Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction

OUP Oxford
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As public interest in modern art continues to grow, as witnessed by the spectacular success of Tate Modern and the Bilbao Guggenheim, there is a real need for a book that will engage general readers, offering them not only information and ideas about modern art, but also explaining its contemporary relevance and history. This book achieves all this and focuses on interrogating the idea of 'modern' art by asking such questions as: What has made a work of art qualify as modern (or fail to)? How has this selection been made? What is the relationship between modern and contemporary art? Is 'postmodernist' art no longer modern, or just no longer modernist - in either case, why, and what does this claim mean, both for art and the idea of 'the modern'? Cottington examines many key aspects of this subject, including the issue of controversy in modern art, from Manet's Dejeuner sur L'Herbe (1863) to Picasso's Les Demoiselles, and Tracey Emin's Bed, (1999); and the role of the dealer from the main Cubist art dealer Kahnweiler to Charles Saatchi. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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About the author

David Cottington is Professor of History of Art at Falmouth College of Art. His previous publications include: Cubism ('Movements in Modern Art' series), (Tate Publishing, 1998), and Cubism in the Shadow of War, (Yale University Press, 1998).
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Additional Information

Publisher
OUP Oxford
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Published on
Feb 24, 2005
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Pages
168
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ISBN
9780191577826
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Language
English
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Genres
Art / Criticism & Theory
Art / History / Contemporary (1945-)
Art / History / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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'The avant-garde' is perhaps the most important and influential concept in the history of modern culture. For over a hundred years it has governed critical and historical assessment of the quality and significance of an artist or a work of art, in any medium-if these have been judged to be 'avant-garde', then they have been worthy of consideration. If not, then by and large they have not, and neither critics nor historians have paid them much attention. In short, modern art is and has been whatever the 'avant-garde' has made, or has said it is. But very little attempt has been made to explore why 'the avant-garde' carries so much authority, or how it came to do so. What is more, the term remains a difficult one to define, and is often used in a variety of ways. What is the relation between 'the avant-garde' — that is, the social entity (the 'club') — and 'avant-garde' qualities in a work of art (or design, or architecture, or any other cultural product)? What does 'avant-gardism mean? Moreover, now that contemporary art seems to have broken all taboos and is at the centre of a billion-pound art market, is there still an 'avant-garde'? If so, what is the point of it and who are the artists concerned? In this Very Short Introduction, David Cottington explores the concept of the 'avant-garde' and examines its wider context through the development of western modernity, capitalist culture, and the global impact of both. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
'The avant-garde' is perhaps the most important and influential concept in the history of modern culture. For over a hundred years it has governed critical and historical assessment of the quality and significance of an artist or a work of art, in any medium-if these have been judged to be 'avant-garde', then they have been worthy of consideration. If not, then by and large they have not, and neither critics nor historians have paid them much attention. In short, modern art is and has been whatever the 'avant-garde' has made, or has said it is. But very little attempt has been made to explore why 'the avant-garde' carries so much authority, or how it came to do so. What is more, the term remains a difficult one to define, and is often used in a variety of ways. What is the relation between 'the avant-garde' — that is, the social entity (the 'club') — and 'avant-garde' qualities in a work of art (or design, or architecture, or any other cultural product)? What does 'avant-gardism mean? Moreover, now that contemporary art seems to have broken all taboos and is at the centre of a billion-pound art market, is there still an 'avant-garde'? If so, what is the point of it and who are the artists concerned? In this Very Short Introduction, David Cottington explores the concept of the 'avant-garde' and examines its wider context through the development of western modernity, capitalist culture, and the global impact of both. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
'The avant-garde' is perhaps the most important and influential concept in the history of modern culture. For over a hundred years it has governed critical and historical assessment of the quality and significance of an artist or a work of art, in any medium-if these have been judged to be 'avant-garde', then they have been worthy of consideration. If not, then by and large they have not, and neither critics nor historians have paid them much attention. In short, modern art is and has been whatever the 'avant-garde' has made, or has said it is. But very little attempt has been made to explore why 'the avant-garde' carries so much authority, or how it came to do so. What is more, the term remains a difficult one to define, and is often used in a variety of ways. What is the relation between 'the avant-garde' — that is, the social entity (the 'club') — and 'avant-garde' qualities in a work of art (or design, or architecture, or any other cultural product)? What does 'avant-gardism mean? Moreover, now that contemporary art seems to have broken all taboos and is at the centre of a billion-pound art market, is there still an 'avant-garde'? If so, what is the point of it and who are the artists concerned? In this Very Short Introduction, David Cottington explores the concept of the 'avant-garde' and examines its wider context through the development of western modernity, capitalist culture, and the global impact of both. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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