on 9 September 2013
I bought this paperback when I was doing an Open University course on art history. It was useful in helping me to sort out the differences in modern art and recognise the various 'isms'. Some of the isms developed from previous art forms, and some of them were reactions or rejections of previous isms. If you need to know your Dali from your Picasso, this is the book for you. After you have read it you can use the Internet to search for more artists, as this book gives you only a opening guide. Recommended.
on 30 October 2015
This little work is a “visual field guide” to modern art. It looks confusing at first, due to the art no doubt, but it's actually a good and short introduction to the bewildering variety of modern art styles. A negative is that the works shown aren't always the most well known ones.
Many of the styles or schools mentioned in the book are ones I never heard about before: Orphism, Rayonism, Vorticism, Suprematism…Or what about Art Brut, CoBrA, Kitchen sink realism and YBA. OK, I have heard of the YBA before (that's “Young British Artists”), but their perennial nemesis, the Stuckists, are not mentioned by the author, making him liable for accusations of being on the payroll of one Charles Saatchi, LOL.
I admit that I never really liked modern art, except maybe Surrealism, so leafing through “Isms” was something of an attitude test. It shows what's gotta be the ugliest work of art ever produced, no competition: Jackson Pollock's “Number 1”. On a lighter note, it also features the funny sculpture “Monogram” by Robert Rauschenberg, on permanent exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm. Me and my buddies know it as “The goat with the tire”. Why? Well, it *is* a stuffed goat with a tire around its neck. Apparently, an example of Neo-Dadaism. I often toyed with the idea to place “Monogram” at some desolate public transit train station, while having the rest of the Modern Museum razed to the ground, together with the rest of its “art”, but, hey, we all have our power fantasies!
Five stars for the little book, zero stars (or zero point five) for most of the garbage pieces shown. Modern “artists” apparently think they are some kind of rebels, but trust me, the real revolution won't be painted…