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Thames & Hudson publishes 'Seven Keys to Modern Art' by Simon Morley
Barbara Kruger, I Shop Therefore I Am. Photographic silkscreen / Vinyl 282 cm x 287 cm (111 x 113 in.) Photo: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas. Courtesy Mary Boone Gallery, New York © Barbara Kruger.


LONDON.- Seven Keys to Modern Art explores modern and contemporary masterpieces – from Matisse’s Red Studio to Louise Bourgeois’ Maman – in terms of seven different approaches: Historical, Biographical, Aesthetic, Experiential, Theoretical, Skeptical and Market. Together, these ‘keys’ represent different ways of looking at the same work of art. The goal of this innovative new illustrated publication is to suggest that there is never a ‘right’ way to understand a work of art: the richly varied, and sometimes contradicting, approaches presented through the seven ‘keys’ invite active collaboration in an on-going process of understanding and appreciation.

Rather than proceeding on the basis of art ‘movements’ or individual artist’s careers, Simon Morley focusses on only twenty works of art. Each chapter begins with a short introductory overview, after which the same seven ‘keys’ are presented, in the order suggested by the character of the specific work. This is followed by two more useful categories: Further Viewing and Further Reading.

The twenty works featured are the creations of men and women from different periods and places, who come from a wide variety of social and ethnic backgrounds. Their works are in a variety of media and styles, involving many subjects and intentions, and together they reflect the richness of modern and contemporary art, acting as springboards for the appreciation not only of other works by the same artist but also of the wider world of art.

The Red Studio, Henri Matisse (1869–1954) • Bottle of Vieux Marc, Glass, a Guitar and Newspaper, Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) • Black Square, Kazimir Malevich (1878– 1935) • Fountain, Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) • The Empty Mask, René Magritte (1898–1967) • New York Movie Theater, Edward Hopper (1882–1967) • Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair,

Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) • Head VI, Francis Bacon (1909–1992) • Black on Maroon, Mark Rothko (1903–1970) • Big Electric Chair, Andy Warhol (1928–1987) Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field, Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) • The Pack, Joseph Beuys (1921–1986) • Spiral Jetty, Robert Smithson (1938–1973) • Osiris and Isis, Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945) • Untitled (I shop therefore I am), Barbara Kruger (b. 1945) • A Book from the Sky, Xu Bing (b. 1955) • The Messenger, Bill Viola (b. 1951) • Maman, Louise Bourgeois (1911– 2010) • Correspondence, Lee Ufan (b. 1936) • Untitled, Doris Salcedo (b. 1958).

Simon Morley is Assistant Professor in the College of Arts, Dankook University, Republic of Korea. He has been a lecturer and tour guide at such UK museums as Tate, The National Gallery, Hayward Gallery, Serpentine Gallery and Whitechapel Gallery. A regular contributor to several newspapers, magazines, and journals, he is also the author of Writing on the Wall: Word and Image in Modern Art, also published by Thames & Hudson. Morley is a practicing artist who has exhibited internationally.

‘Morley marshals ways of seeing and understanding that will give both the lay reader and the aficionado the tools for a deeper engagement with art and ideas.’ --Iwona Blazwick, Director, Whitechapel Gallery






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