In today's art world many strange, even shocking, things qualify as art. In this Very Short Introduction Cynthia Freeland explains why innovation and controversy are valued in the arts, weaving together philosophy and art theory with many fascinating examples. She discusses blood, beauty, culture, money, museums, sex, and politics, clarifying contemporary and historical accounts of the nature, function, and interpretation of the arts. Freeland also propels us into the future by surveying cutting-edge web sites, alongside the latest research on the brain's role in perceiving art. This clear, provocative book engages with the big debates surrounding our responses to art and is an invaluable introduction to anyone interested in thinking about art. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Through an investigation of the history of modern art, the contemporary relevance of this pivotal artistic movement is explained. Concise and accessible, Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction interrogates the ideas of modern art. It questions the notions of what qualifies as 'modern', and explores the ways in which modern art relates to contemporary and postmodern movements. Provocative and engaging, Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction is an ideal guide for gallery goers, students, and all those either interested in, or confused by, the idea of modern art.
This clear and concise new introduction examines all the major debates and issues using a wide range of well-known examples. It discusses the challenge of using verbal and written language to analyse a visual form. Dana Arnold also examines the many different ways of writing about art, and the changing boundaries of the subject of art history. Topics covered include the canon of Art History, the role of the gallery, 'blockbuster' exhibitions, the emergence of social histories of art (Feminist Art History or Queer Art History, for example), the impact of photography, and the development of Art History using artefacts such as the altarpiece, the portrait, or pornography, to explore social and cultural issues such as consumption, taste, religion, and politics. Importantly, this book explains how the traditional emphasis on periods and styles originates in western art production and can obscure other critical approaches, as well as art from non western cultures. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Photographs are an integral part of our daily lives - from snapshots and tabloid newspapers to art photography in galleries and exhibitions. Edwards combines a sense of the historical development of photography with an insightful analysis of its purpose and meaning within a wider cultural context.
Critical theory emerged in the 1920s from the work of the Frankfurt School, the circle of German-Jewish academics who sought to diagnose -- and, if at all possible, cure -- the ills of society, particularly fascism and capitalism. In this book, Stephen Eric Bronner provides sketches of leading representatives of the critical tradition (such as George Lukács and Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse and Jurgen Habermas) as well as many of its seminal texts and empirical investigations. This Very Short Introduction sheds light on the cluster of concepts and themes that set critical theory apart from its more traditional philosophical competitors. Bronner explains and discusses concepts such as method and agency, alienation and reification, the culture industry and repressive tolerance, non-identity and utopia. He argues for the introduction of new categories and perspectives for illuminating the obstacles to progressive change and focusing upon hidden transformative possibilities. In this newly updated second edition, Bronner targets new academic interests, broadens his argument, and adapts it to a global society amid the resurgence of right-wing politics and neo-fascist movements.
Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction offers insights into theories about the nature of language and meaning, human identity, and the power of language. Fully updated for 2011 and including a new chapter on 'Ethics and aesthetics', it steers a clear and lucid path through an often impenetrable subject.
Games are everywhere: Drivers maneuvering in heavy traffic are playing a driving game. Bargain hunters bidding on eBay are playing an auctioning game. The supermarket's price for corn flakes is decided by playing an economic game. This Very Short Introduction offers a succinct tour of the fascinating world of game theory, a ground-breaking field that analyzes how to play games in a rational way. Ken Binmore, a renowned game theorist, explains the theory in a way that is both entertaining and non-mathematical yet also deeply insightful, revealing how game theory can shed light on everything from social gatherings, to ethical decision-making, to successful card-playing strategies, to calculating the sex ratio among bees. With mini-biographies of many fascinating, and occasionally eccentric, founders of the subject--including John Nash, subject of the movie A Beautiful Mind--this book offers a concise overview of a cutting-edge field that has seen spectacular successes in evolutionary biology and economics, and is beginning to revolutionize other disciplines from psychology to political science. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, and Literary Theory to History. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given topic. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how it has developed and influenced society. Whatever the area of study, whatever the topic that fascinates the reader, the series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
In today's art world many strange, even shocking, things qualify as art. In this book, Cynthia Freeland explains why innovation and controversy are valued in the arts, weaving together philosophy and art theory with many fascinating examples. She discusses blood, beauty, culture, money, museums, sex, and politics, clarifying contemporary and historical accounts of the nature, function, and interpretation of the arts. Freeland also propels us into the future by surveying cutting-edge web sites, along with the latest research on the brain's role in perceiving art. This clear, provocative book engages with the big debates surrounding our responses to art and is an invaluable introduction to anyone interested in thinking about art.
Is a tower block, your unmade bed, your lavatory basin, or the bicycle chained to the gate next door a work of art? Why should a novel have a beginning, a middle, and an end; or even a story? Whether we recognise it or not, virtually every aspect of our life today has been influenced in part by the aesthetic legacy of Modernism. In this Very Short Introduction Christopher Butler examines how and why Modernism began, explaining what it is and showing how it has gradually informed all aspects of 20th and 21st century life. Butler considers several aspects of modernism including some modernist works; movements and notions of the avant garde; and the idea of 'progress' in art. Butler looks at modernist ideas of the self, subjectivity, irrationalism, people and machines, and political definitions of modernism as a whole. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Poststructuralism changes the way we understand the relations between human beings, their culture, and the world. Following a brief account of the historical relationship between structuralism and poststructuralism, this Very Short Introduction traces the key arguments that have led poststructuralists to challenge traditional theories of language and culture. Whilst the author discusses such well-known figures as Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, and Lacan, she also draws pertinent examples from literature, art, film, and popular culture, unfolding the postructuralist account of what it means to be a human being. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Rhetoric is often seen as a synonym for shallow, deceptive language, and therefore as something negative. But if we view rhetoric in more neutral terms, as the 'art of persuasion', it is clear that we are all forced to engage with it at some level, if only because we are constantly exposed to the rhetoric of others. In this Very Short Introduction, Richard Toye explores the purpose of rhetoric. Rather than presenting a defence of it, he considers it as the foundation-stone of civil society, and an essential part of any democratic process. Using wide-ranging examples from Ancient Greece, medieval Islamic preaching, and modern cinema, Toye considers why we should all have an appreciation of the art of rhetoric. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Symmetry is an immensely important concept in mathematics and throughout the sciences. In this Very Short Introduction, Ian Stewart highlights the deep implications of symmetry and its important scientific applications across the entire subject.
For over a hundred years 'the avant-garde' has been the most influential concept in modern art; its impact on the history of modern culture has been profound. In this Very Short Introduction, David Cottington explores why the avant-garde carries so much authority, and places it within the context of western modernity and capitalist culture.
Quantum Theory is the most revolutionary discovery in physics since Newton. This book gives a lucid, exciting, and accessible account of the surprising and counterintuitive ideas that shape our understanding of the sub-atomic world. It does not disguise the problems of interpretation that still remain unsettled 75 years after the initial discoveries. The main text makes no use of equations, but there is a Mathematical Appendix for those desiring stronger fare. Uncertainty, probabilistic physics, complementarity, the problematic character of measurement, and decoherence are among the many topics discussed. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Chaos exists in systems all around us. Even the simplest system of cause and effect can be subject to chaos, denying us accurate predictions of its behaviour, and sometimes giving rise to astonishing structures of large-scale order. Our growing understanding of Chaos Theory is having fascinating applications in the real world - from technology to global warming, politics, human behaviour, and even gambling on the stock market. Leonard Smith shows that we all have an intuitive understanding of chaotic systems. He uses accessible maths and physics (replacing complex equations with simple examples like pendulums, railway lines, and tossing coins) to explain the theory, and points to numerous examples in philosophy and literature (Edgar Allen Poe, Chang-Tzu, Arthur Conan Doyle) that illuminate the problems. The beauty of fractal patterns and their relation to chaos, as well as the history of chaos, and its uses in the real world and implications for the philosophy of science are all discussed in this Very Short Introduction. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Economics has the capacity to offer us deep insights into some of the most formidable problems of life, and offer solutions to them too. Combining a global approach with examples from everyday life, Partha Dasgupta describes the lives of two children who live very different lives in different parts of the world: in the Mid-West USA and in Ethiopia. He compares the obstacles facing them, and the processes that shape their lives, their families, and their futures. He shows how economics uncovers these processes, finds explanations for them, and how it forms policies and solutions. Along the way, Dasgupta provides an intelligent and accessible introduction to key economic factors and concepts such as individual choices, national policies, efficiency, equity, development, sustainability, dynamic equilibrium, property rights, markets, and public goods. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
We make choices all the time - about trivial matters, about how to spend our money, about how to spend our time, about what to do with our lives. And we are also constantly judging the decisions other people make as rational or irrational. But what kind of criteria are we applying when we say that a choice is rational? What guides our own choices, especially in cases where we don't have complete information about the outcomes? What strategies should be applied in making decisions which affect a lot of people, as in the case of government policy? This book explores what it means to be rational in all these contexts. It introduces ideas from economics, philosophy, and other areas, showing how the theory applies to decisions in everyday life, and to particular situations such as gambling and the allocation of resources. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
This work decodes the key themes, signs and symbols found in Christian art - the Eucharist, the Crucifixion, the Virgin Mary. It also explores the theological and historical background of Christian imagery, from the devotional works of the medieval and Renaissance periods, to the 21st century.
Offers a wealth of insight into the paradoxical nature of film, considering its role and impact on society in the 20th century as well as its future in the digital age. Original.
John Heskett aims to transform the way readers think about design by showing how integral it is to our daily lives, from the spoon we use to eat our breakfast cereal, and the car we drive to work in, to the medical equipment used to save lives. This concise guide to contemporary design goes beyond style and taste to look at how different cultures and individuals personalize objects. Heskett also reveals how simple objects, such as a toothpick, can have their design modified to suit the specific cultural behaviour in different countries. Finally, the author gives us an exciting vision of what design can offer us in the future, showing in particular how it can humanize new technology.

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