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Art History

Edited by Julia Robinson

John Cage (1912–1992) defined a radical practice of composition that changed the course of modern music and shaped a new conceptual horizon for postwar art. Famous for his use of chance and “silence” in musical works, a pioneer in electronic music and the nonstandard use of instruments, Cage was one of the most influential composers of the last century. This volume traces a trajectory of writings on the artist, from the earliest critical reactions to the scholarship of today.

Conical Intersect

Gordon Matta-Clark's Conical Intersect (1975) was a torqued, spiraling "cut" into two derelict seventeenth-century Paris buildings adjacent to the construction site of the controversial Centre Pompidou. With this landmark work of "anarchtecture," Matta-Clark not only opened up these venerable residences to light and air, he also began a dialogue about the nature of urban development and the public role of art.

To the extent that Chinese contemporary art has become a global phenomenon, it is largely through the groundbreaking exhibitions curated by Gao Minglu: "China/Avant-Garde" (Beijing, 1989), "Inside Out: New Chinese Art" (Asia Society, New York, 1998), and "The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art" (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 2005) among them.

An Alternative Space for Art

Magazine publishing is an exercise in ephemerality and transience; each issue goes out in the world only to be rendered obsolete by the next. To publish a magazine is to enter into a heightened relationship with the present moment. During the 1960s and 1970s, magazines became an important new site of artistic practice, functioning as an alternative exhibition space for the dematerialized practices of conceptual art.

Aspects of Art and Technology in Australia, 1956-1975

New technologies continually arise, offering repeated opportunities to artists in search of the technologically novel. Stephen Jones calls this phenomenon the "rolling new," and in Synthetics he describes how artists in Australia used new technologies in their art, from the early days of digital computing in the 1950s to a landmark exhibition in 1975. Jones looks at not only the artists and the artworks they produced but also at the evolution of computing technologies and video displays as these new forms of media developed into tools that artists could use.

New Tendencies and Bit International, 1961‚Äď1973
Edited by Margit Rosen

This book documents a short but intense artistic experiment that took place in Yugoslavia fifty years ago but has been influential far beyond that time and place: the "little-known story" of the advent of computers in art. It was through the activities of the New Tendencies movement, begun in Zagreb in 1961, and its supporting institution the Galerija suvremene umjetnosti that the "thinking machine" was adopted as an artistic tool and medium.

Edited by Alex Kitnick

Since the 1960s, Dan Graham’s heterogeneous practice has touched on such disparate subjects as tract housing, the Shakers, punk music, and architectural theory; he has made videos, architectural models, closed-circuit installations, and glass pavilions. Graham, who came of age during the emergence of earth art, minimalism, and conceptualism, has situated his work on the borders between these different strains of contemporary practice.

Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman

Opening with a prolonged salvo of fiery explosions accompanied by the warning cry of a siren, Dara Birnbaum's video Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (1978–79) is a concise, action-packed, and visually riveting video. During its seven-minute span we see, again and again, the transformation of the drab secretary Diana Prince into the super-heroic Wonder Woman. By isolating and repeating the moment of transformation—spinning figure, arms outstretched—Birnbaum unmasks the technology at the heart of the metamorphosis.

Photography and Related Practices, 1970s to the Present

When recession-plagued New York City abandoned its industrial base in the 1970s, performance artists, photographers, and filmmakers found their own mixed uses for the city's run-down lofts, abandoned piers, vacant lots, and deserted streets.

Robert Rauschenberg and the Global Rise of American Art

In 1964, Robert Rauschenberg, already a frequent transatlantic traveler, became even more peripatetic, joining the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as costume and set designer for its first world tour. Rauschenberg and the company visited thirty cities in fourteen countries throughout Europe and Asia. During the tour, he not only devised sets and costumes but also enacted his own performances and created works of art, often using local materials and collaborating with local art communities.