Contemporary art can be baffling and beautiful, provocative and disturbing. This pioneering book presents a new look at the controversial period between 1945 and 2000, when art and its traditional forms were called into question. It focuses on the relationship between American and European art, and challenges previously held views about the origins of some of the most innovative ideas in art of this time. Major artists such as Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, Yves Klein, Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, and Damien Hirst are all discussed, as is the art world of the last fifty years. Important trends are also covered including Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Conceptualism, Postmodernism, and the art of the nineties.