"The book begins in the late eighteenth century, when a systematic formal distinction began to be made between painting and sculpture. Following changing attitudes toward sculpture through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Potts analyses for the first time the radical transformation that has occurred not only in the nature of sculptural works but also in their display and reception. He focuses on a broad range of texts by major writers who have in some way been obsessed by sculpture, including Johann Gottfried Herder, Charles Baudelaire, Walter Pater, Rainer Maria Rilke, Carl Einstein, Adrian Stokes and Clement Greenberg, and such artist-theorists as Adolf Hildebrand and Donald Judd. Potts also offers a detailed view of selected iconic works by sculptors ranging from Antonio Canova and Auguste Rodin to Constantin Brancusi, David Smith, Carl Andre, Eva Hesse and Louise Bourgeois - key players in modern thinking about the sculptural. The impact of minimalism features prominently in this discussion, for it disrupted accepted understanding of how a viewer interacts with a work of art, thereby placing the phenomenology of viewing three-dimensional objects for the first time at the center of debate about modern visual art."--BOOK JACKET.
Potts (art history, Univ. of Reading, UK) has written a selective history of sculpture with an emphasis on sculpture theory and theorists from the late 18th century to the present. He casts a wide net among the theorists, from Johann Gottfried Herder through Walter Pater and Rainer Maria Rilke to Clement Greenberg and artist Donald Judd. Potts also discusses in detail a number of works by selected artists, from Antonio Canova and Auguste Rodin to Constantin Brancusi, David Smith, Carl Andre, Eva Hesse, and Louise Bourgeois. The author is good on assessing the impact of Minimalism on the practical accomplishments of mid- to late 20th-century sculpture and also very good on Minimalism's effect on theories about three-dimensional art objects. The book's argument is carefully constructed, but it is aimed at and recommended for an academic audience. Jack Perry Brown, Art Inst. of Chicago Libs. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.