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Art in the Making

Artists and their Materials from the Studio to Crowdsourcing

Glenn Adamson, Julia Bryan-Wilson


The first book to examine how the means of production underpins and defines contemporary art practice

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From painting to digital technologies to crowdsourcing, over the last few decades the means of making artworks have become more extraordinary and diverse. Yet we rarely consider the implications of how art is made.

In this wide-ranging exploration of methods and media in art since the 1950s Glenn Adamson and Julia Bryan-Wilson take the reader behind the scenes of the studio, the factory, and other sites where art is created. They show how the materials and processes used by artists are vital to considerations of authorship, and to understanding the economic and social contexts from which art emerges.

Art in the Making focuses on the intersection of thinking and making through chapters focusing on a particular process: painting, woodworking, building, performing, tooling up, cashing in, fabricating, digitizing and crowdsourcing. Discussions of broader themes are woven together with detailed examples and visuals, revealing the logic involved in the choice of techniques and materials.

Artists featured include Alice Aycock, Judy Chicago, Isa Genzken, Los Carpinteros, Paul Pfeiffer, Doris Salcedo, Santiago Sierra and Rachel Whiteread.

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'After reading this book I won’t ever look at an artwork in the same way again'

'Full of very good surprises, unusual suspects and unexpected perspectives … illuminating and thought-provoking'

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 23.1 x 17.2 cm

Extent: 248 pp

Publication date: 2 May 2016

ISBN: 9780500239339

Contents List

Introduction • 1. Painting • 2. Woodworking • 3. Building Out • 4. Tooling Up 5. Cashing In • 6. Digitization • 7. Fabrication • 8. Performing • 9. Outsourcing

About the Author

Glenn Adamson is Director of the Museum of Arts and Design, New York. He was formerly head of research at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and tutor at the Royal College of Art, London. He is co-editor of the Journal of Modern Craft and author of The Craft Reader and The Invention of Craft.

Julia Bryan-Wilson is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era and editor of Robert Morris (OCTOBER Files).