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Art in Theory 1900 - 2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas 2nd Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0631227083
ISBN-10: 0631227083
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Occasionally one comes across a book that is at once compelling and frightening, a book that excites and disorientates, a book with intimations of the sublime. Art in Theory is such a book. An indispensable source book." (Arlis News-Sheet)

Book Description

Since it was first published in 1992, this book has become one of the leading anthologies of art theoretical texts in the English-speaking world. This expanded edition includes the fruits of recent research, involving a considerable amount of newly-translated material from the entire period, together with additional texts from the last decades of the twentieth century. The features that made the first edition so successful have been retained: The volume provides comprehensive representation of the theories which underpinned developments in the visual arts during the twentieth century. As well as writings by artists, the anthology includes texts by critics, philosophers, politicians, and literary figures. The content is clearly structured into eight broadly chronological sections, starting with the legacy of symbolism and concluding with contemporary debates about the postmodern. The editors provide individual introductions to each of the 371 anthologized texts. Material new to this expanded edition includes texts on African art, on the Bauhaus and on the re-emergent avant-gardes of the period after the Second World War. Post-modernist debates are amplified by texts on gender, on installation and performance art, and on the increasing globalization of culture.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1288 pages
  • Publisher: Blackwell Publishing; 2nd edition (October 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631227083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631227083
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 2 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Had I read the reviews about this book, I wouldn't have bought it.

I had to though, for my "Art: Language and Theory" class, in my second year of Graphic Design major. I was shocked with it at first, it's almost 1300 pages, with not a single image in it! It looked extremely dull. But the thing is, I found it extremely useful, and enjoyable to read at times too. It covers art theories in the 20th century, and has texts written by artists, philosophers, polticians and much more.

I now refer to it with every paper I write, every presentation I make and so on. There are also letters and notes in the book by artists such as Cezanne and Matisse, which are delightful to read. I use a dictionary sometimes, but not always, though I agree, the language is hard to comprehend at first glance.

I don't think any art student or teacher could do without this book, I used it as a beginners guide while studying art, and I won't stop using it. Don't be put off when you first get this book, you'll learn to value and appreciate it with little time.
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Format: Paperback
I used this book for a graduate theory class and ended up reading pretty much all of it. The book provides an excellent overview of the major movements during the past 100 years but also misses out on a lot of the most current trends. I believe there were less than 3 articles dated after 1999. The writings seem to be obscure at times, with the editors trying to draw distant similarites between varying fields. Most of the passages used overly pretentious language, so keep a dictionary nearby. This book is not a beginner guide and it helps to have some knowledge of art history as well as a little world history. A better or easier read would have to be "Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art"...
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The subtitle to this book is "An Anthology of Changing Ideas", which is remarkably accurate. The excerpts in this book run the ideological spectrum from Winston Churchill to Adolf Hitler, and everyone in-between. The assembly of so many artists, politicians, philosophers, and theorists in one place has had a profound impact on my understanding of particular artworks, and my relationship to art in general. It's an intimidating book, but somehow this diverse group of thinkers is organized in a way that could be read straight through. Personally, I find it to be an invaluable tool for research and artistic growth.
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This book is expensive but ends up repaying you back tremendously in the long run. Excellent paper material quality and typesetting very attractive. This is one book to carry on a deserted island. This is an anthology to treasure because it puts together extremely rare essays on art nowhere else in the current lexicon. Where else will you find essays by Trotsky on art criticism in politics? What about Max Weber's analysis of art? These by well known and not so well known authors makes for long reading sessions.

The essays are grouped by thematic content and given well rounded introductions by the editors of the volume. A word of warning to the readers: do not take what is put in the volume at face value...which is a big temptation. The only way to really learn from this book is to challenge the authors and decide for yourself the merits of the analysis. Art theory is intellectually dense but extremely dangerous to accept without serious study. This book is a reference on art theory like no other in the world. So please do yourselves a favor and get this book before it's taken out of print. And when this book goes out of print thanks to the ipad and ebook craze putting book publishers out of business...you'll be very sorry you didn't get it when you could.
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the best reference I've ever studied in history of art. It reduces waste of time for searching many writings of famous artists and scholars
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Great research reference text that I've consulted several times now over the course of my graduate study essay writings. Theories are discussed both in broad and complex terms without an overabundance of jargon, and there is a great deal of attention paid to why the ideas dissected have changed in the first place. If you're in graduate school for anything even peripherally encompassing art and theory, I would highly recommend obtaining a copy of this book for consultation throughout your ongoing education.
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As an Art Historian I dread buying big brick books but this is one you'll actually need. Giving you classic theory (Roger Fry, anyone?) and a few surprises, this book is a must for any serious scholar in the field. This book is worth its weight and has paid for itself time and again. I'm currently in my last year of my MA and I have yet to take a class where it wasn't used. Like Kate Turabian and Sylvan Barnett you have to have it.
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Not easy reading, but a perusal of the TOC will show that this book is packed with writing by many of the most influential artists and critics of their eras. Reminds me of one of those fat college literature books with tons of selected readings, except for art criticism and history.
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