The History of Western Art
Janetta Rebold Benton
How does art respond to contemporary social questions? How, especially, does moving-image art address the themes that move us most?
Drawn on works from the Kramlich Collection of time-based media art, The Human Condition comments on a range of complex political issues such as civil war, psychological isolation, human rights, gender relations, nuclear catastrophe and planetary degradation. Along the way, the featured artists innovate in their hybrid use of sound, image, performance, sculpture and screen technology.
Since their first acquisition in 1987, pioneering collectors Pamela and Richard Kramlich have established one of the foremost international collections of media, video, film, slide, photography and performance art. In the first of four volumes devoted to the collection, The Human Condition presents signature works by internationally recognized artists such as Marina Abramovic, Doug Aitken, Dara Birnbaum, James Coleman, Pierre Huyghe, William Kentridge, Christian Marclay, Steve McQueen, Richard Mosse, Bruce Nauman, Shirin Neshat and Nam June Paik. The Human Condition also features newly commissioned essays from leading curators and scholars specializing in time-based media art, including Erika Balsom, Bill Brown, Adrienne Edwards, Chrissie Iles, Isaac Julien, Barbara London, Mark Nash, Catherine Wood and others.
This book engages both newcomers and experts in the field with captivating imagery and rigorous reflection on some of the most influential contemporary art practices of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Janetta Rebold Benton is the Distinguished Professor of Art History at Pace University, New York, and the author of several books and articles on art including How to Understand Art in the Art Essentials series (Thames & Hudson, 2021). She is the recipient of two Fulbright Scholar Awards as Visiting Professor (China 2018; Russia 2012), and lectures at the Smithsonian Institution, 92nd Street Y, and previously at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.