America and the Making of Contemporary Art
Distributed for Reaktion Books
Since ’45 details the collision of American history and modern art. For the more than half-century since World War II, New York has been the center of world art, with an influence that extends well beyond the continent. Since ’45 discusses how artists’ preoccupations with issues of race, mass culture, the individual, suburbia, apocalypse, and nuclear destruction have come to find their place in art works.
Katy Siegel’s study encompasses a variety of works, including Rothko’s planes of color, Warhol’s serial silkscreens, Richard Prince’s cowboys, Robert Longo’s Men in Cities, Faith Ringgold’s Black Light, and Laurie Simmons’ dollhouses, and moves fluidly from discussion of artists’ works, art museums, and galleries to cultural influences and significant historical events. Rather than arguing on nationalist grounds or viewing American culture as representative of a now-devalued nation, Siegel explores how American culture dominated not only American artists, but created conditions that now, after the full globalization of the art world, affect artists around the world. Since ’45 will interest all readers engaged in post-war and contemporary art in the United States and beyond.
1. Beginning and End
2. Black and White
3. Success and Failure
4. The One and the Many
5. First and Last
“Katy Siegel may well be our most insightful critic of contemporary art. It helps that she is also an art historian who puts the contemporary and the modern in perspective, identifying the larger issues that pertain to both. By the same token, the more historical moments in her writing profit from her critical engagement with the present. To read along as she moves through the past six or seven decades of art is to witness the two sides of her expertise enter into harmony. Since '45 reflects Siegel’s deep understanding of the course of American culture, presented with remarkable acuity, economy, and wit. This most unusual book, a brilliant critical history, ends up revealing what’s crucial right now. Add its utter timeliness to the many reasons why it will last.”
“Katy Siegel has discovered the next great art historical subject: The American Moment, now long faded for reasons that are far from clear, In Since '45, Siegel lays bare the fragile, historical co-existence of European ideas about avant-garde and the American predisposition for designed obsolescence. For fifty years, this schism has demanded both a cool American reason and an ironic European reason for loving the art we love. Katy sorts them out, rediscovers America, and opens a new field of cultural speculation.”
"Katy Siegel's newest addition to art criticism, Since ’45, continues to view the contemporary art world in a way that opens readers up to new ideas without casting judgement. An incisive and fascinating inside-out critique of American contemporary art."–Jeff Koons