1st Edition

Contemporary British Art An Introduction

By Grant Pooke Copyright 2011
    304 Pages
    by Routledge

    302 Pages
    by Routledge

    The last few decades have been among the most dynamic within recent British cultural history. Artists across all genres and media have developed and re-fashioned their practice against a radically changing social and cultural landscape – both national and global.

    This book takes a fresh look at some of the themes, ideas and directions which have informed British art since the later 1980s through to the first decade of the new millennium. In addition to discussing some iconic images and examples, it also looks more broadly at the contexts in which a new ‘post-conceptual’ generation of artists, those typically born since the late 1950s and 1960s have approached and developed aspects of their professional practice.  

    Contemporary British Art is an ideal introduction to the field. To guide the reader, the book is organised around genres or related practices – painting; sculpture and installation; and film, video and performance. The first chapter explores aspects of the contemporary art market and some of the contexts within which art is made, supported and exhibited. The chapters that discuss various genres of art practice also mention books that may be useful to support further reading.

    Extensively illustrated with a wide range of work (both known, and less well-known) from artists such as Chris Ofili, Rachel Whiteread, Damien Hirst, Banksy, Anthony Gormley, Jack Vettriano, Sam Taylor-Wood, Steve McQueen and Tracey Emin, and many more.






    Cool Britannia, Contemporary Art and the Altermodern

    Chapter One: Perspectives on the Contemporary Art Market and its Institutions


    The Contemporary Art Market

    Contemporary Art, Celebrity & Private Collecting

    Perspectives on Contemporary Art Patronage

    The Arts Council’s Per Cent for Art Scheme

    Contexts for Public Art & Other Commissioning Organisations

    British Art Awards and Prizes

    The Creative Economy and Cultural Regeneration

    Contemporary Art Fairs and Biennales

    Chapter Two: Post-Conceptual British Painting


    Painting: Histories, Ideas and Contexts

    British Painting: Cultural Politics, Dissent and other Narratives

    Place, Entropy and the Imaginary in Contemporary Painting

    Remodernism, Stuckism and Film Noir Nostalgia

    Gestural and Geometric British Painting: Modernisms Revisited

    Chapter Three: Installation Art and Sculpture as Institutional Paradigms


    Installations and Installation Art

    Site-specific and Non Site-Specific Installations

    Installation, Objecthood and Active Spectatorship

    Phenomenology and Installation Art

    Installation Art, Praxis and Relational Aesthetics

    Installation Practice as a Dream-Like Encounter

    Paradigms of Installation Art as Immersive Experience and Subjective Disintegration

    Installations, Bodily Response and Experience

    Installation, Politics and Activated Spectatorship

    ‘Sculpture in the Expanded Field’ - Traditions and Revisions

    Sculpture as Commodity and Appropriation

    Sculpture, Ambivalence and the Abject

    Chapter Four: New Media in Transition: Photography, Video & the Performative


    Photography: Contexts & Histories

    Narratives and Countercultures: Video and Performance Art

    Performance, Abjection and Other Narratives

    Documentary Genres: Docu-fiction and Social Reportage

    Technical Interventions, De-familiarisation and Spectacle

    Portraiture, Still Life and New Media Art: Objectification and Reversals

    Post-Conceptual British Art: New Directions Home




    Grant Pooke is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts, University of Kent. He is the author of Francis Klingender 1907-1955: A Marxist Art Historian Out of Time (2008) and co-author of Art History: The Basics (2008).

    'A lucid and vibrant introduction to a pivotal three decades in British artistic and cultural history. This incisive and wide-ranging book provides a perceptive and illuminating framework for understanding the complexities of a rich and creative period within contemporary art.' Dr Diana Newall, Research Fellow, The Open University

    'Contemporary British Art is no mere survey but an informed, thought-provoking and skilfully crafted introduction to the last twenty or so years of creative endeavour. Clearly and accessibly written, it opens up an increasingly expanding and complex field of cultural production by expertly weaving insightful ideas and comment with a diverse range of examples, some of which are refreshingly unfamiliar.' Dr Graham Whitham, Art Historian

    'The art market is the subject of the first chapter, getting the book off to a strong start and connecting it to the recent trend in surveys of British art to contextualize and critique works of art primarily within an institutional framework. Pooke's chapter on installation art, the third in the book, also foregrounds institutions but provides, in addition, detailed descriptions of installation works and theories about the practice--especially those of Claire Bishop--that will rivet readers. Summing Up: Recommended.' CHOICE'Grant Pooke’s Contemporary British Art is one of the first (if not the first) survey books to be written on the art produced in Britain between 1987 and 2007, and a thorough account of recent artists, art practices and thematic tendencies is provided. Works of art are carefully described and discussed in a clear, jargon-free style, making this book accessible to a wide audience; it will undoubtedly become a mainstay of school and undergraduate reading lists.' Art History