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Contemporary Art

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An Islamic Genealogy of New Media Art

In both classical Islamic art and contemporary new media art, one point can unfold to reveal an entire universe. A fourteenth-century dome decorated with geometric complexity and a new media work that shapes a dome from programmed beams of light: both can inspire feelings of immersion and transcendence. In Enfoldment and Infinity, Laura Marks traces the strong similarities, visual and philosophical, between these two kinds of art.

The Work of Michael Asher

Michael Asher doesn’t make typical installations. Instead, he extracts his art from the institutions in which it is shown, culling it from collections, histories, or museums’ own walls. Since the late 1960s, Asher has been creating situations that have not only taught us about the conditions and contexts of contemporary art, but have worked to define it.

The chance situation or random event—whether as a strategy or as a subject of investigation—has been central to many artists' practices across a multiplicity of forms, including expressionism, automatism, the readymade, collage, surrealist and conceptual photography, fluxus event scores, film, audio and video, performance, and participatory artworks. But why—a century after Dada and Surrealism's first systematic enquiries—does chance remain a key strategy in artists' investigations into the contemporary world?

Optical and Visionary Art since the 1960s
Edited by David Rubin

This eye-popping book offers a visual history of the psychedelic sensibility. In pop culture, that sensibility is associated with lava lamps, album covers, and "teashades," but it first manifested itself in the extreme colors and kaleidoscopic compositions of 1960s Op Artists.

Edited by Simon Morley

In the contemporary world, where technology, spectacle, and excess seem to eclipse nature, the individual, and society, what might be the characteristics of a contemporary sublime? If there is any consensus, it is in the idea that the sublime represents a testing of limits to the point at which fixities begin to fragment. This anthology examines how contemporary artists and theorists explore ideas of the sublime, in relation to the unpresentable, transcendence, terror, nature, technology, the uncanny, and altered states.

Art after New Media

As curator Steve Dietz has observed, new media art is like contemporary art—but different. New media art involves interactivity, networks, and computation and is often about process rather than objects. New media artworks, difficult to classify according to the traditional art museum categories determined by medium, geography, and chronology. These works present the curator with novel challenges involving interpretation, exhibition, and dissemination. This book views these challenges as opportunities to rethink curatorial practice.

Edited by Hal Foster

Still little-known in the United States, Richard Hamilton is a key figure in twentieth-century art. An original member of the legendary Independent Group in London in the 1950s, Hamilton organized or participated in groundbreaking exhibitions associated with the group—in particular This Is Tomorrow (1956), for which his celebrated collage Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?, crystallizing the postwar world of consumer capitalism, was made.

A Biography

When Marina Abramović Dies examines the extraordinary life and death-defying work of one of the most pioneering artists of her generation--and one who is still at the forefront of contemporary art today. This intimate, critical biography chronicles Abramovi?’s formative and until now undocumented years in Yugoslavia, and tells the story of her partnership with the German artist Ulay--one of the twentieth century’s great examples of the fusion of artistic and private life.

The contemporary painter Gerhard Richter (born in 1932) has been heralded both as modernity’s last painter and as painting’s modern savior, seen to represent both the end of painting and its resurrection. Richter works in a dizzying variety of styles, from abstraction to a German cool pop that combines painterly technique and appropriation; his work includes photo paintings, large abstract canvases, and stained glass windows.

Au Naturel

Amna Malik opens her study of Sarah Lucas's Au Naturel (1994) by asking "Does art have a sex? And if so, what does it look like?" Au Naturel is an assemblage of objects—a mattress, a bucket, a pair of melons, oranges and a cucumber—that suggest male and female body parts. Through much of Lucas's work, and particularly through Au Naturel, Malik argues, we are placed in a position of spectatorship that makes us see "sex" as so many dismembered parts, with no apparent morality attached—no implication of guilt, shame, or embarrassment.

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