There are a number of good sources for finding out more about contemporary fine art.
The Documents of Contemporary Art is a series of anthologies co-published by Whitechapel Gallery and The MIT Press which document major themes and ideas in contemporary art. Each of these sourcebooks provides access to a plurality of voices and perspectives on a specific subject or body of writing that has been of key influence to contemporary art internationally. Titles include: Abstraction; Appropriation; Beauty; Chance; Colour; Dance; Documentary; The Everyday; Failure; Painting; Participation; Ruins; Situation; Sound; The Sublime; Utopias.
Q-Arts books aim to make art education and the workings of the contemporary art world more transparent. 12 Gallerists: 20 Questions (Q-Art, ISBN: 9780956435507) explores how gallerists find artists, how they price work, how they judge ‘good art’ and how art moves from art school, to gallery, to museum. 11 Course Leaders: 20 Questions (Q-Art, ISBN: 9780956435514) ask the course leaders of London’s 11 BA fine art programmes about the philosophy behind their different courses, their views on the teaching of: skills, art history, whether art can be taught etc.
Sanctuary: Britain’s Artists and their Studios (Thames & Hudson, ISBN: 978-0-500-97707-1) examines the lives and work places of 120 contemporary artists living and working in Britain through a series of interviews and essays.
Contemporary British Women Artists in their own Words (I.B.Tauris & Co, ISBN: 978-1-84511-224-0) is a collection of interviews with some of the most important women artists practising in Britain today. The interviews, span different generations of artists who work in media as diverse as performance, painting, sculpture, video and installation, it gives a fascinating insight into the artists' lives and the creative process.
The following books offer excellent overviews of artists working in specific mediums:
Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting (Phaidon, ISBN: 0-7148-4446-2)
Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century (Phaidon, ISBN: 978-0-7148-4829-7)
Video Art (Thames & Hudson, ISBN: 0-500-23798-0)
Vitamin PH - New Perspectives in Photography (Phaidon, ISBN: 978-0-7148-4656-9)
The Drawing Book (Black Dog Publishing, ISBN: 1-904772-33-1)