Long considered the survey of modern art, this engrossing and liberally illustrated text traces the development of trends and influences in painting, sculpture, photography and architecture from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Retaining its comprehensive nature and chronological approach, it now comes thoroughly reworked by Elizabeth Mansfield, an experienced art historian and writer, with refreshing new analyses, a considerably expanded picture program, and a more absorbing and unified narrative.
Since the first edition of Arnason's survey was published more than four decades ago, this has been considered the book on modern art. Newly revised and expanded by Mansfield (art history, New York Univ.; Too Beautiful To Picture: Zeuxis, Myth, and Mimesis), it should still be considered as such. The images are more numerous and of higher quality than ever before. Contemporary art is presented thematically rather than by decade, and various media are integrated. New consideration is given to globalization and the influence of modernism on non-Western and developing countries. Kenny Scharf is not covered in this edition, but the Hairy Who, Santiago Calatrava, and many others have been added. Further learning is fostered by the book's detailed bibliography, thorough index, and glossary. VERDICT Libraries with funds and space for only one modern art book should buy this one; libraries with previous editions should keep them and shelve this update. An ideal primer on modern art.—Nancy J. Mactague, Aurora Univ. Lib., IL