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Contemporary Art

Further Essays on Art & Language

In Conceptual Art and Painting, a companion to his Essays on Art & Language, Charles Harrison reconsiders Conceptual Art in light of renewed interest in the original movement and of the various forms of "neo-Conceptual" art. He discusses developments in the Art & Language movement since 1991, during which time there have been major retrospectives of its work at the Musée du Jeu de Paume in Paris, the Antonio Tapies Foundation in Barcelona, and PS1 in New York. Harrison also addresses larger issues of painting as an art, the representation of the female body, and the relation of art to its audience.

These essays by art historian and critic Charles Harrison are based on the premise that making art and talking about art are related enterprises. They are written from the point of view of Art & Language, the artistic movement based in England—and briefly in the United States—with which Harrison has been associated for thirty years. Harrison uses the work of Art & Language as a central case study to discuss developments in art from the 1950s through the 1980s.

According to Harrison, the strongest motivation for writing about art is that it brings us closer to that which is other than ourselves. In seeing how a work is done, we learn about its achieved identity: we see, for example, that a drip on a Pollock is integral to its technical character, whereas a drip on a Mondrian would not be. Throughout the book, Harrison uses specific examples to address a range of questions about the history, theory, and making of modern art—questions about the conditions of its making and the nature of its public, about the problems and priorities of criticism, and about the relations between interpretation and judgment.

The Spaces of Installation Art

Unlike traditional art works, installation art has no autonomous existence. It is usually created at the exhibition site, and its essence is spectator participation. Installation art originated as a radical art form presented only at alternative art spaces; its assimilation into mainstream museums and galleries is a relatively recent phenomenon. The move of installation art from the margin to the center of the art world has had far-reaching effects on the works created and on museum practice. This is the first book-length study of installation art. Julie Reiss concentrates on some of the central figures in its emergence, including artists, critics, and curators. Her primary focus is installations created in New York Citywhich has a particularly rich history of installation artbeginning in the late 1950s. She takes us from Allan Kaprow's 1950s' environments to examples from minimalism, performance art, and process art to establish installation art1s autonomy as well as its relationship to other movements. Recent years have seen a surge of interest in the effects of exhibition space, curatorial practice, and institutional context on the spectator. The history of installation artof all art forms, one of the most defiant of formalist tenetssheds considerable light on the issues raised by this shift of critical focus from isolated art works to art experienced in a particular context.

A Critical Anthology

Compared to other avant-garde movements that emerged in the 1960s, conceptual art has received relatively little serious attention by art historians and critics of the past twenty-five years--in part because of the difficult, intellectual nature of the art. This lack of attention is particularly striking given the tremendous influence of conceptual art on the art of the last fifteen years, on critical discussion surrounding postmodernism, and on the use of theory by artists, curators, critics, and historians.This landmark anthology collects for the first time the key historical documents that helped give definition and purpose to the movement. It also contains more recent memoirs by participants, as well as critical histories of the period by some of today's leading artists and art historians. Many of the essays and artists' statements have been translated into English specifically for this volume. A good portion of the exchange between artists, critics, and theorists took place in difficult-to-find limited-edition catalogs, small journals, and private correspondence. These influential documents are gathered here for the first time, along with a number of previously unpublished essays and interviews. Contributors: Alexander Alberro, Art & Language, Terry Atkinson, Michael Baldwin, Robert Barry, Gregory Battcock, Mel Bochner, Sigmund Bode, Georges Boudaille, Marcel Broodthaers, Benjamin Buchloh, Daniel Buren, Victor Burgin, Ian Burn, Jack Burnham, Luis Camnitzer, John Chandler, Sarah Charlesworth, Michel Claura, Jean Clay, Michael Corris, Eduardo Costa, Thomas Crow, Hanne Darboven, Ra?ol Escari, Piero Gilardi, Dan Graham, Maria Teresa Gramuglio, Hans Haacke, Charles Harrison, Roberto Jacoby, Mary Kelly, Joseph Kosuth, Max Kozloff, Christine Kozlov, Sol LeWitt, Lucy Lippard, Lee Lozano, Kynaston McShine, Cildo Meireles, Catherine Millet, Olivier Mosset, John Murphy, H??lio Oiticica, Michel Parmentier, Adrian Piper, Yvonne Rainer, Mari Carmen Ramirez, Nicolas Rosa, Harold Rosenberg, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, Jeanne Siegel, Seth Siegelaub, Terry Smith, Robert Smithson, Athena Tacha Spear, Blake Stimson, Niele Toroni, Mierle Ukeles, Jeff Wall, Rolf Wedewer, Ian Wilson.

Art and Theory at the End of the Century

In The Return of the Real Hal Foster discusses the development of art and theory since 1960, and reorders the relation between prewar and postwar avant-gardes. Opposed to the assumption that contemporary art is somehow belated, he argues that the avant-garde returns to us from the future, repositioned by innovative practice in the present. And he poses this retroactive model of art and theory against the reactionary undoing of progressive culture that is pervasive today.

After the models of art-as-text in the 1970s and art-as-simulacrum in the 1980s; Foster suggests that we are now witness to a return to the real—to art and theory grounded in the materiality of actual bodies and social sites: If The Return of the Real begins with a new narrative of the historical avant-garde; it concludes with an original reading of this contemporary situation—and what it portends for future practices of art and theory, culture and politics.

Co-founder and co-editor of October magazine, a veteran of Artforum of the 1960s and early 1970s, Rosalind Krauss has presided over and shared in the major formulation of the theory of postmodernism.

In this challenging collection of fifteen essays, most of which originally appeared in October, she explores the ways in which the break in style that produced postmodernism has forced a change in our various understandings of twentieth-century art, beginning with the almost mythic idea of the avant-garde. Krauss uses the analytical tools of semiology, structuralism, and poststructuralism to reveal new meanings in the visual arts and to critique the way other prominent practitioners of art and literary history write about art. In two sections, "Modernist Myths" and "Toward Postmodernism," her essays range from the problem of the grid in painting and the unity of Giacometti's sculpture to the works of Jackson Pollock, Sol Lewitt, and Richard Serra, and observations about major trends in contemporary literary criticism.

Volume 2: 1860-1976

The second volume of a guide comprehensive guide to American Architecture, covering developments between the years 1860 and 1976.