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|Description:||xii, 361 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm|
|Contents:||Introduction: The Art-Historical Postmortem --
Young Professor Barr (1927) --
Prehistoric Modern (1937) --
Mid-Century Contemporary (1948) --
Afterword: Not Now (1994/2005).
Meyer analyzes an undergraduate course taught by Alfred Barr at Wellesley College in 1927 as a key moment in the introduction of works by living artists into the discipline of art history, then turns to a series of exhibitions from the 1930s that put contemporary art in dialogue with premodern works ranging from prehistoric cave pictures to Italian Renaissance paintings. Meyer also treats the controversy that arose in 1948 over the decision by Boston's Institute of Modern Art to change its name to the Institute of Contemporary Art. By retrieving moments in the history of once-current art, Meyer redefines "the contemporary" as a condition of being alive to and alongside other moments, artists, and objects.
A generous selection of images, many in color -- from works of fine art to museum brochures and magazine covers -- support and extend Meyer's narrative. These works were contemporary to their own moment. Now, in Meyer's account, they become contemporary to ours as well."
Hard-hitting critical concerns blend into the narrative, the minutia of historical debates providing an opportunity to broaden our own art-historical moment and consider its possibilities. Publishers
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