How to Read Contemporary Art, Paperback
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Today's artists create work that's challenging, complicated and often perplexing.

Exploring the significance and impact of a broad selection of the most prominent artists working in Europe, North and Latin America, Asia and Australasia, including Francis Alys, Marina Abramovi'c, Allora and Calzadilla, Maurizio Cattelan, Luc Tuymans and many more, "How to Read Contemporary Art" provides a thoughtful and accessible key to understanding the everchanging face of art practice at the beginning of the 21st century. Organized alphabetically by artist, it describes each artists use of media and symbolism in reference to their key pieces, and provides useful biographical information.

Encompassing work in video, film, photography, installation, sculpture, painting, drawing, digital media and performance, this is a vibrant and vital companion for art lovers everywhere.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 396 pages, 350 colour illustrations
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Art & design styles: from c 1960
  • ISBN: 9780500970447



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If I were to quibble with this book, I think that its title is a misnomer. If you were to buy it in the hope of a lightening strike understanding of contemporary art, you might be disappointed. Were you to look upon it more as a directory of 175 contemporary artists, with superb photographs of a/some representative piece(s) of their art and some background information, then you would be delighted.Contemporary art often receives a bad press and, I am sure that, just like at any other time in history, much poor art is currently being produced. This book proves that amongst the rubbish, there are nuggets of pure genius: I would challenge the greatest philistine to glance through this book and not find an artist of interest; and, of course, the artist that you choose as your favourite, may well be the one that I have labelled the biggest charlatan ever to have claimed the title. The moral of this tale? Perhaps we should stop trying to judge art as good or bad: it is simply art that we like and art that we do not: and that includes the works of Thomas Kinkade, who is give short shrift, by this book, for being too populist.I am delighted to add this glossy, eminently pleasing tome to my book shelf and have no doubt that, were you to see it there in a few months time, you would find it to be well thumbed.