The fifth edition reflects the latest developments in a wide-ranging introduction and nine new chapters that deal with the radical transformations that have taken place in contemporary art. Among the topics covered are the increasing dominance of photography, film, and video, and the emergence of a new post-Post-Expressionist group of “Abject” artists whose work stresses feelings of alienation in Western industrial societies, often through the reintroduction of narrative. The emergence of an opposing trend of idealizing classicism, particularly in Italy and Russia, is discussed, and there is increased coverage of the burgeoning practice of art “on the periphery” in Third World countries, where artists have absorbed Western modernism and then created new terms of reference for artistic expression adapted to their own cultures. Numerous additional reproductions illustrate all the recent developments in this completely redesigned edition, and there are a full bibliography and comprehensive chronologies of key events. No other account of the art of the last fifty-five years provides as much up-to-date information about art issues, developments, and players.
Edward Lucie-Smith is the author of several books, among them Sexuality in Western Art, Symbolist Art, Latin American Art of the Twentieth Century, and The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Art Terms, all published in the World of Art series.