Darren Hudson Hick at Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews:
All too often, philosophers of art (myself included) deal with art at a remove, at their desks, surrounded by books, countless tabs open in their browser windows. Reading Sherri Irvin’s book feels like you’re being led through a gallery that Irvin herself has carefully curated—indeed, led through the hidden corridors behind the gallery walls. Despite the title of this volume, Irvin makes the art she discusses feel material in a way that other philosophers just don’t—maybe can’t. Irvin makes me appreciate the art she discusses; she makes me love it.
In this book, her first monograph, Irvin brings together, revises, and expands upon a view she has been developing for two decades. Irvin’s focus here is on contemporary art, an artworld term imprecisely describing a broad swath of visual art created since the late 1960s, art that tends to expand, defy, or at least challenge longstanding traditions of art (“yes, it’s a painting, but that’s not all it is”), but which has nevertheless been embraced by gallerists and museum curators. Contemporary art doesn’t tend to look like the art that has preceded it, and when it does, something is afoot.