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Modern and contemporary art can be both baffling and beautiful; it can also be innovative, political, and disturbing. This book sets out to provide the first concise interpretation of the period as a whole, clarifying the artists and their works along the way. Closely informed by new critical approaches, it concentrates on the relationship between American and European art from the end of the Second World War to the eve of the new millennium.
Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, and Damien Hirst are among many artists discussed, with careful attention being given to the political and cultural worlds they inhabited. Moving along a clear timeline, the author highlights key movements such as Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptualism, Postmodernism, and performance art to explain the theoretical and issue-based debates that have provided the engine for the art of this period.