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Art History after Modernism

"Art history after modernism" does not only mean that art looks different today; it also means that our discourse on art has taken a different direction, if it is safe to say it has taken a direction at all.

So begins Hans Belting’s brilliant, iconoclastic reconsideration of art and art history at the end of the millennium, which builds upon his earlier and highly successful volume, The End of the History of Art?. "Known for his striking and original theories about the nature of art," according to the Economist, Belting here examines how art is made, viewed, and interpreted today. Arguing that contemporary art has burst out of the frame that art history had built for it, Belting calls for an entirely new approach to thinking and writing about art. He moves effortlessly between contemporary issues—the rise of global and minority art and its consequences for Western art history, installation and video art, and the troubled institution of the art museum—and questions central to art history’s definition of itself, such as the distinction between high and low culture, art criticism versus art history, and the invention of modernism in art history. Forty-eight black and white images illustrate the text, perfectly reflecting the state of contemporary art.

With Art History after Modernism, Belting retains his place as one of the most original thinkers working in the visual arts today.

236 pages | 48 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2003

Art: Art--General Studies


“The value of the book lies in the way in which it shows a great art historian grappling on our behalf with the question of what it means to practice art history in an art world in which so much that was taken for granted, even in the era of Modernism, has crumpled under pressures that no one could have anticipated. It is rare to find an individual possessed of Professor Belting’s profound scholarship exhibiting such cosmopolitan openness and curiosity to new media, new strategies of exhibition, new ways of thinking about and responding to art, new ways of understanding the relationship between art criticism and art history, when it would have been so easy to turn one’s back on the chaos  . . .”<\#209>Arthur Danto, <I>Art Newspaper

Arthur Danto | Art Newspaper

Table of Contents

I - Modernism in the Mirror of Contemporary Culture
1. Epilogues for Art or for Art History?
2. The Meaning of Art History in Today’s Culture
3. Art Criticism versus Art History
4. The Unwelcome Heritage of Modernism: Style and History
5. The Late Cult of Modernism: Documenta and Western Art
6. Western Art: The Intervention of the United States in Postwar Modernism
7. Europe: East and West at the Watershed of Art History
8. Global Art and Minorities: A New Geography of Art History
9. The Mirror of Mass Culture: Art’s Revolt against Art History
10. The Temporality of Video Art
11. The Narrative of Art in the New Museum: The Search for a Profile
II - The End of Art History?
12. Art and the Crisis of Modernism
13. Art Historiography as Tradition
14. Methods and Games of an Academic Discipline
15. Work of Art or History of Art?
16. Art History versus Media Studies
17. The Myth of Modernism in the Mirror of Art History
18. Postmodernism or Posthistory?
19. "Prospero’s Books"
20. Marco Polo and Other Cultures

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