Documents of Contemporary Art: Craft


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Documents of Contemporary Art: Craft


Edited by Tanya Harrod

Part of the acclaimed Documents of Contemporary Art series of anthologies which collect writing on major themes and ideas in contemporary art.

"Tanya Harrod is our leading scholarly voice on craft. [This] invaluable an ideal introduction to the intellectual landscape of craft, and an essential tool for those already invested in the topic." 

-Glenn Adamson, Senior Scholar at
the Yale Center for British Art

Craft is a contested concept in art history and a vital category through which to understand contemporary art. Through ‘craft’, materials, techniques and tools are investigated and their histories explored in order to reflect on the politics of labour and on the extraordinary complexity of the made world around us. This anthology offers an ethnography of craft, surveying its shape-shifting identities in the context of progressive art and design through writings by artists and makers, and drawing on poetry, fiction, anthropology and sociology. Reflections on new technologies and materials, lost and found worlds of handwork and the politics of work all throw light on ‘craft’ as process, product and ideology.

Artists surveyed include Anni Albers, El Anatsui, Aaron Angell, Ruth Asawa, Phyllida Barlow, Louise Bourgeois, Annie Cattrell, Edmund de Waal, Harun Farocki, Lucio Fontana, Theaster Gates, Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers, Sabrina Gschwandtner, Sheila Hicks, Ana Lupas, Lu Shengzhong, Enzo Mari, Martin Puryear, Jessi Reaves, Bridget Riley, Ettore Sottsass, Studio Formafantasma, Peter Voulkos.

Writers include Glenn Adamson, Elissa Auther, Reyner Banham, Jean Baudrillard, John Berger, Walter Benjamin, Julia Bryan-Wilson, Joan Key, Ulrich Lehmann, Sarat Maharaj, Karl Marx, Sadie Plant, Rainer Maria Rilke, John Roberts, Jenni Sorkin.

Tanya Harrod is an independent design historian who lives in London and who writes widely on craft, art and design. She is co-editor of The Journal of Modern Craft and is author of The Crafts in Britain in the Twentieth Century (1999), The Last Sane Man: Michael Cardew (2012) which won the 2013 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography, and The Real Thing: Essays on Making in the Modern World (2015).

Paperback, 240 pages, 210 x 145 mm

ISBN 978-0-85488-266-3

First published 2018

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