Contemporary art has never been so popular - but what is 'contemporary' about contemporary art? What is its role today, and who is controlling its future? Bloody toy soldiers, gilded shopping carts, and embroidered tents. Contemporary art is supposed to be a realm of freedom where artists shock, break taboos, flout generally received ideas, and switch between confronting viewers with works of great emotional profundity and jaw-dropping triviality. But away from shock tactics in the gallery, there are many unanswered questions. Who is really running the art world? What effect has America's growing political and cultural dominance had on art? Julian Stallabrass takes us inside the international art world to answer these and other controversial questions, and to argue that behind contemporary art's variety and apparent unpredictability lies a grim uniformity. Its mysteries are all too easily explained, its depths much shallower than they seem. Contemporary art seeks to bamboozle its viewers while being the willing slave of business and government. This book is your antidote and will change the way you see contemporary art.
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Julian Stallabrass is Reader in Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Previously he was Paul Mellon Center Fellow at the Tate Gallery, assistant editor of the New Left Review, and tutor in Contemporary Art at the Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing, University of Oxford. Publications include Paris Pictured (Royal Academy of Arts, 2002), the highly controversial High Art Lite (Verso, 1999), and Internet Art: The Online Clash of Culture and Commerce (Tate Gallery Publishing, 2003). He also writes for the Evening Standard, the New Statesman, and Prospect, and has appeared on Radio 3's Nightwaves programme.
1. A Zone of Freedom? ; 2. A New World Order ; 3. Consuming Culture ; 4. Uses and Prices of Art ; 5. The Rules of Art Now ; 6. Contradictions