Contemporary Art: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

by: Julian Stallabrass (0)

Contemporary art has never been so popular - but the art world is changing. In a landscape of increasing globalization there is growing interest in questions over the nature of contemporary art today, and the identity of who is controlling its future. In the midst of this, contemporary art continues to be a realm of freedom where artists shock, break taboos, flout generally received ideas, and switch between confronting viewers with works of great emotional profundity and jaw-dropping triviality.

In this
Very Short Introduction Julian Stallabrass gives a clear view on the diverse and rapidly moving scene of contemporary art. Exploring art's striking globalisation from the 1990s onwards, he analyses how new regions and nations, such as China, have leapt into astonishing prominence, over-turning the old Euro-American dominance on aesthetics. Showing how contemporary art has drawn closer to fashion and the luxury goods market as artists have become accomplished marketers of their work, Stallabrass discusses the reinvention of artists as brands. This new edition also considers how once powerful art criticism has mutated into a critical and performative writing at which many artists excel. Above all, behind the insistent rhetoric of freedom and ambiguity in art, Stallabrass explores how big business and the super-rich have replaced the state as the primary movers of the contemporary art scene, especially since the financial crisis, and become a powerful new influence over the art world.

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 Reviews

This is an excellent little book! Not much of an introduction as it assumes quite a lot of previous knowledge of the field; but an eye-opening Marxist analysis of the mechanics and machinations of the art world and of its myriad connections with the larger economic and political structures within which it thrives or dies.For example the paragraph that should be carved on the lintels of all art schools doors: "...the overall nature of the arts economy is generally disavowed by its participants, particularly artists, who overlook or deny their orientation toward financial reward. Artists are singularly ill-informed about their prospects for success, are prone to taking risks, are poor but come from wealthy backgrounds... and tend to subsidize their art-making out of other earnings. These features... cause the art world to be permanently over-crowded, making the poverty of artists a structural feature."Stallabrass discusses how the multi-cultural fashion in the arts serves (apart from a few third-world artists) the ideological campaign of the Neo-Liberal economy and the multi-national corporations. He touches on how academe creates one kind of artist while the market creates another. Both types are adapted to their niches in the economic structure and neither enjoys the freedom artists are generally assumed to gain in exchange for their frustration and poverty.A fascinating and eye-opening read.

Very polemic.... I found myself spending time on searching for words in vocabulary twice as much as usual, as English is not my first language. Could've been written in a more simple language indeed. But has interesting views and points. Would recommend to a friend. Agree with the previous reviews, that the book is not much of a "Contemporary art Introduction", as an essay on how art is juxtaposed with economy, money etc.

Not what I thought it would be. Definitely not a introduction to contemporary art itโ€™s more like a introduction to the correlation between the art world and economics. Interesting but not what it advertised it would be.

Powerful, cogent and critical but certainly reductionist account of contemporary art.

This was a learned overview, but the author's Marxism comes through a little too strongly for my taste at times.

excellent, lucid, super well written & detailed look at contemporary art, asks tough questions, unromantic view, informed by marxist/materialist outlook. looks at the internationalization of the art scene as well.

It's like a good refresher course in art history. I led the format of the book great for reference purposes.

Focuses too much on the relationship between art and economics instead of showing us the actual art.

I would have preferred an "introduction" to a complex subject to be broader in its approach but this book looks at contemporary art through a very specific perspective--essentially, neo-Marxist, anti-capitalist, anti-formalist. It may not be bad for what it does but there's the usual DEI jargon and implicit scolding. Oxford should commission another book to provide alternative approaches.

good book to read

Contemporary Art: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
โญ 4.4 ๐Ÿ’› 119
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paperback: $10.65
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