The Body in Contemporary Art


‘O’Reilly’s wide-ranging knowledge of contemporary practices and her particular predilection for feminist and performance art make her an ideal guide … engaging writing and insightful observations … will keep any reader on their toes and will surely be eagerly gobbled up by those new to the subject’ The Art Book

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ISBN: 9780500204009 Category:

Sally O'Reilly


In recent decades, the body has moved from being the subject of traditional portraiture to become an active presence in live and participatory events. Art historical, socio-political and cultural developments, from radical feminism in the 1970s to contemporary scientific breakthroughs, have all had a profound influence on artists’ attitudes to, and representations of, the human form.

The Body in Contemporary Art presents an international survey of art made since the early 1990s that has the body as its focus. It examines such areas as nature and technology, the grotesque, identity politics and the place of the individual in society.

From painting and sculpture to installation, video art and performance, The Body in Contemporary Art reveals the myriad ways in which the body has inspired a generation of artists. Featuring the work of both renowned and up-and-coming figures, including Francis Alÿs, Marlene Dumas, Matthew Barney, Oleg Kulik, Rineke Dijkstra and Ernesto Neto, this book shows how the body continues to be pivotal to our understanding and expression of our place in the universe.

Additional information

Weight 470 g
Dimensions 15 x 21 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 23 October 2009
Number of pages 224
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 15 x 21 cm
Weight 470 g


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Sally O'Reilly is a writer who contributes regularly to various art magazines including Art Monthly, Frieze, Art Review and Time Out. She has written numerous catalogue essays for international museums and galleries. She has curated and produced a number of performance events, both independently and as one of the founders of Brown Mountain College of the Performing Arts.