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Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985 Paperback – Sep 11 2012
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“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.
“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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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