Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980 / Edition 3

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 73%)
Est. Return Date: 07/21/2015
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 33%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $23.20
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 48%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (47) from $23.20   
  • New (16) from $39.99   
  • Used (31) from $23.20   


Offering a unique thematic approach to recent art history, Themes of Contemporary Art: Visual Art after 1980, Third Edition, focuses on eight central ideas recurring in art over the past few decades: identity, the body, time, memory, place, language, science, and spirituality.

Featuring 160 vivid illustrations (23 in color and 137 in black and white), this wide-ranging introduction presents artworks that exemplify a variety of materials, techniques, theoretical viewpoints, and stylistic approaches, by artists from diverse ethnic, cultural, and geographic backgrounds.

Concise, engaging, and accessible, this thought-provoking volume challenges readers to think actively and critically about the ideas expressed in contemporary art.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Provides an excellent foundation for bringing various ideas and artists into a class discussion. Each theme is covered from a wonderful variety of perspectives, there's an excellent selection of work and artists, and the overall organization of the material is strong. The book is extremely well written, with the chapters equally sophisticated and carefully presented."—Julie Alderson, Humboldt State University

"I recommend this book constantly. It is incredibly versatile and the list of artists from different cultures extensive. The authors are to be applauded for opening a dialogue about art that crosses media and geopolitical borders."—Connie Cortez, Texas Tech University

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199797073
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/1/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 174,504
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean Robertson is Professor of Art History at Herron School of Art and Design, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Craig McDaniel is Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Programs at Herron School of Art and Design, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Themes of Contemporary Art: What, Why, and How
A Brief Orientation

Chapter One: The Art World Expands
Overview of History and Art History, 1980-2011
Traditions Survive, New Trends Arrive
A Spectrum of Voices Emerges
Theory Flexes Its Muscles
Social Experience as Art
Art Meets Contemporary Culture

Chapter Two: Identity
Identity in Art History
Identity is Communal or Relational
Identity Politics
—- Essentialism
—- Diversity
—- Hybridity
Identity Is Constructed
—- Otherness and Representation
—- Deconstructing Difference
—- The Fluidity of Identity
Post Identity
Profile: Nancy Burson
Profile: Shirin Neshat

Chapter Three: The Body
Past Figurative Art
A New Spin on the Body
—- The Body Is a Battleground
—- The Body Is a Sign
—- Performing Bodies
They Body Beautiful
Sexual Bodies
—- The Gaze
—- Sex and Violence
Mortal Bodies
Posthuman Bodies
Profile: Reneé Cox
Profile: Zhang Huan

Chapter Four: Time
Changing Views of Time
Time and Art History
Time as a Medium
—- Live Art
—- Film and Video
—- Process Art
Exploring the Structure of Time
—- Counting Time
—- Measuring Time
—- Reordering Time
—- Expressing Endlessness
Profile: Hiroshi Sugimoto
Profile: Cornelia Parker

Chapter Five: Memory
Memory and Art History
The Texture of Memory
—- Memory is Emotional
—- Memory is Unreliable
—- Memory is Multisensory
Strategies for Representing the Past
—- Displaying Evidence
—- Reenacting the Past
—- Fracturing Narratives and Reshuffling Memories
Storehouses of Memory
Revisiting the Past
—- Recovering History
—- Rethinking History
—- Reframing the Present
Commemorating the Past
Profile: Christian Boltanski
Profile: Brian Tolle

Chapter Six: Place
Places Have Meanings
Places Have Value
History's Influence
—- (Most) Places Exist in Space
—- (Most) Works of Art Exist in a Place
What's Public? What's Private?
Looking at Places
Looking Out for Places
Fictionalized Places
Profile: Unilever Series at Tate Modern
Profile: Andrea Zittel

Chapter Seven: Language
Words with Art: A History
Art with Words: A History
Recent Theories of Language
Reasons for Using Language
Language Makes Meaning
Language Takes Form
—- Transparency and Translucency
—- Spatiality and Physicality
—- Books Made by Artists
—- Art Made with Books
Wielding the Power of Language
Confronting the Challenge of Translation
Using Text in the Information Age
Profile: Nina Katchadourian
Profile: Janet Cardiff

Chapter Eight: Science
What is Science?
Artists as Amateur Scientists
Artists Adopt Scientific Methods and Materials
—- Creole Technologies
—- BioArt
The Ideology of Science
—- Changing Paradigms of Science
—- Is Science Running Amok? Activist Art Responds
The Visual Culture of Science
—- Scientific Imaging and Art
—- Deconstructing the Visual Culture of Science
—- Scientific Displays and Archives
—- Science in Popular Culture
Classifying Humans in the Genomic Age
Is Nature Natural?
Marveling at the Universe
Profile: Patricia Piccinini
Profile: Eduardo Kac

Chapter Nine: Spirituality
Spirituality and Religion
A Short History
A Few Strategies
—- Manipulating Forms, Materials, and Processes
—- Manipulating Meanings and Minds
Finding Faith and Harboring Doubt
Expressing Religious Identities
Facing Death, Doom, and Destruction
Mingling the Sacred and the Secular
Profile: José Bedia
Profile: Bill Viola

Selected Bibliography
Color Plate

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)