Art Speak: A Guide to Contemporary Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords, 1945 to the Present

Robert Atkins. Abbeville, $34.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7892-1150-7
A revised and expanded edition of the popular field guide, Atkins's text manages an accomplished duality of concision and comprehensiveness as it tours through contemporary art. Even for dedicated fans, the contemporary art world can be a daunting place, driven by seemingly abstruse styles, movements, and theoretical preoccupations. As a veteran traveler in this world, Atkins gracefully distills many of these major forces into succinct entries, listing the most influential artists alongside his brief explanation of driving concerns and modes. By necessity, the lexicon is less about producing startling insights and more about providing some basic framing for those entering a museum or gallery, and its consistent pointing toward other artists and overlapping -isms generate plenty of opportunities for further research. At the same time, Atkins includes a number of basic terms (from "biennial" to "zeitgeist") that help provide a useful outline of contemporary art on whole, amorphous as it is. The new edition includes both very recent vocabulary, such as 2012's coining of "abject expressionism," as well as a more developed mapping of contemporary Chinese art. While the guide could certainly be broadened in countless ways, for those encountering the market-driven world primarily centered in the West, Atkins provides a practical text, somehow able to navigate its inscrutable subject and arrive at an engaging, readable survey. Color illus. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/11/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
Show other formats
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-1-55859-010-6
Hardcover - 176 pages - 978-1-55859-127-1
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-55859-388-6
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-1-55859-389-3
Ebook - 592 pages - 978-0-7892-6036-9
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-7892-1151-4
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.