Contemporary visual art has a history problem. It often strikes viewers as disconnected from great works of the past or any kind of context, aiming at originality for originality's sake. What does a barrel of glue poured down a muddy hillside or a light bulb frozen in a cube of ink have to do with art? Fortunately for the perplexed viewer, National Gallery curator James Meyer has noticed the problem. His new book The Art of Return: The Sixties & Contemporary Culture offers a thoughtful account of how art and history inform each other, even in postmodern art.