100 Ideas That Changed Art


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From the earliest cave paintings through to the internet and street art, this inspiring book chronicles the 100 most influential ideas that have shaped the world of art. Arranged in broadly chronological order, it provides a unique and compelling take on the history of art.

The book shows how developments in materials (oil paint, plastics, paint in tubes) and technology (paper, photography, welding) have radically changed the way that art is produced. But these changes run parallel with influences from wider culture such as the study of optics and anatomy and more conceptual concerns such as chance and ephemerality. Each entry explores when an idea first evolved and how it has resurfaced in the work of different artists up to the present day.

Lavishly illustrated with historical masterpieces and packed with fascinating contemporary examples, this is an inspirational and wholly original guide to understanding the forces that have shaped world art.


About the Author

Michael Bird is a writer, art historian and radio broadcaster. His books include 100 Ideas that Changed Art and The St Ives Artists: A Biography of Place and Time, as well as books on modern artists such as Sandra Blow, Bryan Wynter and Lynn Chadwick, and a children’s poetry anthology, The Grasshopper Laughs. He has also published many essays and articles, and lectures widely. He currently holds a Goodison Fellowship at the British Library, where he is researching the oral history of modern British art.


Publication Details

  • Paperback
  • 288 illustrations
  • 216 pages
  • 270 x 210 mm
  • ISBN 9781856697958
  • Published October 2012