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Conceptualism 2.0 and the New Object Art


Conceptualism 2.0 and the New Object Art

If you attend a contemporary art exhibition today, you’re unlikely to see much traditional painting or sculpture. Indeed, artists today are preoccupied with what happens when you leave behind assumptions about particular media—such as painting, or woodcuts—and instead focus on collisions between them, and the new forms and ideas that those collisions generate.
Garrett Stewart in Transmedium dubs this new approach Conceptualism 2.0, an allusion in part to the computer images that are so often addressed by these works. A successor to 1960s Conceptualism, which posited that a material medium was unnecessary to the making of art, Conceptualism 2.0 features artworks that are transmedial, that place the aesthetic experience itself deliberately at the boundary between often incommensurable media. The result, Stewart shows, is art whose forced convergences break open new possibilities that are wholly surprising, intellectually enlightening, and often uncanny.

320 pages | 10 color plates, 2 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2017

Art: Art Criticism

Film Studies

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

Media Studies


"The book is important as an account of what these many stylistically divergent trends in the arts have in common aesthetically. . . .  the term transmedium has enormous promise as a mechanism for understanding contemporary museum and gallery art."

Critical Inquiry

“Lithographs that look like film frames, . . . internet images amassed to look like a photograph, . . . the video of a typewriter texting, . . . monumental woodcuts of video stills—this is the aesthetic territory that Garrett Stewart surveys with patience and panache, providing an unrivaled account of today’s transmedial art world, where technique trumps technology.  Stewart astutely conceives and captions a contemporary disposition with which artists—far from working in mixed media formats or relaxing into a post-medium condition—fixate on mediation, persistently foregrounding the materiality of image production.  Uncannily attuned to the archaeological instincts and conceptual logistics of transmediation along this perplexing, mesmerizing tangent to the image system of our global culture, this is conceptual art history at its most illuminating.”

Bill Brown, University of Chicago

 “With his palpable intellectual glee, fearlessly open mind, and contagious enthusiasm, Garrett Stewart continues to be one of the most inspired and inspiring critics. And even if we didn't need a reminder of what fun it can be to look and read and think afresh, this work of experimental ekphrasis offers a timely reminder of how vibrantly new media manifest themselves when they represent the conceptual force of another's materiality.”

Craig Dworkin, University of Utah

Transmedium performs important critical work: it identifies, describes, catalogs, and historicizes a commanding array of contemporaneous artworks that probe material differences between media. Garrett Stewart calls this set of artworks ‘Conceptualism 2.0,’ to suggest its continuities with, and differences from, Conceptual art of the sixties and seventies. Stewart is one of the great close readers of our time and his discovery of contemporary art’s polemical engagement with theories of medial convergence is both absorbing and galvanizing.”

Karla Oeler, Stanford University

“This remarkable book offers a wholly compelling account of the contemporary art world, taking the reader on an imaginary walking tour through real galleries and recent shows that feels both idiosyncratic and wholly inevitable. Making a zigzag path between the particular and the general, the necessary and the contingent, the medium and its refusal, Transmedium succeeds both as a specific engagement with an important and unfolding moment in the history of art practice and as a dazzling and inimitable methodological performance.”

Kent Puckett, University of California, Berkeley

Table of Contents

Overture: Coming to Terms
Prelim: Conceptualism 2.0
Scene One: Image Frames
Chapter 1: Hyperreal
Chapter 2: Hyporealm
Chapter 3: Derealized
Scene Two: Motion Captures
Chapter 4: Pictureplaning
Chapter 5: Lightshown
Chapter 6: Filmedivision

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