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Art in Theory, 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas
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Art in Theory, 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  6,619 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Since it was first published in 1992, this book has become one of the leading anthologies of art theoretical texts in the English-speaking world. This expanded edition includes the best recent reflections, taking the anthology up to the turn of the 21st century.
Paperback, 1288 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Wiley-Blackwell (first published 2002)
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Goes without saying... as this is the standard reference (at least back in my day). It's different than other reference books (I guess some wouldn't even call it that) in that it has parts or wholes of the original sources with a short abstract prefacing each. Also, the selections are grouped not only by periods but by ideas within periods such as "Objecthood and Redctivism" (within Modernism) or "The Critique of Originality" (within Postmodernism). Enough heady material for years of excavation ...more
Harlan Vaughn
It hit me, but felt like a kiss.
Mafe Pazos
MIND-BLOWING. Harrison's compilation catalogues the progression of discourse on the nature of form versus content, the formation of the historical perspective and the nuances present in the development of ideas through the art discussion and its significance to the understanding of existence and the search for meaning.

Beginning with the idolization of Cezanne and the rise of Expressionism, the conversation traverses down the path of Futurists, Social Realists, Neoclassicists and even Dadaists,
As a visual art major in grad school and teacher, this book is a necessity when writing papers for art history, criticism and critiques because it offers insights from some of the best artists and critics of the age. A lot of the articles require extra research to comprehend, however, after reading and researching most of this (very thick) book, I have learned a great deal about theories and ideas I never knew existed in Art. This will stay on my book shelf for the rest of forever.
a meaty read. LOTS of artist statements and writings on their own work. This is a collection of manifestos, reviews and essays that's unmatched by anything else i've seen. thorough and engrossing
Jul 22, 2010 Eleanor rated it 1 of 5 stars
unbelievably hard to read (i came accross the word altermondialisation - stupid bourriard and his stupid made-up words) but unfortunately this book is invaluable to any artist/art-student.
David Williamson
Possible the most important book I own, if you're into art, this is your Bible and shame on you if you do not own it.
Tshepang Tshepo
Jul 21, 2015 Tshepang Tshepo marked it as to-read
same day I was going with my friends to the the way we were talking about how are we gonna run our own business so we took a big cardbord so that we can come with our own plan.and that plan took 5day using our own it was painfull for us bet look were I'm I I'm standing hare like a small boy without knowing much more thing so now I'm having my own business I implore many people to work for m .we must not be like ZUMA let just improve our South Africa if u or I be a precedent in S. ...more
Meegan Mjåtvedt
and by read, I mean I use it as a book press
This is an essential reference book with a broad scope that includes contextual writing, not necessarily about art directly, that addresses the broader zeitgeists of the century in philosophy, sociology etc. Loads of primary writing from artists themselves too. Absolutely excellent editing, with overview essays that tie together the material selected for each period.
Shaun Johnson
Reading this entire book felt like an achievement. Near the end it was harder to read because mid-way I decided that art critics are boring. And they are. They just ramble on and on and on and on. The real jewel of this book is the text by artists themselves, their symposiums, and their interviews. As an artist myself I felt a profound kinship with this text. This book also introduced to me artists I knew little (or nothing) about, their movements, their politics, and their theories. It is not o ...more
Ebm Dj
Absolutely amazing book. IF you enjoy art, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up. Its great from page one till the end.
A grad school must for any MFA. Depressingly difficult to read. Depressingly difficult to digest. Most informative in the end.
Nov 09, 2015 Julia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: art
Очень полезная книга, позволяющая непосредственно познакомиться с мыслями, программами, лозунгами, письмами - документами, написанными мастерами каждого конкретного направления. Я, конечно, весь этот труд осилить не смогла, только треть. Но книга на это и не рассчитана: с ней надо работать, когда хочешь понять суть эпохи, стиля. Ознакомился с вступительной статьей к разделу, прочитал двадцать страниц писем/заметок и прочего - сразу все становится проще, ближе и понятнее. Обязательно буду возвращ ...more
Amer Moustafa
A classic that i read before. Yet, would like to read agaian!
Cate Brooks
This is an incredible resource for anyone wanting to contextualize modern-contemporary art and who doesn't know where to start. The excerpts in it are the most valuable primary reources you will find in one place ranging from artists' statements, on all the wild movements during this exciting century, to contemporary criticism like that of Greenberg and Fry. The text is thick and painful at times but so rewarding. It offers the most pure perspective and explanation of these ideas from those who ...more
Hadley Norman
Good reference to have. It is my begining strep whenever doing research.
Mary Emily O'Hara

Art in Theory is not a book you "currently read" or finish, really. It's a constantly accessible resource that allows a peek into any given intellectual era within the bounds of its temporal bracketing. I'm always checking it for references, then re-checking it for ideas, then combing it for inspiration. MUST HAVE ON DESK AT ALL TIMES. Thank you.
Dec 31, 2011 Lynne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: art
Not the type of book I could read cover to cover, yet full of pivotal moments in art from 1900-2000. I find myself dipping in and out whenever a new interest or area of art captures my attention. It was purchased as a mandatory text for the theory component of my art degree, but remains a staple on my bookshelf.
May 28, 2007 elmira rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: prospective art historians to analyze contemporary art, otherwise not worth the trouble
there are more than a couple of must read essays in Art In Theory, amazing writings by artists and art critics that are necessary to be discussed among artists and art historians mostly for one good reason, that these readings will confuse the artists in their art practice.
May 09, 2007 rosemary rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: art students
Shelves: art-history-crit
a fairly good compendium of excerpts from primary documents (and the entire text of some shorter pieces). it's a mostly useful go-to guide, but is probably more helpful as a skipping stone, an index to direct you towards the original sources.
Oh Art Theory... how I love thee but hate thee all at the same time. This book is a great resource and a must for any art historian. Filled with lots of great articles -- some great, some B.S., but still a good resource.
I haven't read this entire book, but I've read a number of the essays in it. It is full of a lot of very interesting art concepts and lots of interesting points of view. It really stretches the artist's mind!
In this comprehensive and tireless text Harrison covers an immense spectrum of artistic ideals and approaches, excellently presented for an enthusiast or art (history) student.
May 14, 2015 Stephanie marked it as abandoned-books
I should probably re-read this I one. Read it when I was 19 and had other things on my mind. From what I remember, though, it's incredibly thorough and really thought provoking.
This book is packed with the most influential essays, ideas interviews and accounts of the past 100 years in art, if you are a fan of modern art this is a must buy.
I find it helpful to have many of these essays and articles located in one place. I particularly liked some of the writings by Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt.
Amazing! Lots of different insights about the theories behind the progression of art in the twentieth century. It is a difficult read at times, but wonderful.
I wish there was more summary about the different modernist movements, but a necessary anthology of short essays for the art enthusiast...
An essential to anyone interested in critical theory and art. Always helpful and always something new to learn.
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Artipathy: Beginning at the End, Sort Of 1 1 Nov 03, 2014 08:56AM  
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Charles Townsend Harrison, BA Hons (Cantab), MA (Cantab), PhD (London) was a prominent UK art historian who taught Art History for many years and was Emeritus Professor of History and Theory of Art at the Open University.

He was tutor in Art History, Open University, 1977-2005, Reader in Art History 1985-1994, Professor of the History & Theory of Art, 1994-2008, Professor Emeritus, 2008-2009; V
More about Charles Harrison...

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