Art at the Turn of the Millennium
is a mega-exhibition--a Documenta or Venice Biennale in book form. There are 137 artists on view here in 1,200 illustrations, a nearly dizzying array of work chosen by a team of seven experts on contemporary art. Each artist gets four pages within which readers will find high-quality color illustrations, a concise commentary about the art maker, and a one- or two-sentence artist's statement. An amusing and helpful glossary, full of tricky terms from the contemporary art world like "body art," "gender surfing," and "structuralism," is thoughtfully placed at the end of the book. Arranged alphabetically, the book functions as an artifact of this particular moment in time--the very late 20th century. In its scope it identifies the transcontinental nature of the art world today. And by selecting artists who are still hard at work, Art at the Turn of the Millennium
hopes to indicate some of the discipline's future directions.
Since the book functions like a dictionary of contemporary art, it is impossible to give a representative list of the artists in it. However, a ruffle of the pages turns up Tony Oursler, an L.A. artist whose video installations feature passionately articulate faces projected onto various head-shaped objects. Italian artist Pipilotti Rist makes hilarious and charming video work that is something like metamusic video. Two German photographers are included, Andreas Gursky, eminently capable of capturing the bigness of the world today, and Thomas Demand, who subjects photography to a rigorous reality check by constructing alarmingly realistic miniature sets, often architectural, which he then photographs. This is a smart and fun book that will endure on the shelves and in the hands of art enthusiasts for years to come. --Loren E. Baldwin
At the turn of the millennium, art is beginning to reflect the diversity of humanity's dreams and realities at a most dynamic time in human history. This volume is a virtual gallery, a trawl through the art world, with an A-Z of the biggest names, the rising stars and the new kids on the block.