Fear & Art in the Contemporary World

Caterina Albano

Published by Reaktion Books, 2012
232pp, Price: £20
ISBN: 978–1–78023–019–1


Politicians, pundits and activists often refer to a ‘culture of fear’. The spectres haunting our own era of ‘late modernity’ are many and varied. Food, people, environments and technologies carry signs of real or imagined threat that cause us anxiety. Fears of pollution or contagion have acquired widespread currency and the new bogey-men are paedophiles and terrorists. In this book, Caterina Albano examines the current culture of fear through the lens of contemporary art, offering a broad look at the ways fear pervades every aspect of life and defines how people relate to and interpret the world around them.

Exploring the work of a broad range of artists, including Joseph Beuys, Christian Boltanski, Louise Bourgeois, Nan Goldin, Douglas Gordon, Antony Gormley, Mike Kelley, Annette Messager, Tracey Moffatt, Tony Oursler, Cornelia Parker, Gerhard Richter, Gregor Schneider and Rachel Whiteread, Fear and Art in the Contemporary World investigates the manifestations of fear in our culture and the development of an aesthetics of fear.

Cover image: Tony Oursler, Mutation Skull, 1998, Part of Skulls and Still Lives installation, Projection on foam and resin sculpture, audio component. Courtesy of the artist.

Available from Reaktion Books and Amazon.