Recent Books & Catalogs

John Carlin and Jonathan Fineberg
Imagining America
Icons of 20th Century American Art
Yale University Press, 2005
published to accompany the PBS special
Imagining America: Icons of 20th Century American Art
Created by John Carlin and Jonathan Fineberg
Jonathan Fineberg
A Troublesome Subject:
The Art of Robert Arneson
(University of California Press, 2013)
listed as one of the “Ten Best Art Books of 2013,” The Brooklyn Rail
Jonathan Fineberg
Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being
3rd edition, revised and expanded as the
2nd Chinese Edition, Shanghai Academy
of Social Sciences Press, 2015
(Turkish edition, Karakalem, Konak/İzmir, 2014)
Jonathan Fineberg
Zhang Xiaogang
Disquieting Memories
Phaidon Press, 2015
Jonathan Fineberg
The Innocent Eye: Children's Art
and the Modern Artist
Princeton University Press, 1997
on the influence of child art on masters of Twentieth Century Art, including the discovery of their personal collections of child art; featuring Larionov/Goncharova, Kandinsky/Münter, Klee, Picasso, Miró, Dubuffet, and the Cobra.
Jonathan Fineberg
“Immendorff’s White Paintings and his Political Practice,” in Jörg Immendorff: New Paintings
Michael Werner Gallery,
New York and Köln 2001
Jonathan Fineberg
Les Tendances Nouvelles
a Capo Press, 1980
Complete facsimile edition in 4 vols. with a scholarly introduction
Jonathan Fineberg
Modern Art at The Border of Mind and Brain
University of Nebraska Press, 2015
Reviewed: NPR “Here and Now,” Pacifica Radio Los Angeles, and in several print and internet venues.
Jonathan Fineberg
“A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...”
In Out of Town: The Williamsburg Paradigm
Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993
Jonathan Fineberg
Robert Arneson:
Self Reflections
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1997
Jonathan Fineberg
“Roxy Paine's Non-Linear Engineering,”
in Roxy Paine
Musée d'art americain, Giverny, France, 1998
Jonathan Fineberg
“The Space of Amnesia: Zhang Xiaogang’s New Work”
in Zhang Xiaogang
Pace Gallery New York, 2013
Jonathan Fineberg
Art Since 1940:
Strategies of Being
3rd edition, revised and expanded
Prentice-Hall/Pearson, 2010
Jonathan Fineberg
Christo and
On the Way to the Gates
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.
and Yale University Press, 2004
a survey and work-in-progress catalogue
Jonathan Fineberg
Discovering Child Art
Essays on Childhood, Primitivism and Modernism
Princeton University Press, 1998
Original essays on child art & modern art by:
Troels Andersen, Rudolf Arnheim, John Carlin, Marcel Franciscono, Ernst Gombrich, Christopher Green, Josef Helfenstein, Werner Hofmann, Yuri Molok, G. G. Posp’elov, Richard Shiff, Dora Vallier, and Barbara Wörwag
Jonathan Fineberg
“What Kabakov Knows,”
in Ilya Kabakov: On the “Total” Installation
Pushkin Museum, Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, & Center for Contemorary Art Moscow, 2008
Jonathan Fineberg
“Das Paradigma des Künstlers als Kind,” Klee und Cobra: Ein Kinderspiel
Zentrum Paul Klee Bern, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Humlebæk, and Cobra Museum of Modern Art Amstelveen, 2011
Jonathan Fineberg
“Additive Aesthetics,”
in Lam/Basquiat
Galerie Gmurzynska, Zűrich 2015
Texts by Anthony Haden-Guest, Jonathan Fineberg, Annina Nosei, Kobina Mercer
Jonathan Fineberg
“The Sensual Garden of Picasso’s Late Work,”
in Picasso & Jacqueline: The Evolution of Style
Pace Gallery New York, 2014
Jonathan Fineberg, ed.
Robert Arneson: Playing Dirty
Allan Stone Gallery, New York, 2012
an introduction and a transcription of Robert Arneson’s 1972 Skowhegan Lecture
Jonathan Fineberg
“Memory and Desire”
in Revision: Zhang Xiaogang
Pace Gallery, 2008
Jonathan Fineberg
“Le collage de Paolozzi: sculpture dans un espace adimensionnel,” in Un siècle de sculpture anglaise
Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris 1996
Jonathan Fineberg, ed.
When We Were Young:
New Perspectives on the Art of the Child
University of California Press, Illinois at The Phillips,The Phillips Collection, and the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois, 2006 exhibition catalogue with original essays by Rudolf Arnheim, Jonathan Fineberg, Misty Houston, Olga Ivashkevitch, Christine Marmé Thompson, and Elizabeth Hutton Turner reviewed by Frank Greve for the McClatchy newspapers, Michelle Norris for “All Things Considered” on NPR, and Leslie Camhi for Arts and Leisure section, The New York Times
Jonathan Fineberg
Alice Aycock Drawings -
Some Stories are Worth Repeating
The Parrish Art Museum, Watermill, N.Y. & Yale University Press, 2013
a retrospective exhibition catalogue
Selected by the CAA Committee on Women in the Arts, for the listing of the “best in feminist art and scholarship,” March 2014: “Including over one hundred works, Some Stories Are Worth Repeating is the first comprehensive exploration of Alice Aycock’s creative process.”
AICA (International Association of Art Critics - USA)
“Award for Excellence: Best Presentation in an Alternative Venue,” April, 2014.

Art History

I went back to Harvard for my Ph.D. in art history and there, in 1970, I enrolled as a research candidate in psychoanalysis at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute (completing my training analysis in 1975 at the same time as my art history dissertation). I continued with course work at the Western New England Psychoanalytic Institute in New Haven as a young assistant professor of art history at Yale, though I never intended or trained for seeing patients. The underlying theoretical foundation of my best known book Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being (originally Prentice-Hall 1995, now in multiple revisions and languages) has to do with the way in which individual artists negotiate the reality of their experience in their work.

I began studying the history of early modern art in graduate school at the Courtauld and then at Harvard. At the time, the “best” university programs in art history didn’t have faculty who specialized in contemporary art. The only two tenured positions in the country were at Princeton and Berkeley. At the Courtauld the study of art history ended in 1915 and at Harvard it was frowned upon to work on anything after World War Two. So I wrote a dissertation on the early formation of Kandinsky’s abstraction while continuing to write criticism in newspapers. But in my first teaching job, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I was hired in a tenure track position specifically to create courses on contemporary art and criticism. Art Since 1940: Strategies of Being began from class notes in which I attempted to chart the field for myself and my students.

After four years at Illinois I turned down tenure to take an assistant professorship at Yale, knowing it was not tenurable, and then I went to New York on an NEH fellowship where I followed Christo and Jeanne-Claude to all the meetings, tests, and hearings for the Surrounded Islands project in Miami. I wrote the essay for their big documentation book on the project (Harry N. Abrams, 1983). Then I took a couple of visiting positions in New York at Hunter College and at Columbia, where I realized I needed to make a book out of my art since 1940 course and also to find a steady job. At that point, my old colleagues at Illinois lured me back to Urbana where I knew I would have the support to focus on writing and I remained at Illinois for thirty years, where my wife, Marianne, and I raised our three children.

My book, The Innocent Eye: Children’s Art and the Modern Artist, looked at my discovery of an important and surprisingly overlooked body of source material for major masters of modernism like Picasso, Matisse, Klee, Kandinsky, Dubuffet, and others. They all collected children's art and contrary to the old cliche that "my kid could paint a Picasso" this research showed even greater depth to their individual artistic projects and how this material both shaped and was shaped by those ambitions.

When We Were Young: New Perspectives on the Art of the Child grew out of that fundamental discovery as I tried to understand what they and we have in common in our relationship to visual modes of thought.

The books on individual artists like Christo and Jeanne-Claude: On the Way to the Gates, A Troublesome Subject: The Art of Robert Arneson, and more recently Disquieting Memories: The Art of Zhang Xiaogang, have all further developed different aspects of my perspective on art in its social and psychological context. Even the more topical critical essays, exhibitions, and catalogues like Out of Town: The Williamsburg Paradigm (the first museum exhibition devoted to the emergence of Williamsburg, Brooklyn as a center of art production), the Roxy Paine catalogue (his first museum show), "Le collage de Paolozzi: sculpture dans un espace adimensionnel," and the recent essay for the Today Museum in Beijing on Wang Guangyi, “Dancing with Augustine,” all frame the work of art in a social context. Imagining America: Icons of 20th Century American Art (both my PBS television show and the book) attempted to convey to a larger audience how works of art have helped to define us. Modern Art at the Border of Mind and Brain theorizes my work as a whole and opens new questions about what works of art do for us psychologically, socially, and neurologically.