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Seven Keys to Modern Art

Simon Morley (Author)

Logo markA Thames & Hudson book


A liberating approach to interpreting modern and contemporary art, focusing on twenty major artworks from around the world and representing a diversity of styles, mediums, and artists.

With modern art’s proclivity for self-expression, originality, and the abstract, great works can often seem indecipherable. This book provides the tools to help interpret the seemingly bizarre and often intimidating aspects of modern and contemporary art by exploring twenty works in terms of seven key perspectives: history, biography, aesthetics, experience, theory, criticism, and the market.

Author, artist, and art historian Simon Morley shows how twenty well-known but little-understood works of art can serve as useful gateways not only for understanding each other, but also for appreciating works by the same artists and the wider world of art in general. Morley points to visual and theoretical dimensions of art that are not immediately obvious, reconstructing the perspectives of artists and the context within which works were made. Seven Keys to Modern Art is a liberating approach, offering a highly practical and universally applicable method of art interpretation and appreciation.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • March 2019
  • ISBN 978-0-500-02162-0
  • 5.9 × 8.6 in / 256 pages
  • Sales Territory: USA and Dependencies, Philippines and Canada.

Endorsements & Reviews

““Artist and art professor Morley unlocks the sometimes indecipherable world of modern and contemporary art. Students, art aficionados, and museum-goers will appreciate this compact guide and its astute observations.”” — Booklist Online