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Art & Today Hardcover – April 6, 2008

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Art & Today + Defining Contemporary Art: 25 Years in 200 Pivotal Artworks + How to Read Contemporary Art
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The history of contemporary art, writes Heartney (Postmodernism), a contributing editor to Art in America, offers a tapestry of stories in an innovative, intellectually vigorous and superbly illustrated survey. In this era of anarchic pluralism, master narratives are inappropriate, and Heartney thus organizes her vividly written study thematically (Art and Time, Art and Narrative) rather than chronologically, and artists range from Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and other high kitsch creators to the participatory works of artists such as Nam June Paik and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Heartney's focus is sharp and selective, and her approach complexly postmodern: the ever-proliferating universe of Matthew Ritchie's installations are discussed in the context of Roland Barthes, Cindy Sherman's photographs as Bakhtinian carnival. Participatory art, Heartney argues in her last chapter, is a direct challenge to cherished assumptions about the meaning of art, whose democratization may be the most significant force in art today. This exceptional survey will have wide appeal—from the generalist to the scholar interested in a work that's both perceptive and energetic. (May)
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Review

'Coffee tables everywhere are crying out for Phaidon latest tome, Art & Today. It's exactly what you want: a comprehensive overview of art from the Eighties onwards ... arresting images [...] and great prose.' GQ 'a welcome overview of today's confused art world ... a valuable reference book ... well-illustrated' Wall Street Journal 'The overarching point of Art & Today is to show how the certainties of modernism [...] gave way to the anarchy of post-modern, contemporary art. ... the book attempts to impose some welcome order and logic on the ensuing chaos (and 400 artists): no easy task when the history is happening around you. Heartney, however, proves up to the challenge: she has an accessible prose style, a profound grasp of art history, and a publishing company willing to include 560 illustrations.' Art World 'The history of contemporary art, writes Heartney (Postmodernism), a contributing editor to Art in America, offers a tapestry of stories in an innovative, intellectually vigorous and superbly illustrated survey. ...Heartney's focus is sharp and selective, and her approach complexly postmodern: the ever-proliferating universe of Matthew Ritchie's installations are discussed in the context of Roland Barthes, Cindy Sherman's photographs as Bakhtinian carnival. ... This exceptional survey will have wide appeal... in a work that's both perceptive and energetic.' Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press Inc. (April 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714845140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714845142
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 2 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #765,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Art is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide diversity of formats in which men and women work to create items of beauty that range from the simple to the complex and are in an continual state of evolving discovery as new techniques and mediums for artistic expression are developed with each new generation of artists. "Art & Today" is a massive, coffee-table compendium of contemporary artworks; the one common aspect of the 400 emerging artists surveyed is that they all engage in a postmodern willingness to transcend traditional boundaries. Full-color illustrations on almost every page introduce the reader to a vast variety of artistic creations, from painting to sculpture to photography and much more, while extensive essays offer insights into the backgrounds, themes, and messages of the individual artists. Organized around a set of sixteen themes ranging from "Art & Popular Culture" to "Art & Nature and Technology" to "Art & Globalism" and "Art & Politics", Art & Today lives up to its self-appointed Herculean labor of surveying what today's art as a whole has to say about humans and the world we live in. Highly recommended especially for public library and art book collections.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By StephenMFA on October 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would like to point out a few important things about this book that have proven valuable. First, at the beginning of each chapter the is a brief but detailed and sensible history of the topic about to be discussed which helps gain a sense of context surrounding the issue at hand. Second, the images are of great quality and clarity. Finally, I believe that the topics in this book awaken a sense of exploration in the reader/artist to create in new ways because of the introduction to new tools, media, methods, ideas, and points of view that progress throughout the book.

-SL 2010
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mohd Fuad Bin Arif on October 2, 2011
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I truly love this book because of its 'practicality'. As I lecture studio base I use it habitually in my classes especially when students are undergoing initial Art research. I use it as text book on reference point in Art context.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alina McCarley on October 12, 2013
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I had to buy this book for a Contemporary Art class at my University. Heartney gives great precedence to visual representations of the works she discusses as well as a very conclusive and insightful description. While I enjoy this book, I do not enjoy lugging it around campus. Word to the wise: (if you use this as a text) try to get all your work done before you leave home to avoid having a cinder block in your backpack all day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JennAW on June 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book to either flip through, read parts of, or keep in your library. I periodically read this book again and find something i missed the last time
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am using this book in a college course I am developing. I reviewed it and several other contemporary art books after this was suggested by my department chair who highly recommended it. He was so right! The writing style is clear and approachable, enjoyable to read, informative without being dry. I highly recommend it as a textbook for a contemporary art course or to read for pleasure if you enjoy art.
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