9783822840894 / 3822840890

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About the book:

This exhaustive look at a long century of art making and art questioning is, understandably, more broad than it is deep. A massive, boxed, two-volume set, it's divided into sections on painting, sculpture, new media (performance art, video art, earth art, etc.), and photography, with a 150-page biographical appendix of all of the 780 artists whose works are illustrated in the main sections of the book. The original German text, written by a team of writers and art historians, has been fluidly translated by John William Gabriel. The authors are very much of their own time and place: there are more works from after World War II than before it, and many more German artists--including mediocre and derivative ones--make the cut than if the book had been written by, say, an English or a French team. In fact, the English seem slightly shortchanged here. William Tucker, still a vital influence, is represented by a 1967 minimal sculpture and a four-word mention, and painter Howard Hodgkin is omitted entirely. And while American sculptor-entrepreneur Jeff Koons is given more than his due, the thoughtful and significant Rachel Whiteread is not mentioned at all. But Art of the Twentieth Century is an unquestionably useful reference guide to a period that swings dramatically from the impressionists all the way to Nam June Paik.

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