Art Today, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


This book is the definitive overview of the richest, most controversial and perhaps most thoroughly confusing epoch in the whole history of the visual arts: the period from 1960 to the present.

Although the modern movement - unchallenged for the last six decades - has lost its dominance, it has been replaced by no single new orthodoxy.

Artists, critics and the public alike are now confronted by a situation of unprecedented variety and complexity.

Edward Lucie-Smith is a close and well-informed watcher of the contemporary scene, combining a critical eye with a historian's insight into wider trends.

Art Today reflects the dramatic changes that have swept across the art world since 1960 to challenge all the old assumptions and certainties.

As he reviews the worldwide explosion of exciting new work, he illustrates with erudition and clarity that the art world is no longer hierarchical but plural, and that its structures, if they exist at all, are merely transient.

Art Today provides a map of an unstable world. With unfailing passion and acute aesthetic sensitivity, the author charts the progress of contemporary developments to elucidate their sources and interrelationships, many of them breathtakingly unexpected.

This volume embodies a magnum opus in itself, as it brings to life the work of over 500 outstanding contemporary artists, all analysed in detail and illustrated in stunning colour.

Since its first publication in 1995, Art Today has become internationally recognized as an indispensable introduction to contemporary art.

A principal reason for its success has been the author's ability to write without polemics, and to avoid impenetrable abstract theory and jargon.

For students and anybody else confronting contemporary art for the first time, this is the ideal introduction.

Well-organized, informative, authoritative and thought-provoking, it is the sole book available that provides both a clear and a comprehensive guide to the subject.

It is now published in paperback format at an outstandingly competitive price.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512 pages, 536 colour illustrations, notes, biographies, bibliography, chronology, index
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Theory of art
  • ISBN: 9780714838885



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Covering developments in art since the 1960s, this survey looks at over 500 artists and their work. The comparatively brief text is very readable an informative as one would expect from such an authority as Edward Lucie-Smith. Following the introduction the book is divided into eighteen chapters covering various movements, styles or geographic locations including: abstraction, minimalism, neo-dada, neo-expressionism, American Realism, post-modern, neo-classic, figurative, sculpture, Latin American, Perestroika, the Far East, African and Afro-American and racial minorities, feminist and gay. The book includes notes to the text, a bibliography, chronology and an index.The big attraction of this substantial volume of over 500 pages is the wealth of illustrations, almost all in full-colour, the rare exceptions being work that is in the original monochrome such as photographs. The illustrations run with the text and are clearly notated in the latter, so they are very easy to locate. The illustrations vary in size up to full page bleed, with the vast majority being of a good size. The quality of printing is reasonable, the colours are rich and intense, perhaps a little too intense, but they do suffer from a lack of detail in the dark areas. In total there are over 530 illustrations here.Aside from the shortcomings of the printing quality, the overall impression is a vibrant and exciting, and of the great diversity to be found in art today.