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The Arts

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Contemporary art in the early twenty-first century is often discussed as if the very idea of art that is contemporary is new. Yet all works of art were once contemporary. In What Was Contemporary Art? Richard Meyer reclaims the contemporary from historical amnesia, and gives the contemporary its own art history.

Artists as Cartographers

From Guy Debord in the early 1950s to Richard Long, Janet Cardiff, and Esther Polak more recently, contemporary artists have returned again and again to the walking motif. Today, the convergence of global networks, online databases, and new tools for mobile mapping coincides with a resurgence of interest in walking as an art form. In Walking and Mapping, Karen O’Rourke explores a series of walking/mapping projects by contemporary artists.

Edited by Jennifer King

During a career that spanned more than forty years, from the late 1960s until his death in 2012, Michael Asher created site-specific installations and institutional interventions that examined the conditions of art’s production, display, and reception. At the Art Institute of Chicago, for example, he famously relocated a bronze replica of an eighteenth-century sculpture of George Washington from the museum’s entrance to an interior gallery, thereby highlighting the disjunction between the statue’s symbolic function as a public monument and its aesthetic origins as an artwork.

A maker of visually elegant and conceptually intricate games, Jason Rohrer is among the most widely heralded art game designers in the short but vibrant history of the field. His games range from the elegantly simple to others of almost Byzantine complexity. Passage (2007)—acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York—uses game rules and procedurals to create a contemporary memento mori that captures an entire lifetime in five minutes. In Chain World (2011), each subsequent player of the game’s single copy modifies the rules of the universe.

Ethics and Aesthetics after Remix

Remix—or the practice of recombining preexisting content—has proliferated across media both digital and analog. Fans celebrate it as a revolutionary new creative practice; critics characterize it as a lazy and cheap (and often illegal) recycling of other people’s work. In Of Remixology, David Gunkel argues that to understand remix, we need to change the terms of the debate. The two sides of the remix controversy, Gunkel contends, share certain underlying values—originality, innovation, artistic integrity.

The World of Clifford Ross

From the romantic, highly detailed realism of his large-scale “Mountain” photographs to multimedia pieces that embrace abstract forms drawn from close observation of nature, Clifford Ross’s work is unlike any other. In 2002, Ross invented his R1 camera, with which he has produced some of the highest resolution single shot photographs ever realized. In a Ross landscape, viewers can spot a bird in a tree on a mountain a mile away. Ross’s longstanding desire to reconcile realism and abstraction in his art intensified when he took up photography in the mid-1990s.

Photography matters, writes Jerry Thompson, because of how it works—not only as an artistic medium but also as a way of knowing. With this provocative observation, Thompson begins a wide-ranging and lucid meditation on why photography is unique among the picture-making arts.

Celebrated nineteenth-century photographer—and writer, actor, caricaturist, inventor, and balloonist—Félix Nadar published this memoir of his photographic life in 1900 at the age of eighty. Composed as a series of vignettes (we might view them as a series of “written photographs”), this intelligent and witty book offers stories of Nadar’s experiences in the early years of photography, memorable character sketches, and meditations on history. It is a classic work, cited by writers from Walter Benjamin to Rosalind Krauss. This is its first and only complete English translation.

Art and the Internet in the Twenty-First Century

Since the turn of the millennium, the Internet has evolved from what was merely a new medium to a true mass medium—with a deeper and wider cultural reach, greater opportunities for distribution and collaboration, and more complex corporate and political realities. Mapping a loosely chronological series of formative arguments, developments, and happenings, Mass Effect provides an essential guide to understanding the dynamic and ongoing relationship between art and new technologies.

Performance and Media in Contemporary Theater

This book begins with the building of a house, and the building of a company while building the house. It expands to look at the ideas found in various rooms, some of which expanded into virtual space while they still were grounded in the lives of the artists in the house.
—from the preface by Marianne Weems

  • Page 3 of 64