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Modern Contemporary: Aspects of Art at Moma Since 1980

Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.); Varnedoe, Kirk; Antonelli, Paola; Siegel, Joshua

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ISBN 10: 0810962144 / ISBN 13: 9780810962149
Published by Harry N Abrams Inc, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., 2000
Condition: As New Hardcover
From Concordia Books (Rensselaer Falls, NY, U.S.A.)

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560 pp., checklist of illustrations ( 544 ill.) , index of illustrations; new. Bookseller Inventory # 013303

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Modern Contemporary: Aspects of Art at Moma ...

Publisher: Harry N Abrams Inc, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Decorated Boards Hardcover

Book Condition:As New

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Edition: First Edition

About this title


A Museum of Modern Art Book

Modern Contemporary, bursting with more than 700 illustrations and peppered with insightful texts by curators from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, is the first book to showcase the museum's extensive holdings of contemporary art. Published to accompany the final exhibition in the MoMA2000 series, opening in September 2000, the book-with a range of illustration that goes well beyond the works in the exhibition-demonstrates just how actively the museum, celebrated worldwide for its great early modern collection, has been collecting works from the present and immediate past.

Organized roughly chronologically, and punctuated by groups of works that highlight areas of special depth in the collection, these images-painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, drawing, design, prints, film, and video-offer countless juxtapositions, sequences, and cross-references to provide a unique panorama of contemporary visual culture. Brief essays suggest a variety of ways to identify key themes, and multiple indexes make the visual information easily accessible.

750 illustrations, 600 in full color, 81/2 x 10"


Modern Contemporary, a hefty volume illustrating more than 700 post-1980 works from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, functions largely as a fast ride down recent-memory lane. (Cindy Sherman's black-and-white photographs! Paul Rand's IBM logo! Zelig! The first Swatch watches!) Published to coincide with "Open Ends," an exhibition (closing January 30, 2001) of the museum's contemporary holdings, Modern Contemporary is as much about film (popular as well as art-house) and product design as it is about painting, graphic arts, photography, sculpture, and architecture.

Photographs on facing pages often relate to one another in abstract ways (for example, the luminous soft yellow of a vase by Hella Jongerius and the red haze of James Turrell's installation A Frontal Passage). But because the images are organized by year rather than by medium, mood, or aesthetic, paging through this kaleidoscopic book can be mildly disorienting and less than enlightening. Why should we care that the movie Shakespeare in Love (p. 478) and Robert Rauschenberg's painting Bookworms Harvest (p. 479) both saw the light of day in 1998? And what was the point of including film stills, meaningful at best as forms of publicity, not as examples of the art of the director or cinematographer? Architecture also gets short shrift, making sparse appearances in drawings, prints, and models.

But the best part comes last: 35 pages of brief essays by staff curators at MoMA. They write about the ways new technologies have fostered literal transparency in architecture and product designs based on giving one material the qualities of another. They discuss the importance of role-playing in American photography and new forms of documentary photography in Europe. And they save the book from being merely a lifestyle prop for urban professionals anxious to drop the right names. --Cathy Curtis

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