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Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being Hardcover – April, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0810919518 ISBN-10: 0810919516 Edition: 1ST

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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N Abrams; 1ST edition (April 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810919516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810919518
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 9 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #528,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Fineberg (art history, Univ. of Illinois) asserts that the "implicit underlying subject matter of modern art is always the personality of the artist in its encounter with the world." Such explicit, forceful expressions seldom find their way into major survey texts, which more often try to balance points of view and hedge bets. Yet Fineberg has not let any theory of contemporary art constrain the organization of his book. In a system that at first seems chaotic, he lets what is most important filter up, whether it be an individual artist, a movement, a critic's theory, a style, or a medium. The result is a rich mixture of essentially separate essays that allows the reader to choose how to use the book. Unfortunately, for all his innovations, Fineberg repeats some of the common mistakes of this type of book: Barely ten percent of the artists on the contents pages are women; photography is given scant attention; and architecture, that bastion of the the individual artist, is divorced from the "fine arts." Still, Fineberg should be lauded for his provocative and inspiring assessments (whether or not one agrees with his thesis), and his eminently readable and engaging text should become a new standard of the form. For all art collections.?Eric Bryant, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

For Fineberg, the story of art since 1940 is the story of exceptional individuals profoundly engaged in interpreting existence. Art is a "mode of thought," the result of creative personalities formulating visual metaphors. Not to say that there hasn't been an evolution of aesthetics, styles, and philosophies over the past 55 years--surely few eras in art history have been more frenetically self-transforming--but even as he describes movements and schools, Fineberg links them firmly to specific artists. His book, then, is a series of astute biographical profiles linked by illuminating discussions of such inspirations as myths and existential introspection on the one hand, and social commentary and irony on the other. Not only does Fineberg analyze artists such as Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, David Smith, James Rosenquist, Jasper Johns, Romare Bearden, Christo, Martin Puryear, Alice Aycock, and Elizabeth Murray, but he also responds to their art from the heart, thus imbuing this survey with a distinctive intensity. Donna Seaman

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
art since 1940 is a well researched and methodically presented book on contemorary art and art makers. the introduction and opening chapters deal with movements such as surrealism and are a very good lead up into the art after 1940. the author has dealt with various movements and expanded on specific artists from each of these phases in art. one does feel however that the portions on certain artists were sketchier than others, especially with regards to the visual material provided. also the book could have been planned better in terms of the placement of photographs along with the corresponding text. All in all, however, as an art student, I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who ever wondered what all that 'thrown about paint'in jackson pollock's work was all about. The life history of the artists was well researched and wasnt superficial like a lot of books on art and provided a valuable insight into the art work itself.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Krishna M. Sadasivam VINE VOICE on November 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my Contemporary Art class. It's chock full of great information, and lots of excellent quality samples of art throughout. Worth getting if you're interested in 'educating' yourself in the vernacular of art -- both modernism and contemporary.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Peter F. Nichols on July 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
I used this book when I was a student and have referred to it multiple times since I graduated. Simply said, I love it. It presents the work of artists of the major movements in a clear way, without the jargon that is so common in other art books. I would recommend it for anyone interested in modern and contemporary art or anyone who has been to a museum of modern art and not understood what they are looking at. It is also a great affirmation to all of us working in creative fields that there are actual people producing this work, and Fineberg beautifully illuminates these personalities.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Anderson on August 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As contemporary art history textbooks go, this is an excellent one. It is very typical for twentieth-century art history to be divided into two courses (divided at WWII), and this is a useful place to begin studying post-war art. It is very informative, it presents a broad range of artists, and it articulately and concisely teases out some of the most important issues in contemporary art-making.

I disagree with previous reviewers on a couple points:
1. This book is quite readable. Anyone who has read any contemporary art theory/history (I have read a lot of it) knows how obnoxious and opaque the jargon can be. Fineberg does a good job of introducing some difficult ideas without resorting to jargon: he writes clearly and with the intention to communicate. This book will work well, even if you haven't studied art before.
2. There is no need for this book to include design, comics, advertising, etc. The suggestion that Fineberg should have included "Ansel Adams, Walt Disney, Gottfried Helnwein, H.R. Giger, Dr. Suess, and Playboy magazine" betrays a total misunderstanding of what is meant by 'contemporary art'. I think that books do need to be written about those subjects, but to demand that this one include them doesn't make sense.

There are a few problems with this book:
1. I do agree with a previous reviewer that there is a paucity of photography. Photo has played a significant role in contemporary art discourse, and it is very underrepresented in this book. This leaves a conceptual gap in the train-of-thought.
2. I question the amount of space that Fineberg devotes to some artists.
Read more ›
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Techno475 on December 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The introduction sets an opinionated tone as the author uses such words as "I believe" and implies a bias towards art. There are several punctuation mistakes and excessively long sentences from the beginning and throughout the body of the text. While the author attempts to relate art to the reader, ninety per cent of this book is filled with paintings and sculptures. Some of the omitted or hardly mentioned art forms include architectutre, photography and music, as well as art forms like minimalism and cubism. This also leaves out many influential artists including Georgia O'Keefe, Richard Avedon and Josef Albers is only briefly mentioned. The title itself suggests that different art forms are covered, however, this is not the case. Perhaps a title which says "Fine Art..." would direct the audience toward the topics in the the book. Art is so much more than painting or abstract sculptures, and should therefore encompass the vision beyond the painting by providing a more complete understanding of art forms. This is a serious flaw in the outlay and design of the book and the text appears to be written to suit the author, not the reader. If this criticism seems harsh then it is meant to make you think from a different point of view. Is this book what you are looking for?. Without mentioning price, the University bookstore in my city charged a small fortune for the book and for that kind of money I expected better or at least a better attempt at writing a book about art.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is considered a classic by the vast majority of art world professionals, including art historians and contemporary dealers. The art selections and information accurately portray the vast majority of the important artistic thought, movements and personalities, as viewed both in their time and in hindsight. Gripes about "other" art forms ie missing photography, performance, folk art, graffiti, etc. are outside the the scope of this type of text, as right or wrong, historically these forms were rarely included or viewed as "fine art." And from a practical standpoint, one can not understand the background of these "missing" art forms, much less current art contemporary thinking, without a solid grasp of basic post-war art. It is certainly not hard to read if you have any experience in critical thinking.
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