Today, artists are able to create using multiple methods of production—from painting to digital technologies to crowdsourcing—some of which would have been unheard of just a few decades ago. Yet, even as our means of making art become more extraordinary and diverse, they are almost never addressed in their specificity. While critics and viewers tend to focus on the finished products we see in museums and galleries, authors Glenn Adamson and Julia Bryan-Wilson argue that the materials and processes behind the scenes used to make artworks are also vital to current considerations of authorship and to understanding the economic and social contexts from which art emerges.
This wide-ranging exploration of different methods and media in art since the 1950s includes nine chapters that focus on individual processes of making: Painting, Woodworking, Building, Performing, Tooling Up, Cashing In, Fabricating, Digitizing, and Crowdsourcing. Detailed examples are interwoven with the discussion, including visuals that reveal the intricacies of techniques and materials. Artists featured include Ai Weiwei, Alice Aycock, Isa Genzken, Los Carpinteros, Paul Pfeiffer, Doris Salcedo, Santiago Sierra, and Rachel Whiteread.
Glenn Adamson is the Nanette L Laitman Director, Museum of Arts and Design, New York, and is the author of The Craft Reader, Thinking Through Craft, and The Invention of Craft.
Julia Bryan-Wilson is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era and her writing has appeared in Art Bulletin, Art Journal, Artforum, Oxford Art Journal, and other venues.