As public interest in modern art continues to grow, as witnessed by the spectacular success of Tate Modern and the Bilbao Guggenheim, there is a real need for a book that will engage general readers, offering them not only information and ideas about modern art, but also explaining its contemporary relevance and history. This book achieves all this and focuses on interrogating the idea of 'modern' art by asking such questions as: What has made a work of art
qualify as modern (or fail to)? How has this selection been made? What is the relationship between modern and contemporary art? Is 'postmodernist' art no longer modern, or just no longer modernist - in either case, why, and what does this claim mean, both for art and the idea of 'the modern'?
Cottington examines many key aspects of this subject, including the issue of controversy in modern art, from Manet's Dejeuner sur L'Herbe (1863) to Picasso's Les Demoiselles, and Tracey Emin's Bed, (1999); and the role of the dealer from the main Cubist art dealer Kahnweiler to Charles Saatchi.
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