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Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985 Paperback – Sep 11 2012


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Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985 + The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology
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Review

“This is a much-needed primer on the role of critical thought in the art of the last twenty years. At a time when some have mourned – or alternatively celebrated – the death of art theory, this valuable anthology traces its viability – indeed, its necessity – for understanding recent aesthetic practice.” Pamela Lee, StanfordUniversity --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“Here are urgent things to read—including texts by artists who 'live within' theory.  Not only analytical arguments but models for the expansion of history, politics and aesthetics. “
- Josiah McElheny, artist, New York City

“Kocur’s and Leung’s thought-provoking new anthology makes me envy today’s students and their professors. User-friendly, devoid of jargon, this volume zeroes in on issues that are at the core of contemporary art practices, offering a view of the current state of theory, and of the interrelation between art and theory, that is both synthetic and chronological.  I cannot imagine a better guide to navigate through all the transformations art has gone through since 1980 in response to those of the world at large. This anthology is a delight, and an immense service to the field of contemporary studies.”
- Yve-Alain Bois, Institute for Advanced Study


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Amazon.com: 5 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Delivers exactly what it says! Nov. 9 2006
By Joe Clay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Honestly there isn't much to say about this book. If you have ever wondered what happened to art after "modernism," this is the book to read. It's a must for any contemporary artist--contemporary as in present, not in the art sense, which would cut off around Warhol. This book can also be used to prove to anyone who thinks art doesn't require thinking that it requires quite a bit more thinking than they would expect.

If you find reading a normal book challenging, this isn't the book for you. Many of the ideas will escape you unless you have a good working knowledge of the concepts behind postmodern theory, such as semiotics and psychoanalytic theory (especially Freud and Lacan). I would recommend Visual Culture: The Reader (edited by Evans and Hall) to provide a basis for this background info.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
great for art theorists and paper writing! Dec 6 2005
By Rens Renfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book contains several essential essays for anyone studying contemporary art theory. It is an extremely theoretical book, not to be undertaken lightly. It would help if you had a basic background in some theoretical discourse.

As a graduate student, I have used it in several of my theory classes, and it has proven to be extremely helpful in writing papers.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
What's new in the second edition Sept. 7 2012
By Benjamin Lima - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What's new in the second edition? The publisher doesn't make it very easy to tell.

In a Bourdieuian turn, Part I, formerly "Contemporary Art Practices and Models," is now "The Field of Contemporary Art." Here, Michael Brenson's "The Curator's Moment" (1998) is gone, replaced by Chin-Tao Wu, "Biennials without Borders?" Alexander Alberro, "Periodizing Contemporary Art," and Jacques Rancière, "Contemporary Art and the Politics of Aesthetics" (all 2009).

A new Part II, "Practices and Models/Rethinking Form and Medium," includes pieces by Andrea Fraser, Grant Kester and Liz Kotz (formerly in Part I), David Joselit and Benjamin H. D. Buchloh (formerly in Part IV), and Rosalind Krauss (formerly in Part V). Also here, Claire Bishop's "Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics" (2004) is new, replacing James Gaywood's "'yBa' as Critique: The Socio-Political Inferences of the Mediated Identity of Recent British Art" (1997).

What was Part II is now Part III, "Culture/Identities/Political Agency" (formerly "...Political Fields"). One of the two Carole Vance texts, "Feminist Fundamentalism: Women Against Images" (1993), is gone. Two new additions are Beatriz Preciado, "The Architecture of Porn: Museum, Urban Detritus, and Cinematic Stag-Rooms" (2012) and Chantal Mouffe, "Cultural Workers as Organic Intellectuals" (2008).

What were once Part IV, "Rethinking Aesthetics," and Part V, "Theories After Postmodernism," are gone, with some of their texts eliminated, and other texts transferred to other Parts. Gone are Nana Last, "Function and Field: Demarcating Conceptual Practices" (2004), Juli Carson, "1989," Nelly Richard, "Postmodernism and Periphery" (1987), Laura Kipnis, "Repossessing Popular Culture" (1993), and John Rajchman, "The Lightness of Theory" (1993).

In place of these is a new Part V, "Art Subjects/Historical Subjects," with the following essays:

* Marina Grzinić, "Re-politicizing Art, Theory, Representation, and New Media Technology" (2008)
* Mary Kelly, "Miming the Master: Boy-Things, Bad Girls, and Femmes Vitales (1996)
* Anthony Downey, "Zones of Indistinction: Giorgio Agamben's 'Bare Life' and the Politics of Aesthetics" (2009)
* Blake Stimson, "For the Love of Abstraction" (2008)
* T. J. Demos, "The Politics of Sustainability: Art and Ecology" (2009)

Under no circumstances to be overlooked, Liam Gillick's 2005 letter, "Contingent Factors: A Response to Claire Bishop's 'Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics'" is reprinted as an appendix. Gillick also gets the front cover illustration.

The claim in Yve-Alain Bois's blurb that the book is "devoid of jargon" is somewhat astonishing.

Where do these texts come from? October (5), Third Text (4), Art History (1), New Left Review (1), Art in America (1), Transition (1), Afterimage (1), Artforum (1), positions (1), and others. Nothing from Grey Room (!), e-flux journal, Texte zur Kunst (!!), the Oxford Art Journal, or Frieze.
28 of 61 people found the following review helpful
A tedious assemblage of utter rubbish. June 4 2007
By John A. Gargano - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On the back cover of this book it states, "... this book is a groundbreaking anthology...". This is absurd. One of the basic tenets of this book is that "aesthetics...have been submitted to a rethinking that challenges the criteria under which modern art was judged." It may have been submitted - but let there be no doubt - amongst reasonable intelligent people (outside of academe) it has most certainly not been accepted. Aesthetics means something. No matter how much it may have been submitted to a "rethinking", it has not been redefined by anyone since 1985. This entire book is little more than a collection of wishful thinking and meaningless intellectual aggrandizements about objects of the recent dark age in the history of "art". Most of the essays fail at face value because they attempt to elevate the banal to the level of aesthetic practice. Much of the "art" talked about in this book is not aesthetic by any means. Much of the "art" referred to in this entire book is nothing more than pageant or the practice of cognitive expression and there are no number of essays that can deny this fact. One cannot equate the era of attitude with anything resembling art. To miss this point and to go on and compose utter nonsense at great length, as if the emperor had any clothes, is intellectually dishonest. Art has historically provided a dimension of experience above and beyond that which can be explained by pseudo intellectual theories and the intellectual hokum that makes up the majority of this book. Art is not for contemplation by the mind. This collection of essays is a tedious assemblage of utter rubbish. I urge intelligent people concerned about aesthetics to consider the essays in this book as nothing other than an anthology of challenge to real meaning. That which our junk culture has produced since 1985 is not a worthy subject for academic exploration as art. It is absurd to develop theories about phenomena that are not art and call them theories about art. Now, if this book were called Theories in Contemporary Kitsch since 1985 - and it didn't matter how much blather was written about it - that would be another matter.
9 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Very good book on theories of contemporary art Oct. 8 2005
By Qu Yang Yi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am an honor student in Visual Art at UVIC. This is my text book!


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