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Distributed for National University of Singapore Press

Writing the Modern

Selected Texts on Art & Art History in Singapore, Malaysia & Southeast Asia, 1973–2015

Distributed for National University of Singapore Press

Writing the Modern

Selected Texts on Art & Art History in Singapore, Malaysia & Southeast Asia, 1973–2015

Published by the Singapore Art Museum

T. K. Sabapathy has been writing on the art of Southeast Asia for more than four decades, as a critic, curator, and art historian. He is a penetrating critic and ardent advocate for the art and artists of Singapore and Malaysia. His art historical methods, critical documentation, deep dialogue with artists, and detailed explication of their works have set the course of art discourse in the region.
Writing the Modern is the first collection of Sabapathy’s work, featuring pieces that represent the scope and depth of his output and highlight his most important and influential writings. At the same time, it is a survey of the vast changes in the landscape of art in the region over the period. Sabapathy chronicles the shift in Asian art from a predominantly nationalist/modernist mode to a global contemporary style. Those new to his work will find this the ideal introduction to his oeuvre. And his longtime fans will find this book the perfect opportunity for review and renewed consideration of his work. Ultimately, it’s a collection sure to fuel a new generation of modern and contemporary art writing, research, and exhibition making.

448 pages | 78 color plates, 5 halftones | 7 x 9 3/4 | © 2018

Art: Middle Eastern, African, and Asian Art

Asian Studies: Southeast Asia and Australia


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Reviews

“This compendium—including monographic articles, catalogue essays, newspaper features and exhibition reviews, conference papers, and public speeches—reflects (Sabapathy's) highly eclectic but always thoughtful take on Southeast Asia’s modern art developments. Drawing on the theoretic and iconographic methods of Western scholars such as Michael Baxandall, E.H. Gombrich, Rosalind Krauss, Herbert Read, Barbara Rose, and Michael Sullivan (all amply cited in his texts), Sabapathy demonstrates an acute sensitivity to the visual, tactile, and symbolic qualities of artistic mediums.”

Art in America

“An unparalleled documentation of the contemporary Southeast Asian art scene since the 1970s.”

ArtRepublik

"A new anthology that covers over four decades of Sabapathy's erudite, sometimes esoteric, opinions. . . . . Reading this anthology is a revelation, like encountering a Chinua Achebe novel or listening to Gayatri Spivak speak for the first time. It opens up a new and exciting world populated by artists with exotic names and imagery that are both foreign and seemingly familiar. . . .  Writing the Modern is a seminal publication on art practices in the region, articulated through the voice of a formidable scholar and intellectual."
 

Mekong Review

“Writing the Modern collates the octogenarian’s efforts, which have inarguably set the course for Southeast Asian art history today.”

ArtAsiaPacific

Writing the Modern collates the octogenarian’s efforts, which have inarguably set the course for Southeast Asian art history today.”

ArtAsiaPacific

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