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Art History

Since its first publication in 1969, Pioneers of Modern Typography has been the standard guide to the avant-garde origins of modern graphic design and typography. In this essential reference, Herbert Spencer shows how new concepts in graphic design in the early decades of the twentieth century had their roots in the artistic movements of the time in painting, poetry, and architecture.

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.

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.

A Critical Anthology

Compared to other avant-garde movements that emerged in the 1960s, conceptual art has received relatively little serious attention from art historians and critics of the past twenty-five years. This landmark anthology collects for the first time the key historical documents that helped give definition and purpose to the movement.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.

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.

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.

An Anthology

Design history has emerged in recent years as a significant field of scholarly research and critical reflection. With their interest in the conceptualization, production, and consumption of objects (large and small, unique or multiple, anonymous or signed) and environments (ephemeral or enduring, public or private), design historians investigate the multiple ways in which intentionally produced objects, environments, and experiences both shape and reflect their historical moments.

On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century

Jonathan Crary's Techniques of the Observer provides a dramatically new perspective on the visual culture of the nineteenth century, reassessing problems of both visual modernism and social modernity. This analysis of the historical formation of the observer is a compelling account of the prehistory of the society of the spectacle."

Jonathan Crary is Assistant Professor of Art History at Columbia University. He is a founding editor of Zone and Zone Books.

Volume 2: 1860-1976

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