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Contemporary art: world currents

Contemporary art: world currents

Smith, Terry (Terry E.)

'Contemporary Art' argues that, in recent decades, a worldwide shift from modern to contemporary art has occurred. This has not, however, been a uniform change from one phase or style in the history of art to another. Rather, artists everywhere have embraced the contemporary world's teeming multiplicity

Paperback, Book. English.
Published Upper Saddle River, N.J.; London: Prentice Hall, c2011
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  • Newton Park – Earliest copy due back 6th October

    Barcode Shelfmark Loan type Status
    00361652 Art Collection 709.051/SMI Standard Due back 6th October


Statement of responsibility: Terry Smith
ISBN: 0205789714, 9780205789719
Intended audience: Specialized.
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: 348 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 30 cm.
Subject: Climate change; Political art; Contemporary art; Internet; Art and Design.; Art, Modern 21st century.; Developing countries; Art, Modern 20th century.


  2. 1.) BRIEF
  5. Part I: Becoming Contemporary in Euro America
  6. Late Modern Art Becomes Contemporary
  7. The Contemporary Art Boom
  8. Part II: The Transnational Transition
  9. Russia and (East of) Europe
  10. South and Central America, the Carribean
  11. China and East Asia
  12. India, South and Southeast Asia
  13. Oceania
  14. Africa
  15. West Asia
  16. Part III: Contemporary Concerns
  17. World Pictures: Making Art Politically
  18. Climate Change: Art and Ecology
  19. Social Media: Affects of Time
  20. Coda: Permanent Transition
  22. Acknowledgments
  23. General Introduction: Contemporary Art in Transition
  24. From Late Modern Art to Now
  25. Part I: Becoming Contemporary in Euro America
  26. Late Modern Art Becomes Contemporary
  27. Transformations in Late Modern Art: Its Contemporary Aspects
  28. The Contemporary Art Boom
  29. The Postmodern Return to Figuration
  30. Retro-Sensationalist Art
  31. Remodernism in Sculpture and Photography
  32. Spectacle Architecture as Contemporary Art
  33. Contemporary Art Becomes a Style
  34. Part II: The Transnational Transition
  35. Russia and (East of) Europe
  36. Russia
  37. Late Cold War Modern Art Elsewhere (East of) Europe
  38. After the Fall: Post-Communist Art?
  39. Beyond "Eastern" and "Central" versus "Western" Europe
  40. Translating the European Ideal
  41. South and Central America, the Carribean
  42. South America
  43. Cuba
  44. Elsewhere in the Caribbean
  45. Seeing the World's Currents
  46. China and East Asia
  47. China
  48. Taiwan
  49. Korea
  50. India, South and Southeast Asia
  51. India
  52. Pakistan
  53. Thailand
  54. Indonesia
  55. The Phillippines
  56. Oceania
  57. Papua New Guinea
  58. Aotearoa/New Zealand
  59. Australia
  60. Africa
  61. Modern Art in Africa
  62. South Africa Under Apartheid
  63. Popular Painting and Sculpture in Central Africa
  64. Commercial to Art Photography
  65. South Africa after Apartheid
  66. African Art Enters the International Circuit
  67. West Asia
  68. Iraq
  69. Jordan
  70. Iran
  71. Palestine
  72. Israel
  73. From Hurufiyah to Contemporary Cosmopolitanism
  74. Part III: Contemporary Concerns
  75. World Pictures: Making Art Politically
  76. One World
  77. Global Networks
  78. Intervening Critically
  79. Profiles in Shadowland
  80. Bare Labor
  81. Climate Change: Art and Ecology
  82. Art and Environmentalism
  83. Crisis and Catastrophe
  84. Collective Actions, Sustainable Solutions
  85. Designs for Living
  86. Experimental Geography
  87. Imaging the Future Dystopia
  88. Eco-Chic, Greenwashing, Spectable
  89. Social Media: Affects of Time
  90. Mediation, Immersion, Intervention, Agency
  91. To Be with Time is All We Ask
  92. Coda: Permanent Transition
  93. Notes
  94. Select Bibliography
  95. A Directory of Selected Contemporary
  96. Art Websites
  97. Index
  98. Picture Credits
  99. Note of Thanks

Author note

Terry Smith, FAHA, CIHA, is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh. His major research interests are world contemporary art, including its institutional and social contexts; the histories of multiple modernities and modernisms; the history and theory of contemporaneity; and the historiography of art history and art criticism. He has special expertise in international contemporary art (practice, theory, institutions, markets), American visual cultures since 1870, and Australia art since settlement, including Aboriginal art. Current graduate students under his supervision are working on topics such as critical global practices, alternative avant-gardes, cultural policy, and art writing. He teaches the open course Introduction to Contemporary Art, and a graduate seminar on modernity and contemporaneity.


Contemporary Art: World Currents is the first comprehensive worldwide survey of contemporary art from the 1980s to the present day.


Author Terry Smith argues that, in recent decades, a global shift from modern to contemporary art has occurred: artists everywhere have embraced the contemporary world's teeming multiplicity, its proliferating differences and its challenging complexities and new technologies. Alongside more than 350 carefully selected color images of key works, Terry Smith offers the first account of these changes, from their historical beginnings to the present day. Exploring key works by both well known
and little-known artists, the author shows how contemporary art achieved definitive force in the markets and museums of the major art centres during the 1980s and then became a global phenomenon as artworlds everywhere began to connect more closely: new communicative technologies and expanding social media are now shaping the future of art.


Contemporary Art: World Currents breaks new ground in tracing how modern, traditional and indigenous art became contemporary in each cultural region of the world, ranging across Western, East and Central Europe, North and South America and the Caribbean, Oceania, Africa, and the Middle East. Terry Smith lays the groundwork for a new comparative approach to contemporary art, emphasizing its relationships to all aspects of contemporary life. He argues that it is cultural diversity and individual artistic inventiveness, not a convergence towards sameness, which makes today's art contemporary.


Contemporary Art: World Currents brings the subject right up-todate, highlighting the concerns of contemporary artists while giving the reader an invaluable insight to art today.


Teaching and Learning Experience


Improve Critical Thinking- Explore how contemporary art has become a global, connected phenomenon


Engage Students- Looks at the work of contemporary artists from across the world.


Support Instructors- Image PowerPoints slides are available for Contemporary Art: World Currents.



"Terry Smith is acknowledged world wide as the leading authority in the theory of contemporary art."-- Hans Belting, Professor for Art History and Media Theory, Academy for Design, Karlsruhe, Germany, from the Global Art and the Museum website.


"Terry Smith is that rare art and social historian able to write criticism at once alert to the forces that contextualize art and sensitive to the elements and qualities that inhere to the works of art themselves." -- College Art Association, citation for the 2010 Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism


Contemporary Art: World Currents, by Terry Smith (Pearson; 348 pages). Contemporary art exists in such quantity and variety that even insiders to it will benefit by art historian Smith's clear-eyed world tour. Perhaps the best concise book of its kind available. -- Kenneth Baker, Chronicle Art Critic | Holiday gift guide: books on art  | November 20, 2011