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A landmark study in the history of modern art –

revised, updated and expanded

‘The book is important, not because it gives neat answers but because it raises questions’

– Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate

‘Turn off The Culture Show and Late Review, put down Time Out and read this book

instead. It has a good clear structure, providing a year-by-year account of what

happened. It provides facts and dates but also philosophy. It attempts to bring the

past into the present’ – Matthew Collings, The Guardian

‘A survey that understands, brilliantly, that the job of survey books is not to paint

a picture of a territory, but to provide a map that others may use to navigate their

own course’ – Tom Morton, Blueprint

‘The significance of Art Since 1900 can’t be underestimated: psychoanalysis and

poststructuralism are now inescapable methodologies that must be taken on board

by mainstream art history’ – Claire Bishop, Artforum

‘The definitive history of twentieth-century art … spectacular, and painstakingly

conceived’ – Gaby Wood, The Observer

‘The level of discussion is simply far more interesting than in any other guide to

twentieth-century art’ – Norman Bryson, University of California, San Diego

‘This is no ordinary survey … it opens theoretical and historical perspectives on

twentieth-century art with a sparkling clarity every reader will appreciate’

– Mignon Nixon, Courtauld Institute of Art

‘A remarkable collective work. It criss-crosses the entire twentieth century in complex

and fascinating ways. Written by four of the most innovative scholars of modern art

history today, it is a landmark’ – Briony Fer, University College London

This sales blad contains uncorrected proofs

of sample pages in miniature. The full

specification for the book itself is:

Trimmed page size: 27.7 x 21.6 cm

Hardback

816 pages with 744 illustrations, 510 in colour

www.thamesandhudson.com £48.00

ISBN 978-0-500-23889-9 £48.00

(price subject to change without notice)

Thames & Hudson

181A High Holborn, London WC1V 7QX

www.thamesandhudson.com

HAL FOSTER

ROSALIND

KRAUSS

YVE-ALAIN

BOIS

BENJAMIN H. D.

BUCHLOH

DAVID JOSELIT

ART

MODERNISM

ANTIMODERNISM SINCE

1900

POSTMODERNISM

SECOND

EDITION

HAL FOSTER

ROSALIND

KRAUSS

YVE-ALAIN

BOIS

BENJAMIN H. D.

BUCHLOH

DAVID JOSELIT

ART

MODERNISM

ANTIMODERNISM

POSTMODERNISM

SECOND

EDITION

SINCE

1900


1900 –1909 94 1909

1945 –1949 384

T

Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904)

and Étienne-Jules Marey (1830–1904)

he Englishman Eadweard Muybridge and the Frenchman

Étienne-Jules Marey are yoked in time and by work:

not only do they share the same birth and death dates,

but also together they pioneered the photographic study of

movement in ways that influenced not only the development

of Futurist art but also the modern rationalization of labor

and, it could be argued, of space–time in general.

First known as a photographer of American West and Central

American landscapes, Muybridge was enlisted in 1872 by

Leland Stanford, the millionaire ex-governor of California, in a

racing dispute about the gait of horses. In Palo Alto, Muybridge

photographed horses with a battery of cameras; typically, he

arranged the images in rows and reshot them in a grid that could

be scanned both horizontally and vertically. A book, The Horse

in Motion, which Stanford bowdlerized, appeared in 1882,

the same year that Muybridge sailed to Europe for a lecture tour.

In Paris he was welcomed by Marey, the famous photographer

Nadar, the Salon painter Ernest Meissonier, and the great

physiologist Hermann von Helmholtz—some indication of the

range of interest in this work that registered perceptual units

beyond the limits of human vision.

Unlike Muybridge, who considered himself an artist, Marey

was a physiologist by training who had previously worked on

graphic methods to record motion. When he first saw work by

Muybridge in the science journal La Nature in 1878, he turned

to photography as a more precise and neutral way to register

discrete movement. Marey first devised a photographic gun

with a circular plate that yielded near-instantaneous serial

photographs from a singular viewpoint. He then used a slotted

disk in front of the camera to break up movement in set

intervals that could be registered on a single photographic plate;

it was this work that he first described as “chronophotography.”

In order to avoid superimposition, Marey clad his subjects

entirely in black, with metal-studded strips along arms

and legs (bits of paper were used for animals). Along with

the singular viewpoint, this device effectively restored a

spatio-temporal coherence to the very perceptual field that

was otherwise fragmented. It was more scientific than the

Muybridge approach, which did not have a consistent point

of view or interval between images, but it was also less

radical in its disruption of the apparent continuum of vision.

It was this disruption that most intrigued the modernists—

the Futurists in their pursuit of a subversive speed, and artists

like Marcel Duchamp in their search for spatio-temporal

dimensions not previously perceived. But could it be that, like

Muybridge and Marey, these artists were also involved in a

historical dialectic that far exceeded their work as individuals

—a modern dialectic of a ceaseless renovation of perception,

of a perpetual liberating and redisciplining of vision that would

persist throughout the twentieth century?

| The first Futurist manifesto is published

3 Robert Motherwell, At Five in the Afternoon, 1949

Casein on board, 38.1 x 50.8 (15 x 20)

starting over,” wrote Thomas B. Hess, “and the whole image [is

kept] under rigorous control.”

Signature style

As for designing a “logo,” a trap that Newman called the “diagram”

and which he paradoxically avoided by addressing the issue at the

outset when he opted for the simplest possible spatial markers (his

▲ immediately recognizable vertical “zips”), one can also date its

beginning to 1948. A case in point is Motherwell’s lifelong Elegy to

● the Spanish Republic series (more than 140 paintings), based on

an ink drawing conceived in 1948 as an illustration for a poem by

Rosenberg and destined for the second (never published) issue of

Possibilities : pulling out the tiny sketch from a drawer one year

later, Motherwell scrupulously reproduced it, with all its scumbling

contours and paint runoffs, on a somewhat larger canvas now

given the title At Five in the Afternoon, the famous refrain of an

elegy by the Spanish poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca

▲ 1951

● 1937c

▲ 1953, 1958, 1960c, 1962d, 1964b

1947b | Abstract Expressionism

lamenting the death of a bullfighter [ 3 ]. Such posturing does not

necessarily characterize the working method of all the Abstract

Expressionists, but the very fact that it was possible at all (and that

it would be thoroughly imitated by legions of younger artists once

the movement had become widely successful, that is, by the midfifties)

merits consideration. Gottlieb’s clouds hovering above an

allusive horizon, Kline’s broad and energetic brush-strokes in

slicker and slicker black paint [ 5 ], and Still’s dry shards quickly

became patented figures of style. Even Rothko’s horizontal partitions

of his vertical canvases [ 4 ] fit into this category: were it

not for the sustained inventiveness of his color chords, and the

ensuing enigmas of figure–ground relations that his works continued

to pose till the end, his art may have been exhausted by the

artist’s manic overproduction.

In short, the seriality of Abstract Expressionism, in the end, had

much in common with that of the movement said to have precipi-

▲ tated its demise—Pop art. Jasper Johns (born 1930) and Robert

Rauschenberg (1925–2008), whose rise to fame immediately

5 Umberto Boccioni, Dynamism of a Speeding Horse and House, 1914–15

Gouache, oil, wood, paste-board, copper, and painted iron, 112.9 x 115 (44 1 ⁄ 2 x 45 1 ⁄ 4)

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, which retains the traditional

sculptural methods of modeling and bronze-casting, the work

incorporates industrially produced materials as called for in

Boccioni’s own manifesto: leather, found fragments of glass,

shards of metal, preformed elements of wood. One of the first fully

non representational sculptures of the twentieth century, it compares

most adequately with the abstract sculpture produced in

▲ Russia at that time by Vladimir Tatlin.

Insofar as collage surfaced as the key technique in the contradictory

range of Futurism’s attempts to fuse avant-garde sensibilities

with mass culture, Carrà’s Interventionist Demonstration [ 6] is a

central example of the Futurist aesthetic as it came to a climax just

before World War I. Indeed, the work incorporates all of the

devices with which Futurism was most engaged: the legacy of divisionist

painting; the Cubist fragmentation of traditional perceptual

● space; the insertion of clippings from newspapers and found materials

from advertising; the suggestion of kinesthesia through a

visual dynamic set up by the collage’s construction as both a vortex

and a matrix of crisscrossing power lines set as mutually counteractive

diagonals; and last, but not least, the juxtaposition of the

separate phonetic dimension of language with its graphic signifiers.

Typically enough, the phonetic performance of language in

Interventionist Demonstration is in almost all instances onomatopoeic.

In directly imitating the sounds of sirens (the wail

evoked by “HU-HU-HU-HU”), the screeches of engines and

machine guns (“TRrrrrrrrr” or “traaak tatatraak”), the screams of

people (“EVVIVAAA”), it is distinctly different from the structural

▲ 1914

● 1911, 1912

▲ 1912

4 Mark Rothko, Number 3/No. 13 (Magenta, Black, Green on Orange), 1949

Oil on canvas, 216.5 x 163.8 (85 1 ⁄ 4 x 64 1 ⁄ 2)

analysis of the phonetic, the textual, and the graphic components of

language in Russian Cubo-Futurist poetry or the calligrammes of

▲Apollinaire.

The juxtaposition of anti-German war slogans (“Down

with Austro-Hungary”) with found advertising material, or the

concatenation of Italian patriotic declarations (“Italia Italia”) with

musical fragments, continues the technique of Cubist collage but

turns this aesthetic into a new model of mass-cultural instigation

and propaganda. Its glorification of war is further registered in the

drum beats evoked by the words “ZANG TUMB TUUM.”

A liberation of language: parole in libertà

Zang Tumb Tuum of 1914, the first collection of Marinetti’s “free

word poetry” was prefaced by his slightly earlier manifesto of

Futurist poetry, Destruction of Syntax—Imagination without

Strings—Words-in-Freedom. Using a set of expressive typographic

and orthographic variations and an unstructured spatial organization,

Zang Tumb Tuum tries to express the sights, sounds, and

smells of the poet’s experience in Tripoli. This assertion of “wordsin-freedom”

emerged from a long and complicated dialogue with

late-nineteenth-century Symbolist poetry and its early-twentiethcentury

legacy in France. Although deeply influenced by, and

dependent upon, the example of Mallarmé, Marinetti publicly

declared his opposition to the French poet’s project. Insisting that

6 Carlo Carrà, Interventionist Demonstration, 1914

Tempera and collage on cardboard, 38.5 x 30 (15 1 ⁄ 8 x 11 3 ⁄ 4)

The first Futurist manifesto is published | 1909

Abstract Expressionism | 1947b

1900 –1909 95

1945 –1949

385

2000 –2010 735 1980

2 Jeff Koons, Balloon Dog (Magenta),1994–2000, installed in the Château de Versailles, France, 2008

High-chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 307.3 x 363.2 x 114.3 (121 x 143 x 45)

2000 –2010 760 2010a

| Dada Fair

3 Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London, 2010

Installation view

| Chinese contemporary art

Art and the market | 2007c

3 Damien Hirst’s The Dream (2008) shown at the “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” auction exhibition at Sotheby’s, London, September 2008

“apostrophizes our present era of plutocratic democracy, sinking

scads of money in a gesture of solidarity with lower-class taste.”

Appropriately, in fall 2008 Koons staged a show of his recent production

at that tourist Mecca, the royal palace at Versailles.

Two years later, Murakami caused great controversy with his

own exhibition at the same venue. The Japanese artist has

exploited the convergence of art, media, and market even more

thoroughly than Koons has. If the latter operates with smart selections

from the repertoire of Western kitsch, the former develops

figures of his own branding inspired by the Japanese subcultures of

otaku (often translated as “geek”) and kawaii (“cuteness”). Otaku

fans tend to be male adolescents obsessed with particular characters

in manga (comic books) and anime (television programs and

films); some are action figures to identify with, while others are

submissive girls to fantasize about. An early attempt by Murakami

in the otaku vein was Miss Ko 2 (1997), a combination of a pixie

blonde girl with her hair in a ribbon and a buxom porn star in a

skimpy waitress costume. Miss Ko 2 was not a hit among otaku

fans—apparently she did not appear submissive enough—but

Murakami has proved more successful with motifs that play on the

female-oriented subculture of kawaii, such as his zesty mush-

2007c | Art and the market

4 Ai Weiwei, Fairytale, project for Documenta 12, Kassel, Germany, 2007

Qing Dynasty wooden chairs (1644–1911)

that despite the much greater complexity of transporting 1001

people to Kassel as opposed to shipping 1001 chairs there, it is very

likely that the average Documenta visitor had no contact what -

soever with, and perhaps no awareness of, the Chinese tourists of

Fairytale, while every visitor would have noticed the presence of

1001 chairs that connote traditional “Chinese identity.” Part of Ai’s

fairytale concerns how objects communicate as envoys of persons

or nations—and what better image for such stand-ins than empty

chairs? Fairytale, then, juxtaposed two different publics that were in

danger of completely missing one another: a public composed of

Chinese citizens discovering a European city for the first time, and a

public composed of largely European and American art enthusiasts

discovering a set of Chinese artifacts. Each group no doubt brought

their own preconceptions and expectations to the experience and

therefore inevitably took away meanings that had as much to do

with themselves as with their encounter with the foreign. In other

words, Fairytale provides a highly nuanced and multilevel enactment

of globalization, not as a small, unified world, but as a world

of people and things that travel at different speeds in which connections

are missed as often as they are made.

In his understanding of the work of art as a composition of

different publics—particularly of a Chinese public encountering

the West, and a Western public encountering Chinese material

culture—Ai provides an apt introduction to contemporary art in

China, which since the mid-nineties has been an object of fascination

and financial speculation in the West. The art historian Wu

Hung has argued that exhibitions are central to an understanding

of contemporary Chinese art through their capacity to open small,

temporary, but often virulent public spheres where an intellectual

and artistic vanguard can incrementally broaden the scope of artistic

freedom as well as political speech in China. The first watershed

exhibition after the end of Mao Tse-Tung’s Cultural Revolution in

1976—a decade during which open intellectual and cultural life

was severely suppressed and artistic production was narrowly

channeled into official Socialist Realist representations in service to

the state—was organized by a group called the “Stars” in 1979. This

rooms, smiley flowers, toddlers called “Kaikai” and “Kiki” (his corporation

is titled in their honor), and, above all, “Mr DOB.”

Named after a manga character, DOB closely resembles a Mickey

Mouse whose head (that is all he is) spells out his name (D and B

appear on his ears, and his face is an O). Toothy and sinister in his

first incarnation, DOB was quickly refashioned as infantile and

cute; as it happens, Mickey evolved in similar fashion, and the

branding of DOB does seem based on that of the Disney star.

Although Japan does not hold to the separation between high

and low culture that once marked the modern West, Murakami

still spans socioeconomic registers in a way that might be unprecedented.

His bright mutants like DOB appear both in the costliest

paintings and sculptures and in the cheapest merchandise (stickers,

buttons, key chains, dolls, etc.); they can be found in major

museums as well as in convenience stores. The graffiti artist Keith

Haring had some of this market range in the eighties; his signature

figures of “the radiant baby” and “the barking dog” also extended

from T-shirts to art work. Yet his “Pop Shop” was small beer compared

to the Murakami corporation, which offers such services as

advertising, packaging, animation, exhibition development, and

website production. At one point, the multitasking Murakami also


Dada Fair | 1980

was the same year that China’s leader Deng Xiaoping initiated the

market reforms that were to set off China’s massive economic

growth in the ensuing decades. The members of the Stars (which

included Ai Weiwei) worked in diverse styles, but what historians

identify as their most significant accomplishment as a group was

their invention of the “unofficial exhibition” in China, typically

presented alongside official presentations as a kind of “parasite.”

The “Stars” show in 1979, for instance, was installed outside the

east gate of the National Art Gallery in Beijing during the National

Art Exhibition for the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the

People’s Republic of China; it was closed down by the police,

leading to a demonstration convened at Beijing’s famous Democracy

Wall, and it ultimately garnered a front-page story in the

New York Times, as well as the consternation of the highest ranks

of the Chinese government.

Ten years later, in 1989, just months before the Democracy

Movement (known in China as the June Fourth Movement) was

brutally suppressed by the army in Tiananmen Square, another

important exhibition “China/Avant-Garde” was closed down twice

during its two-week run. This exhibition surveyed a lively range of

artists’ groups and experimental activities that occurred between

1985 and 1989 as part of what was called the New Wave, and it

encompassed experiments in several media, including performance

and installation. This efflorescence of art activity arose partly in

response to new flows of information about modern art and crit -

ical theory from abroad during the eighties, and partly due to a

domestic infrastructure of unofficial art journals, including the

Beijing-based weekly Fine Arts in China and the Wuhan quarterly

The Trend of Art Thought, which tied together diverse practices

5 Wang Guangyi, Great Criticism: Marlboro, 1992

Oil on canvas, 175 x 175 (68 7 ⁄ 8 x 68 7 ⁄ 8)

Chinese contemporary art | 2010a

2000 –2010

736

2000 –2010

761

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