From Library Journal
This essential, one-volume reference for modern art could be considered the revised and updated version of Harold Osborne's Twentieth-Century Art (Oxford, 1981). Chilvers's (editor of The Oxford Dictionary of Art, LJ 9/15/97) clear and easy-to-read text is scholarly yet not lofty. The engaging text, unfortunately without illustration, deals essentially with painting, sculpture, and graphics but also includes conceptual, video and performance art. Major movements and styles such as Cubism, Dada, and Fluxus are concisely explained. Applied arts including photography, architecture, and design are outside the scope of the book but are sometimes mentioned (see instead Colin Naylor's Contemporary Masterworks, St. James, 1991). The majority of the entries are biographical, encompassing artists, collectors, dealers, museum administrators, patrons, and writers, but the book is by no means merely a "who's who" of modern art. It is exceptional to find a citation dealing with a non-Western subject?Zhang Daqian, Chu Ming, and Park Soo Keun, for example, are painfully omitted, but the Gutai Group and Nam June Paik are included. Full of helpful cross references, this resource includes interesting tidbits such as a quote from a Guerrilla Girls poster, critical comments on Gilbert & George, and a description of the new Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Highly recommended for all libraries as it would be a valuable staple in any modern reference section.?Jennifer L.S. Moldwin, The Detroit Inst. of Arts Lib.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Covering every person, movement, or topic pertinent to twentieth-century art is the aim of Chilvers' newest addition to Oxford's group of art reference books. A revised and abridged edition of Harold Osborne's Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Art
(1981), it also draws on the revised edition of The Oxford Dictionary of Art
[RBB O 1 97]. One-fourth of 1,700 entries do not appear in either previous work, and those that do have been updated and expanded. The volume is geared to the general reader and includes information on painting, sculpture, and graphic and other visual arts. Architecture, design, photography, and the applied arts are not included.
Based almost entirely on secondary sources, the alphabetically arranged entries cover artists who were alive in the twentieth century but exclude those whose main influence was in the nineteenth century. No artist born after 1965 has an individual entry. Entries are mainly biographical; entries about movements, styles, or artistic techniques include their historical background, main proponents, and an assessment of their influence or importance. The work is sprinkled with anecdotes that flesh out the facts, and is chiefly concerned with art and artists in English-speaking countries, particularly Britain and the U.S. Clearly marked cross-references add to the usefulness of the book, and the brevity of the entries (the shortest is four lines, the longest six columns) enables ready access to facts. There are no illustrations. Page numbers are difficult to use, as they are located at the top inside gutter of each page.
This work will be useful for ready reference or browsing, and the clear, well-written entries will aid both library users and librarians. Those libraries that wish to update the Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Art, or that find the brief entries in The Oxford Dictionary of Art not meaty enough, will want to add this to their collections. Recommended for high-school, public, and academic libraries.