The Contemporaries, by Roger White


The first book by Paper Monument editor Roger White. 


It's been nearly a century since Marcel Duchamp exhibited a urinal and called it art. Since then, painting has been declared dead several times over, and contemporary art has now expanded to include just about any object, action, or event: dance routines, slideshows, functional hair salons, seemingly random accretions of waste. In the meantime, being an artist has gone from a join-the-circus fantasy to a plausible vocation for scores of young people in America. But why—and how and by whom—does all this art get made? How is it evaluated? And for what, if anything, will today's artists be remembered? In The Contemporaries, Roger White, himself a young painter, serves as our spirited, skeptical guide through this diffuse creative world. 


“For those of us who are interested in art but far removed from its business, the art world can seem like an alien civilization, with incomprehensible mores, dictates that shift every week, and shibboleths apparently transmitted by telepathy. Into this murky situation rides Roger White, not to 'expose' anything, but to make sense of art's winding social and intellectual path, using clear language and concrete examples. This book may not make you embrace the art world, but at least you'll understand.” –  Luc Sante


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