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Art of the 20th Century (Midi S.) [Paperback]

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Item description for Art of the 20th Century (Midi S.) by Ingo F. Walther & Walther F. Ingo...

From Klimt to Koons and everything in between: it's all here (TASCHEN's 25th anniversary special edition) Who could possibly have forecast on New Year's Eve 1899 that, one hundred years later, painting and sculpture would be only options, not prerequisites? The term "art" has been defined and redefined so many times over the last 100 years that it has gained entirely new social, political, and technological meanings. Ranging across the full spectrum of disciplines available, including photography and new media, and thematically chaptered to highlight relationships between works and movements, this readable and encyclopaedic masterwork does just what it says on the cover. Whether you want Surrealism or Land Art, Fluxus or Bauhaus, this is your be-all, end-all guide to art of the 20th century. An undertaking as immensely ambitious as this one deserves to be owned by everyone, which is why we decided to make a special, more compact edition of this two-volume classic in celebration of 25

This exhaustive look at a long century of art making and art questioning is, understandably, more broad than it is deep. A massive, boxed, two-volume set, it's divided into sections on painting, sculpture, new media (performance art, video art, earth art, etc.), and photography, with a 150-page biographical appendix of all of the 780 artists whose works are illustrated in the main sections of the book. The original German text, written by a team of writers and art historians, has been fluidly translated by John William Gabriel. The authors are very much of their own time and place: there are more works from after World War II than before it, and many more German artists--including mediocre and derivative ones--make the cut than if the book had been written by, say, an English or a French team. In fact, the English seem slightly shortchanged here. William Tucker, still a vital influence, is represented by a 1967 minimal sculpture and a four-word mention, and painter Howard Hodgkin is omitted entirely. And while American sculptor-entrepreneur Jeff Koons is given more than his due, the thoughtful and significant Rachel Whiteread is not mentioned at all. But Art of the Twentieth Century is an unquestionably useful reference guide to a period that swings dramatically from the impressionists all the way to Nam June Paik.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   840
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 2" Width: 7.75" Height: 10"
Weight:   5.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 15, 2005
Publisher   Taschen
ISBN  3822840890  
ISBN13  9783822840894  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > Schools, Periods & Styles > Modern
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History

Reviews - What do customers think about Art of the 20th Century (Midi S.)?

Excellent value  Oct 27, 2005
Taschen does it again. This comprehensive guide covers an extrodinary amount of 20th century art beginning with impressionism to the 1990's. Everything from sculpture, painting and photography is gone over here, as well as the movements that changed and influenced them. Full color photos and artist bios included. A little gem of a book. Well fairly large gem, hell, lets call it a 10 pound stone. wonderful good value for the money
spotty, fuzzy, handsomely printed  May 3, 2003
any book that attempts to cover western 20th century art deserves to be reviewed with a large dose of charity -- the task is huge and perhaps impossible. however, this two volume set (one volume in the paperback edition) seems to go out of its way to make things harder than they have to be.

as with any taschen publication, the printing standards are exceptionally high. there is a wealth of beautiful and often canonical color images of major works by many artists ... the binding is solid and the text crisply printed. as a visual browse the book is a delight. the concluding biographical "who's who" of artists is a useful resource -- the book is probably worth having for these merits alone.

unfortunately the coverage of artists and movements is alarmingly spotty. there is no coherent, clear exposition of the guiding principles or characteristics of surrealism, abstract expressionism or modernism (e.g., greenberg and fried), l'art informel, arte povera, etc.; no mention of the evolving and interdependent influences of art, art criticism, art markets, intellectual trends and social causes. everything is broken up into discussions of individual artists, which is obstructive because there is no subject index. and artists of the calibre of joan mitchell, andy goldsworthy, lucien freud or john marin (!) are omitted entirely.

worst, the text is larded with fuzzy, inane or fatuous commentary that illuminates or documents nothing and very often fails to connect ideas to the illustrated examples. of frida kahlo: "The moving paintings of this long-suffering artist are socially critical without being aggressive." (the illustrated painting is a self portrait.) of joseph beuys: "Beuys devoted his entire life and energy as an artist to propagating his own inner convictions. It would simply not have occurred to him to put his message up on a sign above his front door." well, what's your point? of valerie export: "The Austrian artist Valerie Export devoted herself in her feminist Actions to historical manifestations of female body language (ill. right)." the illustration referred to shows export wearing a box; what is not explained is that this permits men to grope her bared breasts in public. of chris burden: "Chris Burden set out on a voyage of self-discovery via his own body (ill. below left)." what does that mean? the illustration referred to shows two video captures of burden's face and two figures, one pointing a rifle at the other; what is unexplained is that burden is having himself shot in the arm, or why that is interesting. and on and on ...

it is not all that difficult to select representative or important works of art from the 20th century -- auction prices and critical reputation can guide the way. on that criterion these two volumes are well done. it's quite another thing to illuminate, explain, contextualize and connect the enormously rich history of art over the past 100 years, and that is where this overview is a serious disappointment.

20th Century Art Shines !  Apr 3, 2000
This art book is the most complete description, most detailed analysis, most distinguished book of its kind. It has almost every painter of the twentieth century (and some impressionists of the 19th as well) with his/her's most important works and some not so very well known that show the great variety some painters have. This book is full of color photographs of painters (book 1) and of sculptors (book 2). You've never seen Picasso, Pollock, Kline, Lissitsky, Moholy - Nagy, Dali, Vasarely, and hundreds of other so well before ! At the very end of the second book you have a short biography of EACH AND EVERYONE of the painters and sculptors in the book. This is THE MUST BOOK for every art lover in the world.

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