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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists' Writings (California Studies in the History of Art) Paperback – April 18, 1996

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The third collection in the series that includes Theories in Modern Art (1968) and Nineteenth-Century Theories of Art (1987), this wide-ranging and comprehensive anthology of writings and statements by artists is indispensable to an understanding of postwar visual arts. Each of the nine sections ("Art and Technology," "Process," etc.) is introduced with a general overview of the artists and influences that fall within its scope. The range of artists included is impressive. Besides such well-known American artists as Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg, a broad selection of non-Americans is represented, including Magdalena Abakanowicz and Georg Baselitz. The vast amount of material collected is well organized and appropriately illustrated. An extensive bibliography (on movements as well as individual artists) complements the work. Highly recommended for collections with an interest in postwar art.?Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Institution Libs., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap

"The accomplishment of this book is astounding. This book will change the way scholars think about the totality of the world of contemporary art, and it will be the essential text for generations of students to come."—Richard Shiff, University of Texas, Austin

"An indispensable resource: compendious, diverse, and in some of its unfamiliar juxtapositions, startlingly fresh."—Lisa Tickner, Middlesex University, London

"Contrary to the popular myth of the "inarticulate" artist, the literature of contemporary art is rich and varied and, until now, widely scattered. This is the most comprehensive selection of such writings available. An essential resource for scholars, it also offers the lay reader generous doses of vivid and provocative writing."—Robert Storr, Museum of Modern Art, New York

"Theories and Documents not only fills an important gap in the field of modern and contemporary art but is also a major contribution in its own right. It rejects narrowly stylistic or medium-defined categories and instead organizes the artists' texts in relation to broader cultural, social, and technological concerns. It deepens and complicates our knowledge of the art of our time."—Abigail Solomon-Godeau, University of California, Santa Barbara

"A very useful anthology that performs two crucial functions: it brings artists of different generations and nationalities into conversation, and it comprehends art in its new mediums, practices, and problems."—Hal Foster, Editor, October

"Professors Stiles and Selz have presented us with a textbook that is as indispensable as it is authoritative. It will surely be seen as the standard reference for those seeking primary sources in the complex field of contemporary art studies."—David Ross, Whitney Museum of Art, New York
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Product Details

  • Series: California Studies in the History of Art (Book 35)
  • Paperback: 1003 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1St Edition edition (April 18, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520202538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520202535
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have been searching for a book like this off and on for years, but just recently came accross it. What a great collection of essays and interviews from the artists! I am a teacher/artist myself, not a researcher, and it is so wonderful to have all this information at my finger tips. I hope the editors do more work like this. If you are interested in finding out about what a contemporary artist was thinking, check this book first!
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Format: Paperback
I have used this text with grad. students and with advanced-level undergraduate art majors. In an era dominated by some pretty thick-headed critical writing, I value the relatively jargon-free essays by a good variety of contemporary artists. More photos, even B/W ones, would be a help however.
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Format: Paperback
I've purchased this book while beeing in New York in 2003, and my first impression was that I had aquired an excellent and almost encyclopedical resourse for research. However, when looking for references on familiar contemporary artists like Brazilian Lygia Clark (one of the most important and internationally renowed creators, having teached in Sorbonne, among other things) I've found her name misquoted as "Lydia Clark" while she's reffered as "Argentinian" in the index. The fact that I've found such a mistake concerning a familiar name raises doubts on the rigor of this interesting work.

Sérgio Basbaum (teacher at Universidade Cátólica, São Paulo, Brazil)
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Format: Paperback
and not only can I not live without it, but I can feel comfortable recommending it to anyone interested in art (especially contemporary art). it is the kind of book I dream about. I want more like it. there are certain genres left out and some of the groupings are too tight, and some too loose, but the fact that the artists are the ones giving the information means that I can research them more accurately, instead of researching other peoples research. A wonderful compilation of essays and interviews.
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Format: Paperback
Although the list of artists is impressive, the entries by each are often so short that no coherent thought surfaces. It takes a very skilled interviewer or fantastic didactic vision on the part of the artist to arrive at a genuinely insightful piece of writing, like "On Art" by Rodin [excellent]. Also fairly good are David Sylvester's interviews of Bacon and others.

Many of the entries in this book are meant to actually BE THE ART. Such writings can be interesting, but often fail, falling into a category of minimalist authorship. I found this book did not aid my search for profundity and revelation with regard to the artistic process.
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Format: Hardcover
I needed this book towards my research to finish my MFA thesis. There are some great quotes from well-known contemporary artists and critics that I used in the paper, and can see using in the future. And, at the price that I bought it at, I thought it was a steal!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love reading artists own words, sometimes brilliant, sometimes bullsh*t. I find it inspirational because through all these writings you can see the human struggle to create something valid happening over and over.
I never did read it like a book, though. I have read the whole thing, but more like a giant magazine. I started with my favorite artists, reading what they had to say, then moved on to obscure-to-me artists. Working this way, I did re-read a lot of essays, forgetting I had already read them until I was a page or two in to that one. In any case, I am so happy to have this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This text is an excellent source of literary material that allows insight of the philosophies and worldviews of renown artists. I am very pleased with the text and plan to keep it in my library as a resource and insightful reading.
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