Collage: Assembling Contemporary Art

A beautiful book with excellent reproductions of some of the most interesting works of collage in contemporary art. I found it slightly lacking in context. Though the two essays that were included were interesting they could have been more thoroughly developed. The O’Reilly essay made some really surprising reductions of the development of early twentieth-century collage techniques. Still a lot of good concepts raised – a good introduction for undergraduates beginning to think critically about collage. The second essay posited some fantastic ideas, especially his notion of the chimeric edge and the dissolving edge. The more interesting ideas were dealt with a bit hurriedly for my tastes, in order I think to get to a number of other ideas of the edge that were somewhat less compelling. I would have liked to get deeper into the idea of collage in medical science and current technology – prosthesis and genetic engineering as a collagist technique. Some very provocative ideas in there.

The book’s focus is unsurprisingly on the UK, with only a handful of the most known artists outside of the UK included. But I like the way the book was organized, by style/subject rather than chronologically. And the reproductions are really stunning.

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