What stands out most for me about this book is how, even though it is a review of twentieth-century art, it is the best book I have read to date that offers an exciting perspective on where art can go from there. The book was almost published a few years ago and again a year or so ago. I started to wonder if it would ever get published. The delay appears to be a desire to contextualize up through 2008, to show what the concepts in the twentieth century led to. This is likely because art in 2008, especially electronic media, was being conceived of from the early twentieth century and has, in some cases, only fully manifested itself now. People imagined communicating the way we do now in 2009 long before we had the technology to build an Internet, post home videos, and make use of virtual reality, a term coined in the early twentieth century.
The common thread with the art covered in this book is that it all makes use of electricity in some form. It covers computers, robotics, biotechnology, even body and performance art. Much of it, although not all of it, deals with communication processes. Of course, all of it deals with communication, as that is what art is about.
Another thing that stands out for me is how the written material in this book covers the end of the twentieth century. Much as I have found Art in Theory 1900 - 2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas to be an amazing book, the essays at the very end not only do not cover the material in this book, they are among the weakest in that book. So, I recommend this book for its superior coverage of the turn of the 20th/21st century. Posthistorical theory may have merit, but it can have an implied fatalism that this book correctly circumvents, offering instead an inspiring, optimistic view of the still uncharted possibilities for art.
No competent contemporary art history program will be complete without this sort of material. Traditional mediums will continue to be used, but the period where it was cool to be snobbish towards television and other electronic mediums is now dated and irrelevant. All of the books in the Themes and Movements series are fantastic. But this is the best one to date to pull you into the future and not merely fetish the past.
For current developments, Leonardo is suggested by the book. The journal covers issues related to the development of the arts and sciences and how these two disciplines relate to one another. I would recommend reading this book first and then deciding if a subscription is in order as the journal does not lend itself to mere passive reading.