Putting the Art Back in Art History

Barry Schwabsky at Hyperallergic:

Wood points out that contemporary image-based culture — the profusion he can barely sum up by listing “advertising, fashion, celebrities, television, tattoos, toys, comics, pornography, politics, iPhones, and stuff in general” — is impossible for art history to grasp, even though it is to a great extent the content of contemporary art. But his belief that today’s art “is no longer preoccupied with form” is one that would hardly be accepted by most artists or anyone else who is involved in contemporary art on a daily basis.

The somber tone of Wood’s conclusion suggests that he is a historian to the core, prey to a melancholy such as Nietzsche might have predicted. While his narrative of the historical imagination in art is full of lively twists and turns — a baroque profusion that I could not imagine trying to summarize in the brief compass of a review such as this — he finds only entropy in the present.

more here.