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100 Contemporary Artists

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  • Posted October 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Magnum Opus for Contemporary Art

    This review is from: 100 Contemporary Artists (Taschen 25 Anniversary) (Hardcover) This very hefty two volume set, slip-covered in a well designed fashion, does not represent every contemporary artist considered important today, as any reader will soon find out after searching for particular favorites. Instead, as the jacket flap remarks, these are the artists published over the past ten years in the Taschen ART NOW series: "the focus is on the works and positions, trends and traditions that have repeatedly stirred heated debate - both in the art world and amongst the general public. ....it gives a reliable overview of artists and art in the past decade.' The reproduction of the art in this book is of the highest order. The artists are listed alphabetically, making the book a handy and quick reference for educators and students. Each of the hundred artists included is introduced by a very brief one paragraph statement, in English, German, and French. All art forms are well represented, from the famous works of Basquiat and Cicely Brown to the very bizarre and hilarious 'sculptures' or assemblages of Maurizio Cattelan. Just to suggest the exposure of each artists, the works of John Currin are illustrated with 11 images - both very well known ones and some rarely seen ones - in both full page and several to a page format. Photography is very well represented by both famous artists (such as Nan Golden) and newer faces. Installation art draws a lot of space in the book but then it draws a lot of space in the museums and exhibition halls where it originates. In looking through the books (and that demands a lot of time on the part of the viewer, so rich is the content of this set) one aspect of contemporary art that is slighted is in figurative work. Yes, there is some, but where are the works of the powerful artists like Eric Fischl, Steven Assael, Jenny Saville, Euan Uglow, Lucian Freud, Vincent Desiderio, Odd Nerdrum, Bo Bartlett, Yongbo Zhao, Jean Rustin, Deborah Poynton, etc? Figurative artists always seem to be slighted in tomes such as this, but thankfully there are monographs and articles published frequently to fill that void. In all, this is an impressive survey of contemporary art presented in a luxurious manner - very much work the price of the set! Grady Harp

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