Contemporary Art: World Currents is the first comprehensive worldwide survey of contemporary art from the 1980s to the present day.
Author Terry Smith argues that, in recent decades, a global shift from modern to contemporary art has occurred: artists everywhere have embraced the contemporary world’s teeming multiplicity, its proliferating differences and its challenging complexities and new technologies. Alongside more than 350 carefully selected color images of key works, Terry Smith offers the first account of these changes, from their historical beginnings to the present day. Exploring key works by both well known
and little-known artists, the author shows how contemporary art achieved definitive force in the markets and museums of the major art centres during the 1980s and then became a global phenomenon as artworlds everywhere began to connect more closely: new communicative technologies and expanding social media are now shaping the future of art.
Contemporary Art: World Currents breaks new ground in tracing how modern, traditional and indigenous art became contemporary in each cultural region of the world, ranging across Western, East and Central Europe, North and South America and the Caribbean, Oceania, Africa, and the Middle East. Terry Smith lays the groundwork for a new comparative approach to contemporary art, emphasizing its relationships to all aspects of contemporary life. He argues that it is cultural diversity and individual artistic inventiveness, not a convergence towards sameness, which makes today’s art contemporary.
Contemporary Art: World Currents brings the subject right up-todate, highlighting the concerns of contemporary artists while giving the reader an invaluable insight to art today.
Teaching and Learning Experience
Improve Critical Thinking- Explore how contemporary art has become a global, connected phenomenon
Engage Students- Looks at the work of contemporary artists from across the world.
Support Instructors- Image PowerPoints slides are available for Contemporary Art: World Currents.
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Terry Smith, FAHA, CIHA, is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. His major research interests are world contemporary art, including its institutional and social contexts; the histories of multiple modernities and modernisms; the history and theory of contemporaneity; and the historiography of art history and art criticism. He has special expertise in international contemporary art (practice, theory, institutions, markets), American visual cultures since 1870, and Australia art since settlement, including Aboriginal art. Current graduate students under his supervision are working on topics such as critical global practices, alternative avant-gardes, cultural policy, and art writing. He teaches the open course Introduction to Contemporary Art, and a graduate seminar on modernity and contemporaneity. http://www.terryesmith.net/Review:
“Terry Smith is acknowledged world wide as the leading authority in the theory of contemporary art.”-- Hans Belting, Professor for Art History and Media Theory, Academy for Design, Karlsruhe, Germany, from the Global Art and the Museum website.
“Terry Smith is that rare art and social historian able to write criticism at once alert to the forces that contextualize art and sensitive to the elements and qualities that inhere to the works of art themselves.” -- College Art Association, citation for the 2010 Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism
Contemporary Art: World Currents, by Terry Smith (Pearson; 348 pages). Contemporary art exists in such quantity and variety that even insiders to it will benefit by art historian Smith's clear-eyed world tour. Perhaps the best concise book of its kind available. -- Kenneth Baker, Chronicle Art Critic Holiday gift guide: books on art November 20, 2011
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