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Criticism & Theory

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Reframing Race in Contemporary Installation Art

Over the past two decades, artists James Luna, Fred Wilson, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Pepón Osorio, and Renée Green have had a profound impact on the meaning and practice of installation art in the United States. In Subject to Display, Jennifer González offers the first sustained analysis of their contribution, linking the history and legacy of race discourse to innovations in contemporary art. Race, writes González, is a social discourse that has a visual history.

In Where Art Belongs, Chris Kraus examines artistic enterprises of the past decade that reclaim the use of lived time as a material in the creation of visual art.

Work by black artists today is almost uniformly understood in terms of its "blackness," with audiences often expecting or requiring it to "represent" the race. In How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness, Darby English shows how severely such expectations limit the scope of our knowledge about this work and how different it looks when approached on its own terms.

Étant donnés

Following Marcel Duchamp's death in 1968, the Philadelphia Museum of Art stunned the art world by unveiling a project on which he had been working secretly for twenty years, long after he had supposedly given up art for chess.

Language in 1960s Art

Language has been a primary element in visual art since the 1960s—whether in the form of printed texts, painted signs, words on the wall, or recorded speech. In Words to Be Looked At, Liz Kotz traces this practice to its beginnings, examining works of visual art, poetry, and experimental music created in and around New York City from 1958 to 1968. In many of these works, language has been reduced to an object nearly emptied of meaning.

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.

Ed Ruscha was born in Nebraska and raised in Oklahoma, but he belongs to Los Angeles in a way few other artists do. Since the 1960s, Ruscha's iconic images of the cityscape and culture of L.A.—freeway gas stations, parking lots, palm trees, motels, swimming pools, and billboards—have both reflected and shaped popular perceptions of Hollywood and the city that surrounds it. In Ed Ruscha's Los Angeles, Alexandra Schwartz views Ruscha's groundbreaking early work as a window onto the radically shifting cultural and political landscape in which it was produced.

(Propositions for the 21st Century)

The last explosive change in art education came nearly a century ago, when the German Bauhaus was formed. Today, dramatic changes in the art world--its increasing professionalization, the pervasive power of the art market, and fundamental shifts in art-making itself in our post-Duchampian era--combined with a revolution in information technology, raise fundamental questions about the education of today’s artists.

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.

Edited by Yve-Alain Bois

Gabriel Orozco's work is sometimes considered uncategorizable; but his sculpture, photography, drawing, collage, and installations are unified by their devotion to the antispectacular, to the everyday, and to the explorations of complexities that are not immediately obvious.

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