Richard Shiff: Writing after Art

Essays on Modern and Contemporary Artists

By Richard Shiff

An expansive anthology of the critic and art historian Richard Shiff’s most influential writings, which have shaped today's understanding of twentieth- and twenty-first-century art

Read an excerpt from the book on Suzan Frecon.

“To see a work, to gather it in as sensation, is less than knowing it, less than classifying it, less than theorizing it….But seeing art, or sensing it by some other means, also becomes more than knowing it. To prolong sensory involvement with a work of art preserves its greatest potential.”

In his engaging and penetrating observations on modern and contemporary visual art, Shiff has written about an impressive range of creative forces, including Willem de Kooning, Marlene Dumas, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Barnett Newman, Pablo Picasso, Bridget Riley, and Peter Saul. A leading scholar and powerful voice, Shiff offers insight into prominent artistic practices that span generations and approaches, as seen in this considered selection of essays on twenty-seven artists.

These writings first appeared in exhibition catalogues for institutions including the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate Modern. Shiff supplements his unquestionable fluency in art history with perspectives cultivated from his readings in philosophy, phenomenology, literary theory, and psychoanalysis, among other fields. Shiff’s writing—conceptually rich, meditative, and enjoyable to read—is attuned to the nuances of artistic style and technique, drawing out art’s social implications not merely from broad histories but also directly from artists’ mark making and technical gestures. Actively engaged as a viewer and a writer, Shiff has transformed the act of looking at art into contemplative and captivating writing.

Richard Shiff: Writing after Art includes essays on Georg Baselitz, Mark Bradford, Georges Braque, Jim Campbell, Chuck Close, Willem de Kooning, Peter Doig, Marlene Dumas, Dan Flavin, Suzan Frecon, Lucian Freud, Ellen Gallagher, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden, Julie Mehretu, Barnett Newman, Pablo Picasso, Bridget Riley, Peter Saul, Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, Richard Tuttle, Cy Twombly, Jack Whitten, and Zeng Fanzhi.


Publisher: David Zwirner Books

Designer: Mark Thomson

Printer: VeronaLibri, Verona

Publication Date: 2023

Binding: Softcover

Dimensions: 6.25 × 9.25 in | 15.6 × 23.4 cm

Pages: 696

Reproductions: 64 illustrations

ISBN: 9781644230480

Retail: $45 | £40

Status: Available

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