Modernities: Art-matters in the Present

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Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993 - Art - 304 pages
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Joseph Masheck wants to take art, historical and modern, as a field of lively interrelations (as if in "random-access memory" retrieval), rather than just second the motion that art history should be nonlinear; and he takes the task of art criticism to be theory in practice. Thus significant new art is represented in the thirty essays in Modernities, besides already "classic" modern architecture, sculpture, and photography, and contemporary painting by artists. Alternating between a comprehensive sense of art history and engagement with the new and unplumbed contemporary arts, he considers himself a kind of aesthetic double agent.

Because Masheck is concerned with the concrete standing of artworks, he speculates on how works of art, including Marcel Duchamp's "ready-mades," relate to other things. More general themes range from the origin of the modern sense of form in prehistoric art to the historical underpinnings of expressionism and on to latter-day "graffiti" culture.

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About the author (1993)

Joseph Masheck is Associate Professor of Art History at Hofstra University and author of, among other books, Smart Art (1984). From 1977 to 1980, he was the editor of Artforum .

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