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A compact and accessible introduction to recent contemporary art history, Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980, Second Edition, focuses on seven important themes that have recurred in art over the past few decades: identity, the body, time, place, language, science, and spirituality. The opening chapter provides a concise overview of the period, analyzing how five key changes (the rise of new media, a growing awareness of diversity, globalization, the influence of theory, and interactions with everyday visual culture) have resulted in an art world with dramatically expanded boundaries. The remaining seven chapters each feature an introduction to one thematic topic; a brief look at historical influences; a detailed analysis of how contemporary artists have responded to and embodied aspects of the theme in specific works; and two profiles of artists who have extensively explored aspects of the theme in their work. The book's thematic organization encourages students, gallery goers, and other readers to think actively and critically about the ideas expressed in the artwork instead of simply memorizing "who, what, when, and where."
Themes of Contemporary Art, Second Edition, features more than 125 vivid illustrations (including 21 in color) that exemplify a wide variety of materials, techniques, theoretical viewpoints, and stylistic approaches from artists of diverse ethnic, cultural, and geographic backgrounds. It also includes an updated timeline that situates art within the context of the time it was created.
New to the Second Edition
*An additional chapter explores science as a theme in recent contemporary art
*Eight new artist profiles and revisions to existing chapters bring the examples well into the 21st century
*An updated timeline of world events and developments in art and pop culture
*Over 40 new illustrations of contemporary art
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Jean Robertson is Professor of Art History and Craig McDaniel is Associate Dean and Professor of Fine Art, both at Herron School of Art and Design, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis. They are coauthors of Painting as a Language: Materials, Technique, Form, Content (2000).
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