Vitamin C+: Collage in Contemporary Art

Phaidon. May 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781838665579. $69.95. FINE ARTS
Given the range of materials and techniques used, both analog and digital, how does one define collage? It is often disruptive, as art historian Yuval Etgar (Cut and Paste: Four Hundred Years of Collage; The Ends of Collage) asserts in his wide-ranging introduction to this volume, the most recent in Phaidon’s “Vitamin” series, which brings to light often-marginalized artistic media, as discussed by contemporary artists. Etgar’s introduction puts the work of 108 contemporary artists into historical context alongside the collage works of modernist masters like Jean Arp, Pablo Picasso, and Kurt Schwitters. The book’s 69-member nominating committee for inclusion consists of critics, collectors, and curators from around the globe, profiling the work of an equally diverse and international group of artists. Each is profiled with a short descriptive essay on the artist’s themes and influences as well as an illustrated sample of representative recent works. The art may be created with paper and paint, or found objects and video, bearing out Etgar’s premise that collage today can be considered an art that is post-medium. It draws upon both age-old traditions and forges new territories in contemporary art.
VERDICT This global review of collage in today’s art world will serve both as a launching pad for exploration and as inspiration for creatives.
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