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Contemporary Art: A Very Short Introduction

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Contemporary art has never been so popular - but what is 'contemporary' about contemporary art? What is its role today, and who is controlling its future? Bloody toy soldiers, gilded shopping carts, and embroidered tents. Contemporary art is supposed to be a realm of freedom where artists shock, break taboos, flout generally received ideas, and switch between confronting viewers with works of great emotional profundity and jaw-dropping triviality. But away from shock tactics in the gallery, there are many unanswered questions. Who is really running the art world? What effect has America's growing political and cultural dominance had on art? Julian Stallabrass takes us inside the international art world to answer these and other controversial questions, and to argue that behind contemporary art's variety and apparent unpredictability lies a grim uniformity. Its mysteries are all too easily explained, its depths much shallower than they seem. Contemporary art seeks to bamboozle its viewers while being the willing slave of business and government. This book is your antidote and will change the way you see contemporary art. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Published by OUP Oxford on 03/23/2006
Book details: 168 pages.

Gargantua

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Rabelais's tale the giant prince Gargantua is a vast and inescapable cluster of qualities and activities; his violence, greed and incontinence are incomparable. In the old giant's size, ubiquity, gluttony, vast knowledge and warlike nature, we can recognize qualities of our contemporary culture. In this brilliant polemic on our visual mass culture, Stallabrass argues that culture's status as a commodity is the most important thing about it, affecting its form, its relation to the viewer and its ideology. The great diversity of choice masks the extent to which this choice is managed by an ever-shrinking number of powerful owners. Stallabrass shows how the consistent and unifying capitalist ideology of mass culture leads to an increasingly homogeneous identity among its consumers. Even in marginal and radical cultural activities, like graffiti writing, can be found the tyranny of the brand name and the reduction of the individual to a cipher. Starting with an analysis of subjects which concern specific groups—amateur photography, computer games and cyberspace—Stallabrass works out to wider aspects of the culture which affect everybody, including cars, shopping and television. Gargantua raises profound questions about the nature and direction of mass culture. It also raises a challenge to the postmodern theorists' adherence to subjectivity, indeterminacy and political indifference. If manufactured subjectivities are always shot through with the objective, then their plurality may not be merely a colourful but meaningless postmodern smorgasbord, but rather the accurate reflection of our current cultural situation, and a map showing paths beyond it.
Published by Verso on 07/21/1996
Book details: 244 pages.

High Art Lite

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High Art Lite takes a cool and critical look at the way in which British art in the 1990s has reinvented itself, successfully appealing both to the mass media and to the elite art world. In this extensively illustrated polemic, Julian Stallabrass asks whether it has done so at the price of dumbing down and selling out. 18 color and 53 b/w photographs.
Published by Verso on 07/21/1999
Book details: 342 pages.

Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction

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As public interest in modern art continues to grow, as witnessed by the spectacular success of Tate Modern and the Bilbao Guggenheim, there is a real need for a book that will engage general readers, offering them not only information and ideas about modern art, but also explaining its contemporary relevance and history. This book achieves all this and focuses on interrogating the idea of 'modern' art by asking such questions as: What has made a work of art qualify as modern (or fail to)? How has this selection been made? What is the relationship between modern and contemporary art? Is 'postmodernist' art no longer modern, or just no longer modernist - in either case, why, and what does this claim mean, both for art and the idea of 'the modern'? Cottington examines many key aspects of this subject, including the issue of controversy in modern art, from Manet's Dejeuner sur L'Herbe (1863) to Picasso's Les Demoiselles, and Tracey Emin's Bed, (1999); and the role of the dealer from the main Cubist art dealer Kahnweiler to Charles Saatchi. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Published by OUP Oxford on 02/24/2005
Book details: 168 pages.

Photography Reframed

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At a critical point in the development of photography, this book offers an engaging, detailed and far-reaching examination of the key issues that are defining contemporary photographic culture. Photography Reframed addresses the impact of radical technological, social and political change across a diverse set of photographic territories: the ontology of photography; the impact of mass photographic practice; the public display of intimate life; the current state of documentary, and the political possibilities of photographic culture. These lively, accessible essays by some of the best writers in photography together go deep into the most up-to-date frameworks for analysing and understanding photographic culture and shedding light on its histories. Photography Reframed is a vital road map for anyone interested in what photography has been, what it has become, and where it is going.
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on 07/30/2018
Book details: 288 pages.

The Work of Art in a Digital Age: Art, Technology and Globalisation

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This book explores digital artists’ articulations of globalization. Digital artworks from around the world are examined in terms of how they both express and simulate globalization’s impacts through immersive, participatory and interactive technologies. The author highlights some of the problems with macro and categorical approaches to the study of globalization and presents new ways of seeing the phenomenon as a series of processes and flows that are individually experienced and expressed. Instead of providing a macro analysis of large-scale political and economic processes, the book offers imaginative new ways of knowing and understanding globalization as a series of micro affects. Digital art is explored in terms of how it re-centers articulations of globalization around individual experiences and offers new ways of accessing a complex topic often expressed in general and intangible terms. The Work of Art in a Digital Age: Art, Technology and Globalization is analytic and accessible, with material that is of interest to a range of researchers from different disciplines. Students studying digital art, film, globalization, cultural studies or digital media trends will also find the content fascinating.
Published by Springer on 08/20/2014
Book details: 167 pages.

British Marxism and Cultural Studies

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A comprehensive exploration of the profound influence of Marxist ideas on the development of Cultural Studies in Britain, this volume covers a century of Marxist writing, balancing synoptic accounts of the various schools of Marxist thought with detailed analyses of the most important writers. Arguing that a recognisably Marxist tradition of cultural analysis began in the last two decades of the nineteenth century and continues unbroken to the present day, British Marxism and Cultural Studies traces the links between contemporary developments in the field and the extended tradition of which they form a part. With discussion of figures such as Jack Lindsay, C.L.R. James, Julian Stallabrass and Mike Wayne, as well as the cultural thinking of the New Left, Gramscian, Althusserian and Political Economy schools, this book shows that the history of British cultural Marxism is broader and richer than many people realise. As such, it will be of interest to scholars and students of sociology, cultural studies, intellectual history and the history of the Left.
Published by Routledge on 04/20/2016
Book details: 210 pages.

Counter-Memorial Aesthetics

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Restrictive border protection policies directed toward managing the flow of refugees coming into neoliberal democracies (and out of failing nation-states) are a defining feature of contemporary politics. In this book, Verónica Tello analyses how contemporary artists-such as Tania Bruguera, Isaac Julien, Rosemary Laing, Dinh Q. Lé, Dierk Schmidt, Hito Steyerl, Lyndell Brown and Charles Green-negotiate their diverse subject positions while addressing and taking part in the production of images associated with refugee experiences and histories. Tello argues that their practices, which manifest across a range of contexts including Cuba, the United States, Australia and Europe, represent an emergent, global paradigm of contemporary art, 'counter-memorial aesthetics'. Counter-Memorial Aesthetics, Tello argues, is characterized by its conjunction of heterogeneous signifiers and voices of many times and places, generating an experimental, non-teleological approach to the construction of contemporary history, which also takes into account the complex, disorienting spatial affects of globalization. Spanning performance art, experimental 'history painting', aftermath photography and video installation, counter-memorial aesthetics bring to the fore, Tello argues, how contemporary refugee flows and related traumatic events critically challenge and conflict with many existing, tired if not also stubborn notions of national identity, borders, history and memory. Building on the writings of such thinkers as Michel Foucault and Jacques Rancière, this book offers a useful concept of 'counter-memory' for the twenty-first century. It shows how counter-memorial aesthetics is not only central to the nexus of contemporary art and refugee histories but also how it can offer a way of being critically present with many other, often interrelated, global crises in the contemporary era.
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on 10/20/2016
Book details: 272 pages.

Technocities

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Information and communication technologies are said to be transforming urban life dramatically and bringing about rapid economic and cultural globalization. This book explores the many fascinating and urgent issues involved by relating advanced theoretical debates to practical matters of communication with cultural policy. It maps out a range of `optimistic' and `pessimistic' scenarios with special regard to various forms of inequality, particularly class, gender and geopolitical. Topics discussed include urban planning, virtual cities and actual cities, economic and political policy, and critical social analysis of current trends that are of momentous consequence. The book concludes that it is necessary to bring together a number of diffe
Published by SAGE on 06/22/1999
Book details: 213 pages.

A Companion to American Art

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A Companion to American Art presents 35newly-commissioned essays by leading scholars that explore themethodology, historiography, and current state of the field ofAmerican art history. Features contributions from a balance of established andemerging scholars, art and architectural historians, and otherspecialists Includes several paired essays to emphasize dialogue and debatebetween scholars on important contemporary issues in American arthistory Examines topics such as the methodological stakes in thewriting of American art history, changing ideas about whatconstitutes “Americanness,” and the relationship of artto public culture Offers a fascinating portrait of the evolution and currentstate of the field of American art history and suggests futuredirections of scholarship
Published by John Wiley & Sons on 01/30/2015
Book details: 680 pages.
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