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|Print List Price:||£7.99|
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Contemporary Art: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 169 pages||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled||Page Flip: Enabled|
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I was impressed by his deconstruction of the modern world art developments in the international biennale scene and find myself questioning whether anything serious can really be attempted in this environment. As I sit in a monster shopping centre writing this, looking out the window at a motorway lined with grungy apartment buildings, I am struck by how irrelevant to my experience this art is.
Strange to say this having grown up with the idea that Art History had something to say, but Stallabrass seems to tell me that the history of what now goes for art is going to be a repetition of broad, hollow themes grouped around vain personalities. Worth reading.
It doesn't. I struggled with Stallabras's writing style, which obfuscates rather than clarifies. As a text, it is squarely aimed at those already familiar with contemportary art writing, including the jargon and key underpinning perspectives. The reader who doesn't have that background is left scratching his head while wading through paragraph after paragraph of a highly convoluted writing style that offers very little in the way of an analytical framework or even attempt to shine a light on the nature of contemporary art. Instead, the book is a series of connected essays that describe market forces and political developments and ideologies as they influence art, and commentary on contemporary art critics and academics and their perspectives, and how these in turn influence contemporary art.
I take the view that a book should be assessed based on what it sets out to achieve, and wouldn't want to judge it against a set of criteria that were not part of the writing brief. Reading OUP's overall brief ("These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors [...] make interesting and challenging topics highly readable"), I can only conclude that this booklet has failed spectacularly.
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