Unfinished : thoughts left visible

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  • "This unprecedented book explores the evolving concept of unfinishedness as essential to understanding art movements from the Renaissance to the present. Unfinished presents more than 170 works, created in a variety of media, by artists ranging from Leonardo, Titian, Rembrandt, Turner, and Cézanne to Picasso, Warhol, Twombly, Freud, Richter, and Nauman. What unites these works, across centuries and media, is that each one displays some aspect of being unfinished. Essays and case studies by major contemporary scholars address this key concept from the perspective of both the creator and the viewer, probing the impact that this long artistic trajectory-which can be traced back to the first century-has had on modern and contemporary art. The book explores the degrees to which instances of incompleteness were accidental or intentional, experimental or conceptual. Also included are illuminating interviews with contemporary artists, including Tuymans, Celmins, and Marden, and parallel considerations of the unfinished in literature and film. The result is a multidisciplinary approach and thought-provoking analysis that provide valuable insight into the making, meaning, and critical reception of the unfinished in art"--Distributor's website.


  • Catalog of the exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, March 18-September 4, 2016.
  • Includes bibliographical references and index.


  • Director's foreward / Thomas P. Campbell -- Introduction: an unfinished history of art / Kelly Baum, Andrea Bayer, and Sheena Wagstaff -- Renaissance views of the unfinished / Andrea Bayer -- Leonardo, Michelangelo, and notions of the unfinished in art / Carmen C. Bambach -- The arrogance of intervention: restoring the unfinished / Michael Gallagher -- Old-age style and the non finito / David Bomford -- The unfinished and the eye of the beholder / Nico Van Hout -- States of resolution: Rembrandt and the unfinished print / Nadine M. Orenstein -- Portraiture and the question of focus / Andrea Bayer and Nicholas Cullinan -- "Finishing well": Lucian Freud / Nicholas Cullinan -- Finish/finished: French painting from Romanticism to Impressionism / Asher Ethan Miller -- The literary unfinished / Susan Stewart -- Turner unfinished / David Blayney Brown -- Definitively unfinished sculpture: Rodin to Nauman -- Nicholas Cullinan -- Picasso finished/unfinished / Diana Widmaier Picasso -- Scene missing: unfinished film / Thomas Beard -- The raw and the cooked: unfinishedness in twentieth- and twenty-first-century art / Kelly Baum -- Interview with Vija Celmins / Eva Reifert -- Interview with Marlene Dumas / Sheena Wagstaff -- Interview with Brice Marden / Sheena Wagstaff -- Interview with Luc Tuymans / Nicholas Cullinan -- Interview with Rebecca Warren / Sheena Wagstaff -- Works in the exhibition / Carmen C. Bamback, Kelly Baum, Andrea Bayer, Jane R. Becker, Peter Jonathan Bell, Keith Christiansen, Jennifer Farrell, Elizabeth M. Kornhauser, Brinda Kumar, Asher Ethan Miller, Nadine M. Orenstein, Eva Reifert, and Thayer Tolles
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