Just as Picasso’s Guernica or Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa survive as powerful cultural documents of their time, certain artworks from our own era will endure for generations to come.
Kelly Grovier curates a compelling list of one hundred paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, performances, and video pieces that have made the greatest impact from 1989 to the present. The global cast of artists includes Marina Abramovic, Matthew Barney, Christian Boltanski, Louise Bourgeois, Maurizio Cattelan, Marlene Dumas, Olafur Eliasson, Andreas Gursky, Cristina Iglesias, On Kawara, Jeff Koons, Ernesto Neto, Gerhard Richter, Pipilotti Rist, Kara Walker, and Ai Weiwei. Many of the pieces reflect the cultural upheavals of recent times, from the collapse of the Berlin Wall to the blossoming of the Arab Spring.
A daring yet convincing analysis of which artworks best capture the zeitgeist of our time, Grovier’s list also provides a much-needed map through the landscape of contemporary art. Illustrations of key works are supplemented by comparative images by different artists, sometimes in different periods, while short texts offer a biography of each artwork, tracing its inception and impact, and offering a view not only into the imagination of the artist but into the age in which we live.
Kelly Grovier is a poet, historian, and cultural critic. He is a regular contributor on art to the Times Literary Supplement, and his writing has appeared in numerous publications, including the Observer, Sunday Times, and Wired. Educated at the University of California, Los Angeles, and at the University of Oxford, he is the author of 100 Works of Art That Will Define Our Age, Art Since 1989 and A New Way of Seeing: The History of Art in 57 Works.