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Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925 Hardcover – January 31, 2013
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Dickerman urges against defning abstraction in terms of forward progress... less interested in the invention of abstraction than abstraction as invention. The main impact of this horizontalist approach is geographic, bringing peripheral sites into focus without denying the importance of major hubs. (Daniel Marcus Art in America)
Three quarters of a century after Alfred Barr, founding director of New York's Museum of Modern Art, mounted the landmark 1936 exhibition Cubism and Abtract Art, MoMA curator Dickerman returns to the realm with a vast exhibition and comprehensive catalogue depicting the incipient stages of abtraction in the plastic arts. Situating the movement from a representation toward abstraction as a synchronic historical moment, as well as one of modernism's principal activities, this Eurocentric organizational feat elaborates a network based on cross talk, spontaneity, and simultaneous development. The front endpapers of the catalogue offer a graphic spread that plays off Barr's legendary chart - the cover to his exhibition's catalogue - acanonical lineage of begotten isms. Dickerman's updated diagram turns reader's view to a distributed web of networks and memes in an endeavor that highlights connectivity over paternity. Even with his intended catholic aopproach, painting and the two - dimensional flattened spatial constructs of pictorial space overwhelmingly predominate. Music is accorded a seminal role; sculpture and film are underrepresented; typographic space and artists' books are thankfully recognized. A terrific collection of diverse short essays by nearly 30 scholars complement this intelligently edited, well- illustrated, and indispensable resource. (E. Baden Choice)
About the Author
Matthew Affron is Director of Special Curatorial Projects at the University of Virginia Art Museum and Associate Professor of Art at the University of Virginia.
Yve-Alain Bois is an author and professor of Art History at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey.
Hal Foster (1892-1982) created Prince Valiant in 1937. Though remaining involved with the strip until his death in 1982, Foster handed the bulk of the scripting and art chores over to his longtime assistant, John Cullen Murphy, in 1971.
David Joselit worked as a curator at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston from 1983 to 1989 where he co-organized several exhibitions including "Dissent: The Issue of Modern Art in Boston," "Endgame: Reference and Simulation in Recent Painting and Sculpture," and "The British Edge."He is Distinguished Professor of the History of Art at Yale University. Joselit is the author of Infinite Regress: Marcel Duchamp 1910-1941, Feedback: Art and Politics in the Age of Television, and American Art Since 1945.
Philippe-Alain Michaud is the Film Curator at the Musee national d'art moderne-Centre Georges-Pompidou and the author of "Le Peuple des images".
Top Customer Reviews
After a short introduction to abstraction the structure of the catalog is to present a brief essay on a featured subject (normally concerning a noted artist) and this is followed by related color reproductions of the works from the MOMA exhibition. Some sections might describe works emanating from pivotal countries such as Holland, the USA and importantly Russia. There is also some coverage of contemporary composers such as Schoenberg and Varese. The essays are generally highly informative, lucidly written and easily understood.
I strongly recommend this book for its content and the excellent quality of its printing and the many well reproduced color illustrations. There is much to learn from it.
Leah Dickerman , the curator, has contributed an excellent, clearly written introduction. There are 36 short essays by historians on individual artists, Cubism, Vorticism, Dadaism, Early Russian Abstraction, also Abstract Dance, Abstract Environment, The Absolute Film. For example, Hal Foster's essay "Sense and Non-Sense" describes the thoughts relating to Dadaist Abstraction in the work of Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp. The ideas are unusual, quite astonishing and related to the work of Claude Levi-Strauss.
The book is elegantly designed; the color reproductions quite good, though not always absolutely accurate. Anyone who is seriously interested in early 20th century cultural history will find this book to be a valuable and fascinating resource.
I don't have a formal background in art history--I just enjoy looking at art and learning about it--so a few of the essays went far over my head. But I was pleased and impressed to find that most of the essays were straightforward and understandable, and full of compelling ideas and information about the artworks and the artists.
One theme of the exhibition was that abstract artists did not work in a vacuum; on the contrary, radical ideas were passed along social networks--certain artist-thinkers were particularly gregarious and forged connections across national and even continental lines, not to mention genre lines (e.g., painters/sculptors/writers/musicians). Some of the essays trace some of these relationships. Other essays focus on what particular artists or movements were trying to achieve.
I learned a great deal from reading this book straight through, and I know I'll return to it repeatedly in the future to enjoy the reproductions and to remind myself of what all those movements were about.
Highly recommended for anyone interested in modern art.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautifully and clearly written and organized chronology, filled with great new insights and new information. I learned a lot.Published 8 months ago by Leopard
Great reproductions and informative text. Strong selections. Well done.Published 11 months ago by R. S. Lloyd
Good overview of this exciting period in art. Very high quality, good paper, great color reproduction.Published 12 months ago by bluebird3
Truly fantastic, one of the best art books I have and I have quite a few. I doubt anyone could be remotely disappointed with this purchase.Published 19 months ago by M. C. ELLIOTT
I purchased this for an art history class. It is an absolutely visually astonishing and heavy book.
I've not read through the whole book yet. Read more
This was a gift, exactly issues and ideas in it were just what was on the mind. He loved it.Published on November 22, 2013 by feather pen
This one will take me some time to finish reading. It is a beautiful book and well worth the price for a new one.Published on September 22, 2013 by Katrina Kreamer