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Contemporary British art: an introduction

Contemporary British art: an introduction

Pooke, Grant

This text provides an introduction to British art, in all its money-sexy glory. It explores key themes in British art practice such as autobiographical art, the abject, and mutability and death, through a discussion of the work of key artists and art movements. The last few decades have been among the most dynamic within recent British cultural history. Artists across all genres and media have developed and re-fashioned their practice against a radically changing social and cultural landscape - both national and global. This book takes a fresh look at some of the themes, ideas and directions which have informed British art since the later 1980s through to the first decade of the new millennium. In addition to discussing some iconic images and examples, it also looks more broadly at the contexts in which a new `post-conceptual' generation of artists, those typically born since the late 1950s and 1960s have approached and developed aspects of their professional practice. Contemporary British Art is an ideal introduction to the field. To guide the reader, the book is organised around genres or related practices - painting; sculpture and installation; and film, video and performance. The first chapter explores aspects of the contemporary art market and some of the contexts within which art is made, supported and exhibited. The chapters that discuss various genres of art practice also mention books that may be useful to support further reading. Extensively illustrated with a wide range of work (both known, and less well-known) from artists such as Chris Ofili, Rachel Whiteread, Damien Hirst, Banksy, Anthony Gormley, Jack Vettriano, Sam Taylor-Wood, Steve McQueen and Tracey Emin, and many more

eBook, Electronic resource, Book. English. Electronic books.
Published London: Routledge, 2011
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Statement of responsibility: Grant Pooke
ISBN: 113565476X, 9781135654764
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: xiv, 287 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (some col.)
Subject: Media studies; Art and Design.; History of art; Psycholinguistics; Ergonomics; The arts: general issues; Psychology: emotions; Art, British 21st century.; Art, British 20th century.; Groups & group theory
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. Askews and Holts. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Other formats: Also available in printed form ISBN 9780415389747


  1. Acknowledgements
  2. Illustrations
  3. Figures
  4. Plates
  5. Introduction
  6. Cool Britannia, Contemporary Art and the Altermodern
  7. Chapter One: Perspectives on the Contemporary Art Market and its Institutions
  8. Introduction
  9. The Contemporary Art Market
  10. Contemporary Art, Celebrity & Private Collecting
  11. Perspectives on Contemporary Art Patronage
  12. The Arts Council's Per Cent for Art Scheme
  13. Contexts for Public Art & Other Commissioning Organisations
  14. British Art Awards and Prizes
  15. The Creative Economy and Cultural Regeneration
  16. Contemporary Art Fairs and Biennales
  17. Chapter Two: Post-Conceptual British Painting
  18. Introduction
  19. Painting: Histories, Ideas and Contexts
  20. British Painting: Cultural Politics, Dissent and other Narratives
  21. Place, Entropy and the Imaginary in Contemporary Painting
  22. Remodernism, Stuckism and Film Noir Nostalgia
  23. Gestural and Geometric British Painting: Modernisms Revisited
  24. Chapter Three: Installation Art and Sculpture as Institutional Paradigms
  25. Introduction
  26. Installations and Installation Art
  27. Site-specific and Non Site-Specific Installations
  28. Installation, Objecthood and Active Spectatorship
  29. Phenomenology and Installation Art
  30. Installation Art, Praxis and Relational Aesthetics
  31. Installation Practice as a Dream-Like Encounter
  32. Paradigms of Installation Art as Immersive Experience and Subjective Disintegration
  33. Installations, Bodily Response and Experience
  34. Installation, Politics and Activated Spectatorship
  35. 'Sculpture in the Expanded Field' - Traditions and Revisions
  36. Sculpture as Commodity and Appropriation
  37. Sculpture, Ambivalence and the Abject
  38. Chapter Four: New Media in Transition: Photography, Video & the Performative
  39. Introduction
  40. Photography: Contexts & Histories
  41. Narratives and Countercultures: Video and Performance Art
  42. Performance, Abjection and Other Narratives
  43. Documentary Genres: Docu-fiction and Social Reportage
  44. Technical Interventions, De-familiarisation and Spectacle
  45. Portraiture, Still Life and New Media Art: Objectification and Reversals
  46. Post-Conceptual British Art: New Directions Home
  47. Bibliography
  48. Index

Author note

Grant Pooke is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts, University of Kent. He is the author of Francis Klingender 1907-1955: A Marxist Art Historian Out of Time(2008) and co-author of Art History: The Basics(2008).


'A lucid and vibrant introduction to a pivotal three decades in British artistic and cultural history. This incisive and wide-ranging book provides a perceptive and illuminating framework for understanding the complexities of a rich and creative period within contemporary art.' - Dr Diana Newall, Research Fellow, The Open University

'Contemporary British Artis no mere survey but an informed, thought-provoking and skilfully crafted introduction to the last twenty or so years of creative endeavour. Clearly and accessibly written, it opens up an increasingly expanding and complex field of cultural production by expertly weaving insightful ideas and comment with a diverse range of examples, some of which are refreshingly unfamiliar.' - Dr Graham Whitham, Art Historian

'The art market is the subject of the first chapter, getting the book off to a strong start and connecting it to the recent trend in surveys of British art to contextualize and critique works of art primarily within an institutional framework. Pooke's chapter on installation art, the third in the book, also foregrounds institutions but provides, in addition, detailed descriptions of installation works and theories about the practice--especially those of Claire Bishop--that will rivet readers. Summing Up: Recommended.' - CHOICE'Grant Pooke's Contemporary British Art is one of the first (if not the first) survey books to be written on the art produced in Britain between 1987 and 2007, and a thorough account of recent artists, art practices and thematic tendencies is provided. Works of art are carefully described and discussed in a clear, jargon-free style, making this book accessible to a wide audience; it will undoubtedly become a mainstay of school and undergraduate reading lists.' - Art History