This Is Modern Art

Front Cover
Seven Dials, 1999 - Art - 271 pages
7 Reviews
Modern art today is a cow cut in half with a chainsaw, floating in a glass tank. A house cast in concrete. The London Underground map with all the station names changes - the Circle Line stations are comedians, the Northern Line stations are philosophers. A tent embroidered with the names of everyone the artist who set up the tent has ever slept with. But what does it all mean? What is Modern Art? Why do we like/hate it? Can anybody do it? Is it always modern? Who started it? In this refreshing and extremely accessible book Matthew Collings tells the story of modern art and our modern attitude to it. It combines hard information on major artists and movements - what really happened - with ordinary reflections: modern art is intimidating and unfathomable to many but Matthew Collings cuts through this barrier by asking all the kinds of questions many of us will have asked and been puzzled by. He will compare Goya to Duchamp and Picasso, Rothko to Yves Klein; he will look at the role of African tribal art in the rise of Modernism and Punk Rock in the rise of Post-Modernism. This will become a classic book of its kind, quirky, culty and great fun.

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Review: This Is Modern Art

User Review  - Joanna - Goodreads

Matthew Collings has been rightly criticized for being simplistic and sometimes dismissive when writing about art movements and artists, but this book is a fun read. I think that his quick, funny style makes the contemporary art themes he writes about easier to understand. Read full review

Review: This Is Modern Art

User Review  - Kurt - Goodreads

Interesting quick, opinionated survey of a handful of themes in 20th century and contemporary art. Worth my time. Read full review

References to this book

About the author (1999)

Matthew Collings is an artist, art historian and cultural critic. He used to present The Late Show and presents on Channel 4 London's most important art prize, the Turner Prize. His first book, Blimey! on the London Artworld from Bacon to Hirst was extremely well received and the first book to be published by 21, the publishing company set up by David Bowie and Modern Painters.

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