Not only is this book an overview of contemporary painting, it is also an enquiry into how we experience its images, what they mean and why the practice remains vital. The venerable art of painting still thrives as a leading force in the art market. Painting Today explores the development of the medium, especially through the last forty years, and the diversity of paintings now being made internationally.
Critics have suggested that painting lost its way in the second half of the twentieth century. Indeed, the innovations of photography, film, video, installation art and other developments certainly threatened painting's pre-eminence. Yet paintings still command huge prices on the market and artists are using the medium in flourishing numbers. In Painting Today we see how these other art forms have inspired the development of painting techniques and styles, and include hundreds of important works by well-known painters, paintings by artists better known in other media, and very new works by painters just establishing their careers.
The lively yet authoritive writing of Tony Godfrey presents the work of all significant painters working today organized by themes that have long been central in the genre – ranging from still life and landscape to abstraction and installation. Many quotations from artists – from interviews and their own writings – elucidate painters' views on painting and their work in the art form.
Tony Godfrey is Director of Research at Sotheby's Institute of Art. He has worked at Sotheby's Institute since 1989, and since 2006 he has also been a Professor of Fine Art at Plymouth University. He has published regularly on contemporary art, publishing a book on painting, The New Image: painting in the Eighties in 1986, a book on drawing, Drawing Today in 1990 and a book on Conceptual Art, Conceptual Art in 1998 (also published by Phaidon), and frequently reviewing exhibitions for The Burlington Magazine.