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The Art of Peter Max Hardcover – October 1, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Pop artist Max, like his contemporary Andy Warhol, had his artistic way with iconic figures: while Warhol captured Marilyn and Liz in Day-Glo glory, Max caught the visages of the Statue of Liberty, the Mona Lisa and George Washington in vibrant Technicolor (they both took a turn with Mick Jagger). But Max is the softer character in both art and life: his canvases are happier, swirlier, and he's a lot less hip. Perhaps it's his unabashed patriotism and his thorough endorsement by the establishment (though not necessarily the art world establishment). Max has painted Lady Liberty on the White House lawn, been named the official artist for the Grammys, the United Nations Earth Summit and five Superbowls, and had his paintings grace the covers of People, U.S. News & World Report and Manhattan's Yellow Pages-twice. This big, bright coffee table book shows Max's work in all of its wild energy, from his psychedelic posters (dorm room favorites) to his more recent forays into abstraction. Riley's accompanying text is appropriately heavy on the biographical detail and light on any high-falutin' art criticism, an approach perfectly appropriate for a volume celebrating one of history's most buoyantly middlebrow and accessible artists. Over 350 color plates.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Peter Max created a delirium of gorgeously imaginative and technically innovative posters and album covers during the sixties that perfectly capture the liberating power of rock and roll in brilliant colors, kaleidoscopic patterns-within-patterns, and bold, art deco-inspired graphics. But as instantly recognizable as Max's work is, his life story is not well known, and what a tale it is. Brilliantly hued reproductions of his prismatic and enchanting work are accompanied by equally energized and enlightening commentary as Riley recounts Max's family's prescient move from Berlin, where he was born in 1937, to Shanghai, where Max was profoundly influenced by Buddhist art, comic books, and astronomy, on to Israel then New York, the city Max celebrates in so many works, especially his colorful Statue of Liberty series. After studying at the Art Students League, Max opened his own design studio and--wham!--he was an instant success. His euphoric work, cogently analyzed by Riley, was everywhere; he appeared on the cover of Life magazine and The Tonight Show, and then he left it all behind to paint in splendid isolation for a decade. Since then the ebullient Max has reclaimed celebrity status (well documented in photographs) and continues to paint with pleasure and verve. Donna Seaman
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