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Artists' Film (World of Art)

David Curtis, Steve McQueen


An introductory guide to a prominent and expanding field of study: artists’ unique contribution to the art of the moving image in the 20th and early 21st centuries


Artists' Film is the first alternative history of the moving image, chronicling artists’ ever-evolving fascination with filmmaking from the early twentieth century to now.

From early pioneers to key artists of the present, leading authority and film expert David Curtis offers a vivid account of the numerous individuals who have been inspired by the cinematic medium and felt compelled to interpret and respond to it in their own way. In doing so, he discusses artists’ widely differing achievements, aspirations, theories and approaches.

Featuring over 400 international moving-image makers and drawing on examples from across the arts, including experimental film, video, installation and multimedia, this generously illustrated account offers an incomparable introduction to this increasingly popular and continually evolving art-form.

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'David is the only person I know who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of – and a passion for – film in all its possibilities'
Steve McQueen

'An authoritative guide'
The Art Newspaper

'A stand-out in terms of understanding the conceptual threads of new cinema with visual art aesthetics and content throughout the century, and an excellent reference'
RoseLee Goldberg

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 21.0 x 15.0 cm

Extent: 340 pp

Illustrations: 153

Publication date: 16 September 2021

ISBN: 9780500204733

Contents List

1. The Attraction of Film
2. ‘The Music of Light’
3. ‘To Discover and To Reveal’ – The Artist’s Documentary
4. The Pleasures of Editing
5. The Conceptual Film and other phenomena
6. The Anti-Film & the Formal Film
7. The Everyday
8. The Individual Voice
9. Sustenance

About the Author

David Curtis is a leading authority on artists’ film. His books include London’s Arts Labs and the ‘60s Avant-Garde (2020) and A History of Artists’ Film and Video in Britain (2006). He was responsible for artists’ film at the Arts Council of Great Britain from 1977 to 2000, and curated ‘A Century of Artists’ Film in Britain’ at Tate Britain, London, in 2003–4.