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Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980 is a unique introduction to several important themes that have recurred in art over the past few decades. Examining visual art from 1980 to the present, it takes an intriguing and accessible approach that motivates students and other readers to think actively about and discuss contemporary art--what it...
Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980 is a unique introduction to several important themes that have recurred in art over the past few decades. Examining visual art from 1980 to the present, it takes an intriguing and accessible approach that motivates students and other readers to think actively about and discuss contemporary art--what it means and how it means what it does. The opening chapter provides a concise overview of the period, analyzing how four key changes (the rise of new media, a growing awareness of diversity, the influence of theory, and interactions with everyday visual culture) have resulted in an art world with dramatically expanded boundaries. Reflecting the paradigm shift from a formalist way of teaching studio art to more varied and open-ended concepts, the remaining six chapters each deal with a key theme--time, place, the body, language, identity, and spirituality. Each chapter features an introduction to the thematic topic; a brief look at historical precedents and influences; a detailed analysis of how contemporary artists have responded to and embodied aspects of the theme in specific works; and an in-depth and fascinating profile of an artist who has extensively explored aspects of the theme in his or her work. Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980 shows how art can be interpreted from several different angles: techniques and materials, historical circumstances, aesthetic qualities, theoretical issues, and an artist's ideas and intentions. Writing in a lucid and engaging style, the authors skillfully reveal the multiple levels of meaning in artworks, drawing connections between contemporary art, art of the past, and everyday existence. The volume is enhanced by 87 illustrations--19 in full color--that demonstrate an immense variety of materials, subjects, and styles. These well-chosen examples will help readers learn to critically describe, interpret, and evaluate contemporary visual art. A bibliography and a timeline that situates contemporary art in the context of major events in world history, art, and popular culture are also included. An ideal core text for courses in contemporary art history, Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980 can also be used as a supplement in modern art, art appreciation, art criticism/theory, and studio art courses.
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