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The Body in Contemporary Art (World of Art)

Sally O'Reilly

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'O’Reilly’s wide-ranging knowledge of contemporary practices and her particular predilection for feminist and performance art make her an ideal guide … engaging writing and insightful observations … will keep any reader on their toes and will surely be eagerly gobbled up by those new to the subject' The Art Book


In recent decades, the body has moved from being the subject of traditional portraiture to become an active presence in live and participatory events. Art historical, socio-political and cultural developments, from radical feminism in the 1970s to contemporary scientific breakthroughs, have all had a profound influence on artists’ attitudes to, and representations of, the human form.

The Body in Contemporary Art presents an international survey of art made since the early 1990s that has the body as its focus. It examines such areas as nature and technology, the grotesque, identity politics and the place of the individual in society.

From painting and sculpture to installation, video art and performance, The Body in Contemporary Art reveals the myriad ways in which the body has inspired a generation of artists. Featuring the work of both renowned and up-and-coming figures, including Francis Alÿs, Marlene Dumas, Matthew Barney, Oleg Kulik, Rineke Dijkstra and Ernesto Neto, this book shows how the body continues to be pivotal to our understanding and expression of our place in the universe.

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'O’Reilly’s plain language and the simple structure of the book make it authoritative'
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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 21.0 x 15.0 cm

Extent: 224 pp

Illustrations: 251

Publication date: 28 September 2009

ISBN: 9780500204009

Contents List

1. Representation and Presence • 2. The Body in Time and Space • 3. Difference and Solidarity • 4. Nature, Myth, Technology • 5. Grotesque: Monsters, deviation, abjection, disappearance, death • 6. Over to You/Into the World 4000 • 7. Revised and Remade

About the Author

Sally O’Reilly is a writer who contributes regularly to various art magazines including Art Monthly, Frieze, Art Review and Time Out. She has written numerous catalogue essays for international museums and galleries. She has curated and produced a number of performance events, both independently and as one of the founders of Brown Mountain College of the Performing Arts.