Art to Come

Histories of Contemporary Art

Book Pages: 456 Illustrations: 84 illustrations Published: September 2019

Author: Terry Smith

Art and Visual Culture > Art Criticism and Theory, Art History, Cultural Studies

In Art to Come Terry Smith—who is widely recognized as one of the world's leading historians and theorists of contemporary art—traces the emergence of contemporary art and further develops his concept of contemporaneity. Smith shows that embracing contemporaneity as both a historical concept and a condition of the globalized world allows us to grasp how contemporary art exists in a fluid space of increasing interdependencies, multiple contemporaneous modernities, and persistent inequalities. Throughout these essays, Smith offers systematic proposals for writing contemporary art's histories while assessing how curators, critics, philosophers, artists, and art historians are currently doing so. Among other topics, Smith examines the intersection of architecture with other visual arts, Chinese art since the Cultural Revolution, how philosophers are theorizing concepts associated with the contemporary, Australian Indigenous art, and the current state of art history. Art to Come will be essential reading for artists, art students, curators, gallery workers, historians, critics, and theorists.


"Smith, who sees linearity as an ‘old-fashioned’ way of thinking about time, kicks up the silt of art history to present us with a historiography of contemporaneity. . . . To that end, he takes us through ‘contemporary’ buzzwords and ways of thinking about issues like globalisation, the Anthropocene, decolonisation, indigenisation, revived fundamentalisms and ecoactivism, to ask how we might harmonise our differences in a way that ‘ensures our mutual survival’ on this planet." — Fi Churchman, Art Review

"In bringing this collection of essays together, Smith gives readers the opportunity to chart his progress as he repeatedly surveys the contemporary terrain. These field reports from a highly engaged observer provide compelling reading for anyone concerned with art practices of the past three decades." — Martha Buskirk, Critical Inquiry

“Global in scale, yet granular in their attention to specifics, these essays map the defining conditions of art and architecture today, laying out the forthright line of inquiry that has made Terry Smith an indispensable guide to understanding the vexing contradictions of twenty-first-century artworlds and their possible futures.” — Kobena Mercer, author of Travel & See: Black Diaspora Art Practices since the 1980s

Art to Come offers a splendid synthesis of Terry Smith’s reflection on contemporaneity. Smith is one of the main thinkers of that notion, without which there is no real understanding of contemporary art. The book shows the richness of contemporaneity as an ongoing hypothesis that keeps art alive, disclosing the main forces shaping twentieth- and twenty-first-century art as well as those probed, questioned, and sometimes reinvented in it. Those forces include not only globalization, neoliberalism, climate change, transculturality, indigeneity, and colonialism but also decolonization, inequality, and coeval connectivity.” — Christine Ross, McGill University


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Price: $30.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Terry Smith is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Pittsburgh and Professor in the Division of Philosophy, Art, and Critical Thought at the European Graduate School. He is the author of several books, including One and Five Ideas: On Conceptual Art and Conceptualism, also published by Duke University Press, and What Is Contemporary Art?

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Illustrations  ix
Acknowledgments  xiii
Introduction: Anticipation and Historicity  1
Part I. Thinking Contemporary Art
1. Contemporary Art, Contemporaneity, and Art to Come  27
2. In a Nutshell: Art within Contemporary Conditions  54
3. Contemporary Architecture: Spectacle, Crisis, Aftermath  64
4. Concurrence: Art, Design, Architecture  101
5. Background Story, Global Foreground: Chinese Contemporary Art  126
6. Country, Indigeneity, Sovereignty: Aboriginal Australian Art  156
7. Placemaking, Displacement, Worlds-within-Worlds  198
8. Picturing Planetarity: Arts of Multiverse  228
Part II. Art Historiography: Conjectures and Refutations
9. The State of Art History: Contemporary Art  245
10. Theorizing the Contemporary and the Postcontemporary  279
11. Writing Histories of Contemporary Art: The Situation Now  311
Conclusion: Concurrence in Contemporary World Picturing  353
Notes  365
Index  417
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0305-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0194-2