research, and developments in the field * A new chapter on memoryas a theme in contemporary art and culture * An updated timelinethat reflects world events and developments in art and pop culture through today * 3 new artist profiles * 31 additional illustrations

Author Biography

Jean Robertson is Professor of Art History at Herron School of Art and Design, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Craig McDaniel is Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Programs at Herron School of Art and Design, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Table of Contents

Themes of Contemporary Art: What, Why, and How
A Brief Orientation

Chapter One: The Art World Expands
Overview of History and Art History, 1980-2011
Traditions Survive, New Trends Arrive
A Spectrum of Voices Emerges
Theory Flexes Its Muscles
Social Experience as Art
Art Meets Contemporary Culture

Chapter Two: Identity
Identity in Art History
Identity is Communal or Relational
Identity Politics
--- Essentialism
--- Diversity
--- Hybridity
Identity Is Constructed
--- Otherness and Representation
--- Deconstructing Difference
--- The Fluidity of Identity
Post Identity
Profile: Nancy Burson
Profile: Shirin Neshat

Chapter Three: The Body
Past Figurative Art
A New Spin on the Body
--- The Body Is a Battleground
--- The Body Is a Sign
--- Performing Bodies
They Body Beautiful
Sexual Bodies
--- The Gaze
--- Sex and Violence
Mortal Bodies
Posthuman Bodies
Profile: Reneť Cox
Profile: Zhang Huan

Chapter Four: Time
Changing Views of Time
Time and Art History
Time as a Medium
--- Live Art
--- Film and Video
--- Process Art
Exploring the Structure of Time
--- Counting Time
--- 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
--- (Most) Places Exist in Space
--- (Most) Works of Art Exist in a Place
What's Public? What's Private?
Looking at Places
Looking Out for Places
Fictionalized Places
Profile: Unilever Series at Tate Modern
Profile: Andrea Zittel

Chapter Seven: Language
Words with Art: A History
Art with 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
Confronting the Challenge of Translation
Using Text in the Information Age
Profile: Nina Katchadourian
Profile: Janet Cardiff

Chapter Eight: Science
What is Science?
Artists as Amateur Scientists
Artists Adopt Scientific Methods and Materials
--- Creole Technologies
--- BioArt
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
Classifying Humans in the Genomic Age
Is Nature Natural?
Marveling at the Universe
Profile: Patricia Piccinini
Profile: Eduardo Kac

Chapter Nine: Spirituality
Spirituality and Religion
A Short History
A Few Strategies
--- Manipulating Forms, Materials, and Processes
--- Manipulating Meanings and Minds
Finding Faith and Harboring Doubt
Expressing Religious Identities
Facing Death, Doom, and Destruction
Mingling the Sacred and the Secular
Profile: Josť Bedia
Profile: Bill Viola

Selected Bibliography
Color Plate

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