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Welcome to the Art subject guide

Jitterbugs (II) William H. Johnson, ca. 1941.This guide provides information on resources in the Fine Art and History of Art subject areas.

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Image: Jitterbugs (II), William H. Johnson, ca. 1941. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Douglas E. Younger

New books in Art

In the black fantastic

In the Black Fantastic assembles art and imagery from across the African diaspora that embraces ideas of the mythic and the speculative. It brings to life the forces that shape Afrofuturism - the cultural movement that conjures otherworldly visions out of the everyday of Black experience - and beyond, looking at how speculative fictions in Black art and culture are boldly reimagining perspectives on race, gender, identity and the body in the 21st century.

Selfie aesthetics

Selfie Aesthetics

Nicole Erin Morse examines how trans feminine artists use selfies and self-representational art to explore transition, selfhood, and relationality.

Black artists shaping the world

Black Artists Shaping the World

Black Artists Shaping the World celebrates the diversity of work being produced today by Black artists from around the globe, introducing twenty-six contemporary artists from Africa and of the African diaspora.


Contemporary art can seem chaotic: it may be made of toilet paper, candies you can eat, or meat that is thrown out after each exhibition. Some works fill a room with obsessively fabricated objects, while others purport to include only concepts, thoughts, or language. Immaterial argues that, despite these unruly appearances, making rules is a key part of what many contemporary artists do when they make their works.

As we rise

As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic

As We Rise presents an exciting compilation of photographs by Black artists from African diasporic culture. 

Aesthetics, Philosophy and Martin Creed

What is the future of conceptualism? What expressions can it take in the 21st century? Is there a new role for aesthetic experience in art and, if so, what is that role exactly? Aesthetics, Philosophy and Martin Creed uses one of this generation's most important and influential artists to address themes crucial to contemporary aesthetics. 

Art and climate change

Art and Climate Change

A timely introduction to the fields of environmental art, art and ecology, art and climate change, art and activism, and art in the Anthropocene.

20th Century Indian Art

A landmark volume presenting the history of Indian art across the subcontinent and South Asia from the late 19th century to the present day. This essential textbook presents an engaging, informative history of modern art from the subcontinent as seen through the eyes of prominent Indian academics.

Walid Raad: Cotton under My Feet

A semi-fictional performative account of the lives and archives of a legendary Spanish art collection How does a private art collection become public? Who was Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza? These questions are at the heart of Cotton under My Feet, a new project by New York-based Lebanese artist Walid Raad (born 1967) conceived for the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, coinciding with the centennial of its original founder. 

Caribbean art

Caribbean Art

An updated and expanded edition of this classic, illustrated survey of Caribbean art, featuring the work of over 100 artists from the period of colonialism to the present day.

Making it modern

Making It Modern

This collection of essays brings together some of the pioneering art historian Linda Nochlin's most important writings on modernism and modernity from across her six-decade career.

Brief history of Black British art

Brief History of Black British Art

Taking as its starting point the London-based Caribbean Artists Movement, this concise introduction showcases the work of over sixty Black British artists from the 1960s until the present.

A Companion to Modern and Contemporary Latin American and Latina/o Art

In-depth scholarship on the central artists, movements, and themes of Latin American art, from the Mexican revolution to the present. Over 30 never-before-published essays on the crucial historical and theoretical issues that have framed our understanding of art in Latin America. This book has a uniquely inclusive focus that includes both Spanish-speaking Caribbean and contemporary Latinx art in the United States. 


Prime, Art's Next Generation

This illustrated survey brings together more than 100 of the most innovative and interesting contemporary artists born since 1980 working across all media and spanning the globe.

Posthuman and nonhuman

Posthuman and Nonhuman Entanglements in Contemporary Art and the Body

This book makes a crucial intervention into the field of contemporary artistic studies, exploring how art can conceptualize material boundaries of entangled beings/doings.

Refugees and Migrants in Contemporary Film

Refugees and Migrants in Contemporary Film, Art and Media

Eleven essays that explore how artists have imaginatively engaged with this monumental human drama, examining a range of alternative modes of representation.

The Black index

The Black Index

The artists featured in The Black Index--Dennis Delgado, Alicia Henry, Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, Titus Kaphar, Whitfield Lovell, and Lava Thomas--build upon the tradition of Black self-representation as an antidote to colonialist images.

A New Way of Seeing

A New Way of Seeing

An exciting new critical voice explores what it is that makes great art great through an illuminating analysis of the world's artistic masterpieces.

Sport and the European avant-garde

Sport and the European avant-garde (1900-1945)

What has been the significance of sport for the European avant-garde in the first half of the 20th century? From an international and interdisciplinary perspective we show the extent to which avant-garde art and culture was shaped by the dynamic encounter with modern sports.

Negative space

Negative Space

This monumental, richly illustrated volume from ZKM | Karlsruhe approaches modern sculpture from a spatial perspective, interpreting it though contour, emptiness, and levitation rather than the conventional categories of unbroken volume, mass, and gravity.

Decolonizing Science in Latin American Art

Decolonizing Science in Latin American Art

This book assembles a new corpus of art-science projects by Latin American artists, ranging from big-budget collaborations with NASA and MIT to homegrown experiments in artists' kitchens. 

Total Expansion of the Letter

Total Expansion of the Letter

How Cubism and Dada radically reimagined the social nature of language, following the utopian poetic vision of Stephane Mallarme.

Art and archive

Art + Archive

'Archive' has been one of the most persistent buzzwords in the international artworld since the turn of the twenty-first century. Art + Archive examines the meaning and function of the notion of the archive in art writing and practices from 1995 to 2015. 

Painting by Numbers

Painting by Numbers

A pathbreaking history of art that uses digital research and economic tools to reveal enduring inequities in the formation of the art historical canon Painting by Numbers presents a groundbreaking blend of art historical and social scientific methods to chart, for the first time, the sheer scale of nineteenth-century artistic production. 

Poetic Operations

Poetic Operations

In Poetic Operations artist and theorist micha cárdenas considers contemporary digital media, artwork, and poetry in order to articulate trans of color strategies for safety and survival, drawing on decolonial theory, women of color feminism, media theory, and queer of color critique.

Black Artists in America

Black Artists in America

Exploring how artists at midcentury addressed the social issues of their day--from Jacob Lawrence to Elizabeth Catlett, Rose Piper to Charles White This timely book surveys the varied ways in which Black American artists responded to the political, social, and economic climate of the United States from the time of the Great Depression through the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision. 

Africa Fashion

Unique exploration of how the cultural renaissance following independence evolved into today's dynamic African fashion revolution. Africa Fashion explores how radical post-independence social and political re-ordering sparked a cultural renaissance across the continent. With contributions from experts on cloth, fashion and cultural history as well as the voices of makers and designers, this inspiring and arresting book offers a window into one of the most innovative, exciting and thoughtful areas of fashion today.

African Artists

A groundbreaking A-Z survey of the work of over 300 modern and contemporary artists born or based in Africa Modern and Contemporary African art is at the forefront of the current curatorial and collector movement in today's art scene. This groundbreaking new book represents the most substantial appraisal of contemporary artists born or based in Africa available. 

Key resources for Art

Books and e-books

You can access a wide variety of print and electronic books to support your research. Find your module reading list to see what key readings you can access electronically or search Explore to find more books and e-books. 

Key databases

We subscribe to a number of subject focused and interdisciplinary databases that will be relevant when researching the History of Art and Fine Art practice. Use the databases to find a range of material including journal articles, films for streaming and more.

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