ART SINCE 1940 by Jonathan Fineberg

ART SINCE 1940

Strategies of Being
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An ambitious and glossy survey of contemporary Western art, packed with no-nonsense analysis and biographical detail on myriad artists. Fineberg (Art History/Univ. of Illinois) has a gift for incisive explanatory description of complex art movements, focusing on biographies of individual artists throughout to keep his art historical readings concrete. He opens with an appreciative but unromanticized account of 1940s New York, the new international art capital that--spurred by a host of European Modernist art emigrÇs- -spawned the Abstract Expressionist movement. Subsequent chapters crisscross the Atlantic, examining the codevelopment of avant-garde ideologies in the US and Europe. Fineberg is especially good describing such specialized pocket movements as France's nouveau rÇalisme of the late '50s, led by the flamboyant monochrome painter Yves Klein, as well as the Chicago pop movement of the 1960s, exemplified by the cartoonish figurative works of Peter Saul, Roger Brown, and Jim Nutt. For Fineberg, art and culture go hand-in-hand: As he enters the '60s, he includes period advertising and news photos to give a sense of the consciousness of those times; and when discussing '70s art, he considers politics, postmodernism, the rise of feminist thought, and artists' use of public sites. Covering the '80s through the present, the author charts a more personal and didactic course, holding up such lesser-known recent artists as ceramicist Robert Arneson and multimedia collagist and writer David Wojnarowicz for serious historical reconsideration. Throughout, Fineberg's choices for illustration reflect his admiration for loud, boisterous art that actively confronts its viewing public. Like H.W. Janson's standard college textbook, History of Art, Fineberg's offering capably synthesizes a wealth of information into digestible, nonpolemical bites. Immediately appealing as a textbook, lively enough to attract general readers as well. (557 illustrations, including 212 color plates)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-8109-1951-6
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1995




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