How to Speak Artspeak (Like a Pro) (Without the jargon) (Or the sadistic obfuscations)
International Art English, the scourge of artist’s statements, press releases, and catalogues, is a language so riddled with semiotic buzzwords that any potential meaning is obscured.
ArtSpeak, the book, is not like that. It’s where you go to find out, quickly and clearly, what Semiotics means.
As its subtitle says, ArtSpeak (Abbeville Press), by Robert Atkins, is a “Guide to Contemporary Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords, 1945 to the Present.”
The book, just out in its third edition, offers handy short takes on terms like commodification and formalism, along with Neo Dada, Neo-Expressionism, Neo-Geo, New Image, the New Leipzig school, New media, New Realism, New Wave, Nouveau Réalisme, Socialist Realism, Social Realism, Social Practice, Space Art, and Spatialism, to name some more of the 146 categories in the book.
It also explains what separates Pathetic Art from kitsch, and how Abject Expressionism differs from Abstract Expressionism.
See excerpts from the entries added to this new edition, including Cynical Realism (from China), Mission School (from San Francisco), Tropicalism (from Brazil), and 12 more at artnews.com, How many do you know?
Barry McGee, Untitled (Pimple), 2008-2012, mixed media on four panels. COURTESY THE ARTIST AND ROBERTS & TILTON, CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA