Grounded in the media studies of Marshall McLuhan and philosophical writings of Herbert Marcuse, Celant's analysis of the medium has the feeling of a definitive statement. He lays out exactly what makes the medium important while noting the historical trends and key individuals that led to its rapid development after 1960. Significantly, the history Celant wrote in 1972 is much broader than the overly simplistic Dieter-Rot-in-Europe-and-Ruscha-in-America origin myth of the artist’s book that has gained currency since. Besides Ruscha and Rot, Celant’s text emphasizes the early influence of John Cage but he also encompasses into the narrative such disparate or overlooked elements as the Zaj group in Spain and Arte Povera in Italy, as well as work related to Fluxus, Art & Language, Land Art, Pop, Minimalism, Conceptualism, etc. The bibliography includes books that range from the iconic to the virtually unknown by Vito Acconci, Carl Andre, Alison Knowles, Richard Hamilton, Piero Manzoni, Joseph Kosuth, John Latham, Andy Warhol, Bob Law, Yoko Ono, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Henry Flynt, Hanne Darboven, Dan Graham, Dick Higgins, Joel Fisher, Athena Tacha, John Stezaker, Gianfranco Baruchello, Jose Luis Castillejo, Sol Lewitt, Robert Morris, Stanley Brouwn, Edouardo Paolozzi, Bruce Nauman and Bruce McLean, to name just a few of the artists whose work is cited.
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