What is it with Anish Kapoor and Red?

Learn why the colour signifies home, earth and motherhood for this remarkable sculptor. While some colours may trigger a wide variety of responses in viewers, red – the colour of human injury – is perhaps the one pigment that almost all of us respond to in the same way. And nowhere is that response more […]

What Was Suprematism? A Brief History of the Russian Idealists Who Created Abstraction as We Know It

At an exhibition entitled “0.10” (“Zero Ten”) in St Petersburg in 1915, Black Square (completed in 1913), the first Suprematist work by Kazimir Malevich (1878–1935), hung in the corner of the room, the traditional setting for an icon in an Orthodox Russian home. The artwork was a square canvas painted black. Malevich claimed in 1927 […]

Curator Hans Ulrich Obrist on What Makes Painting an “Urgent” Medium Today

Painting has always served as a kind of laboratory for innovative ways of looking at the world, from the perspectival experiments of Alberti all the way to Impressionism, Cubism, Surrealism, abstraction,Minimalism, et cetera. Painters often saw themselves as an advance guard, pushing a kind of investigation forward in new terrain. Here, you’ve mentioned how in […]

10 Extraordinary Sculptures That Tackle Life in the 21st Century

Sculpture has gone through a plethora of transformations in the modern era, from Rodin’s emotionally charged, erotic figures in the 1880s, to Judd’s geometric, stoic forms of the 1960s, to the current anything-goes approach of contemporary sculptors. Naturally, the best (or at least best-remembered) artists use their work to respond to the pressing political and […]

More than Melting Clocks: 10 Surrealist Masterpieces You Need to Know

Among radical 20th century art movements (of which there are more than a few), Surrealism is one of the few that’s been able to establish a hold on the popular as well as avant-garde imaginary, in no small part due to the outlandish public persona of its self-proclaimed ringleader Salvador Dalí. What’s sometimes forgotten, however, […]

What Was Surrealism? Read the Real Story Behind the Enigmatic Art Movement

Despite its status as one of the most widely cited and recognizable art movements to come out of the early 20th century,Surrealism remains (perhaps appropriately) something of an enigma to contemporary art viewers. In some ways, it’s simply too strange—the paintings, sculptures, and writing that the loosely defined philosophy has produced appear to have little […]

In Search of the “Big Technique”: Alex Katz on Why Artists Should Stick to a Style in a Changing Art World

In this extensive interview excerpted from the revised and expanded edition of Phaidon’s monograph Alex Katz, the New York-based painter sits down with his longtime friend Robert Storr, the now-outgoing dean of the Yale School of Art, for a lively, winding discussion about the artist’s influences, concerns, and life history. You once said that a jerk is somebody […]

What Was Fluxus? A Brief Guide to the Irreverent, Groundbreaking Art Movement

Fluxus was a loose confederation of international artists in the 1960s working in performance, painting, sculpture, poetry, experimental music, and even correspondence art (art sent through the postal service). It was often, though not exclusively, political in tone. Fluxus works shared similarities with the “Happenings” of Allan Kaprow, particularly in the way they blurred distinctions […]

A Movement in a Moment: Land Art

Discover how a generation of artists swapped pencils for dumper trucks as they made the world their canvas. In the summer of 1967, while hitchhiking his way from St Martin’s School of Art to his home city of Bristol, the British art student Richard Long stopped in a field in Wiltshire, and walked repeatedly in […]

Architect Annabelle Selldorf on Why Mega-Galleries Are Transforming Into Mini-Museums

If you are even a casual appreciator of art in New York, the chances are that you have stepped into one of Annabelle Selldorf’s spaces, and been entranced. Perhaps the most coveted architect among the minimalistically inclined art elite, Selldorf has designed a broad spectrum of the city’s art sites, from theNeue Galerie uptown, steeped […]

The power of Piero Manzoni and his Merda d’Artista

In January 1957 the 23-year-old aristocratic Italian artist Piero Manzoni visited an exhibition of Yves Klein’s blue paintings at Galleria Apollinaire in Milan. Manzoni had been a fairly conventional painter up until this visit. Yet, Klein’s display of canvas after canvas of unfaltering blue altered the way the young Italian saw and made art. If […]

8 New Classics of 21st-Century Photography You Need to Know Now

Since its inception in the early 1800s, photography has been the site of immense change as it evolved from a scientific challenge to a world-shaking mass medium over the past 200 years. The digital revolution of the new millennium has brought on both never-before-seen capabilities and a new ubiquity of the photographed image, developments artists […]

7 Video Art Masterpieces You Need to Know Now

Video art has been with us for nearly half a century, a fertile ground for artists to experiment with new modes of aesthetic experience. As media culture expanded to nearly every corner of our society over the course of the 20th century, artists in turn refined and emboldened their approaches to the medium. The following […]

21st-Century Painting You Need to Know Now

It seems like only yesterday that we were anxiously anticipating the shift into a new millennium, with all the hopes and fears that come with the changing times. With 2016 fast approaching, now is the perfect time to look back on the highlights of the past 15 years of painting to see how far we’ve […]

9 Wacky and Wonderful Found-Object Sculptures From Across Art History

When Marcel Duchamp made his “Fountain” by elevating a men’s room fixture to a plinth in a gallery, he encouraged artists to consider the selection of non-art goods as part of the creative act. The gesture may not look as radical a century on, but it continues to inspire; today, you might walk into a […]

Wolfgang Tillmans Opens Up on His Art, His Influences, and His Personal Tragedy

The German artist Wolfgang Tillmans came of age in the 1980s, long before the existence of digital photo-sharing platforms, but he has always seen photography as an inherently social medium (and one that’s as sensitive and fragile as human relationships). In this interview with artist, writer and Index magazine publisher Peter Halley, excerpted entirely from the […]

Is Theaster Gates America’s most exciting artist?

Though he has produced pottery and paintings, sculptures, music and video works, Theaster Gates is best known, as we put it in our new monograph, for projects that “bridge the gap between art and life and encourage change by reaching beyond a traditional art audience.” He saved remnants of derelict churches, created black-tar paintings in […]

From Duchamp to Demand: 10 Masterpieces That Show the Evolution of Conceptual Art

In a 1967 Artforum article titled “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art,” the artist Sol LeWitt gave a simple definition for what would soon become one of the crucial facets of contemporary art in the 20th century and beyond. “In conceptual art,” he writes, “the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work….The idea […]

7 Influential Installation Artworks You Should Know

Bursting out of the frame and off the pedestal, installation art has proven to be one of the most vital artistic innovations of the past century. Its practitioners—including Robert Smithson, Mike Kelley, and Yayoi Kusama—appreciate its anything-goes sensibility and relative absence of historical baggage. Individual installations may take the form of architectural interventions, taxonomic collections, or large-scale […]

Brancusi to Bourgeois: The Evolution of the Human Figure in 7 Twentieth-Century Sculptures

Though technologies and fashions may develop over the years, the human body is supposed to remain constant, a basic form we can all more or less agree on. In the tumult of the 20th century, however, the human figure became the site of immense change as artists struggled to represent our fragile bodies in a […]