ArtSpeak: A Guide to Contemporary Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords, 1945 to the Present by Robert AtkinsArtSpeak: A Guide to Contemporary Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords, 1945 to the Present by Robert Atkins

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

byRobert Atkins

Paperback | November 26, 2013

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The leading lexicon of contemporary art returns in an expanded, full-color third edition.

An indispensable guide for art-world neophytes and seasoned professionals alike, the best-sellingArtSpeakreturns in a revised and expanded third edition, illustrated in full color. Nearly 150 alphabetical entries#151;30 of them new to this edition#151;explain the who, what, where, and when of postwar and contemporary art. These concise mini-essays on the key terms of the art world are written with wit and common sense by veteran critic Robert Atkins. More than eighty images, most in color, illustrate key works of the art movements discussed, makingArtSpeaka visual reference, as well as a textual one. A timeline traces world and art-world events from 1945 to the present day, and a single-page ArtChart provides a handy overview of the major art movements in that period.
Robert Atkins, an art historian and writer, is a frequent contributor toArt in Americaand a former staff columnist for theVillage Voice. Atkins is an authority on digital art, queer art and culture, and Chinese contemporary art. He is a pioneering online media producer and a founding member of Visual AIDS, creators of Day With(out) Art...
Title:ArtSpeak: A Guide to Contemporary Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords, 1945 to the PresentFormat:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:November 26, 2013Publisher:Abbeville Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0789211513

ISBN - 13:9780789211514

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Read from the Book

Excerpt from: ArtSpeakGraffiti ArtWHO: Jean-Michael Basquiat, Crash, Daze, Dondi, Fab 5 Freddy (a.k.a. Freddy Brathwaite), Futura 2000, Keith Haring, Lady Pink, Lee Quinones, Rammellzee, Samo (a.k.a. Basquiat and Al Diaz), Taki 183, Alex Vallauri, Zephyr (a.k.a. Andrew Witten), Zhang Dali (a.k.a. AK-47 and 18k)WHEN: Mid-1970s to mid-1980sWHERE: Primarily New YorkWHAT: Graffito means “scratch” in Italian, and graffiti (the plural form) are drawings or images scratched into the surfaces of walls. Illicit graffiti (of the “Kilroy was here” variety) dates back to ancient Egypt. Graffiti slipped into the studio as a subject after World War II. Artists such as Cy Twombly and Jackson Pollack were interested in the way it looked, the Frenchman Jean Dubuffet was interested in what it meant as a kind of OUTSIDER ART, and Catalan Atoni Tápies was interested in the ways it could be incorporated into his imagery of urban walls.During the early 1970s—soon after aerosol spray paint in cans became readily available—New York subway trains were subjected to an onslaught of exuberantly colored graffiti. The words and “tags” (graffiti writers’ names) were soon augmented with elaborate cartoon-inspired images. Most graffitist were neither professional artists nor art students but streetwise teenagers from the Bronx and Brooklyn.Several milestones marked graffiti’s move from the street to the gallery: the United Graffiti Artists’ 1975 exhibition at New York’s Artists Space; Fab 5 Freddy’s widely discussed spray-painted homage to Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans in 1980; the Times Square Show, also in 1980, which galvanized the attention of the New York art world; the ongoing support in the form of exhibition opportunities and career counseling provided by Fashion Moda, and ALTERNATIVE SPACE in the Bronx; and ultimately, the development of a graffiti STYLE by professionally trained artists such as Keith Haring.The popularization of graffiti raised questions of unusual aesthetic and sociological import. Was graffiti vandalism? Or urban folk art? The writer Norman Mailer romanticized it as the anarchic manifestation of social freedom, while such critics as Suzi Gablik charged that ghetto youths were being exploited by a novelty-crazed art market.The year 1983 saw the zenith of graffiti art, with its first major museum exhibition at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and the Post-Graffiti show at Sidney Janis’s blue-chip gallery in New York. By mid-decade it already seemed outmoded. Underground “tags” and images designed to be rapidly spray-painted or seen only in motion did not survive the transition to the more conventional two- and three-dimensional formats exhibited in galleries.The most notable exceptions were the works of Jean-Michael Basquiat and Keith Haring. Their considerable talents brought them critical and commercial success equal to that of any young artist of the day, led to collaborations with Andy Warhol, and (inadvertently) drew a clear distinction between their imaginatively realized visions and the narrower skill of tagging a subway car.One of Harring’s greatest successes as an ambassador for the expressive possibilities of graffiti was posthumous. The young Chinese artist Zhang Dali, who spent several years in Italy beginning in 1989, came to idolize Haring and his work. In 1993 Zhang returned to Beijing and became the sole graffitist in that city, where public order was more rigorously policed than in New York. (By tagging only the walls of homes marked for demolition—or already demolished—he garnered the sympathy of police.) In addition to his tags,18k and AK47, he created huge, cartoonish silhouettes of his head in pairs: one a “negative” image cut out of the wall and providing a view of the rubble of the traditional courtyard home beyond; and the second a “positive” image spray-painted on the wall and focusing attention on it as a container of domestic life sealed off from public intrusion. His photographs of his activities as a graffitist are poignant: they both document modern ruins and evoke the traditional home and lifestyle that flourished within them. Zhang, who began to spray-paint his silhouettes while still in Italy, is perhaps the only figure outside the original circle of New York graffiti artists who ought to be considered at least an honorary part of it.Rather than romanticizing the New York origins of graffiti art, it is useful to consider other defining events that made it so short-lived a movement, including the death of African-American graffitist Michael Stewart in 1983. Caught tagging by New York police in a downtown subway station, he was savagely beaten and then transported to a nearby hospital in a coma, dying soon after. Both Basquiat and Haring were dead by 1990—the former, in his mid-twenties, from a heroin overdose and the latter, in his early thirties, from HIV-related causes.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents from:ArtSpeak

How To Use This Book

’85 New Wave
Abject Expressionism
Abstract Expressionism
Academic Art
Alternative Space
Antipodean Group
Art and Technology
Art Brut
Arte Povera
Art Informel
Artists’ Books
Artists’ Furniture
Art Market
Art World
"Bad” Painting
Bay Area Figurative Style
Black Arts Movement
Body Art
Ceramic Sculpture
Chicago Imagism
Color-Field Painting
Comics Art
Computer Art
Conceptual Art
Concrete Art
Contemporary Indigenous Australian Art
Copy Art
Culture Wars
Cynical Realism
Dau al Set
Düsseldorf School of Photography
Earth Art
East Village
El Paso
Fashion Aesthetic
Feminist Art
Finish Fetish
Found Object
Funk Art
Graffiti Art
Hard-Edge Painting
Junk Sculpture
Kinetic Sculpture
Light-and-Space Art
Mail Art
Manipulated Photography
Media Art
Mission School
Mülheimer Freiheit
Narrative Art
New Image
New Leipzig School
New Media
New Realism
New Wave
Nouveau Réalisme
Online Art
Op Art
The Other
Outsider Art
Pathetic Art
Pattern and Decoration
Performance Art
Picture Plane
Pictures Generation
Political Art
Political Pop
Pop Art
Popular Culture
Print Revival
Process Art
Public Art
Saint Ives Painters
Scatter Art
School of London
School of Paris
Shaped Canvas
Snapshot Aesthetic
Socialist Realism
Social Practice
Social Realism
Sots Art
Sound Art
Space Art
Staged Photography
Stars Group
Straight Photography
Street Art
Video Art
Young British Artists

Photography Credits

Editorial Reviews

"In this important update of ArtSpeak, Atkins again offers reliable, succinct definitions of some 150 art terms, ideas, and movements, outlined in an easy-to-read, uniform format that gives the who, when, where, and what. Summing Up: Highly recommended."—CHOICE"In the end, ArtSpeak is informative and readable, a friendly invitation to better understand the language of contemporary art. Over its history, the book has transmuted from more or less a dictionary of terms into a relatively comprehensive survey of twenty-five years of art. Now, don’t you want clearer understanding of movement Mono-ha?"—Rain Taxi Review of Books"The writing is simple, direct, nonjudgmental, and succinct. An essential update."—Library Journal, starred review"[ArtSpeak is] where you go to find out, quickly and clearly, what Semiotics means... It offers handy short takes on terms like commodification and formalism, along with the who, when, where, and sometimes why of Neo Dada, Neo-Expressionism, Neo-Geo, New Image, the New Leipzig school, New media, New Realism, New Wave, Nouveau Réalisme, Socialist Realism, Social Realism, Social Practice, Space Art, and Spatialism, to name some more of the 146 categories in the book. It also explains what separates Pathetic Art from kitsch, and how Abject Expressionism differs from Abstract Expressionism."—ARTnewsPraise for the previous editions:"From appropriation to manipulated photography to trans-avant garde, this handbook defines all the terms needed to sound au courant in the art world." —Village Voice"A must-have book for students, artists, collectors, and other interested observers." —Hartford Courant"A great book to take to the art museum." —Chicago Tribune"This is the book to carry on your next gallery crawl." —Art and Auction