Liam Gillick emerged as part of the generation of "Young British Artists" who energized the British art scene in the 1980s and 1990s. He is now one of the most influential (and perplexing) artists in all of contemporary art. Gillick's discursive mode of art practice—often associated with "relational aesthetics"—complicates object production, embraces the exhibition as medium, and explores the social role and function of art.
Paul Thek occupied a place between high art and low art, between the epic and the everyday. During his brief life (1933-1988), he went against the grain of art world trends, humanizing the institutional spaces of art with the force of his humor, spirituality, and character. Twenty years after Thek's death from AIDS, we can now recognize his influence on contemporary artists ranging from Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman to Matthew Barney, Mike Kelley, and Paul McCarthy, as well as Kai Althoff, Jonathan Meese, and Thomas Hirschhorn.
One of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) was a master of self-invention who carefully regulated the image he projected through self-portraiture and through his collaboration with those who portrayed him. During his long career, Duchamp recast accepted modes for assembling and describing identity, indelibly altering the terrain of portraiture.
Dan Graham is one of the most significant figures to emerge from the 1960s moment of Conceptual art, with a practice that pioneered a range of art forms, modes, and ideas that are now fundamental to contemporary art. The thrust of his practice has always pointed beyond: beyond the art object, beyond the studio, beyond the medium, beyond the gallery, beyond the self. Beyond all these categories and into the realm of the social, the public, the democratic, the mass produced, the architectural, the anarchic, the humorous.
There is no easy way to define Franz West's art: it is fundamentally sculptural in its construction, veers frequently toward the biomorphic and prosthetic, mines the intellectualism of Freud and Wittgenstein, and possesses an awkward beauty that speaks with equal fluency to the tradition of painterly abstraction and the aesthetics of trash art. West's distinctive vision has resulted in one of the most remarkable bodies of work produced since the 1960s. This book, with more than 160 color images, offers a comprehensive look at West's work from the 1970s to the present.
The artist's relationship to landscape was once invoked by a canvas on an easel in a picturesque vista. No more. In the 1960s, the Earth Artists started focusing on natural systems and entropy; in the 1970s, photographers in the New Topographics movement turned their attention unsentimentally to the industrialized "man-altered" environment; in the 1980s, artists animated the natural landscape with art, movement, and performance; and in the 1990s, Eco-Artists collaborated with scientists to address sustainability, pollution, and politics.
The photographs in Zoe Leonard’s Analogue trace the “layered, frayed, and quirky” beauty of a fading way of life. Zoe Leonard documents the vanishing face and texture of twentieth century urban life, as seen in the shop windows of mom-and-pop stores. Lacking the glamour of the shopping mall and the digitally manipulated perfection of mail order catalogs, these fading objects tenaciously hold on to their disappearing place on city streets.
Any new film and any new book by French filmmaker Chris Marker is an event. Marker gave film lovers one of their most memorable experiences with La Jetée (1962)—a time-travel montage set after a nuclear war that inspired Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys (1995). His still camerawork is not as well known, but Marker has been taking photographs as long as he has been making films. Staring Back presents 200 black-and-white photographs from Marker's personal archives, taken from 1952 to 2006.
Photographer and writer Allan Sekula constructs narratives that define land and its political, social, and economic demarcations. He has described Geography Lesson: Canadian Notes as a conjectural comparison of imaginary and material geographies in the advanced capitalist world.