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7 books about abstract artists for reading in self-isolation

2. May 2020

At IdeelArt you will find works by some of the greatest abstract artists in the world.

In times like these, I consider myself lucky. I buy obsessively art books from exhibitions and property sales. Even if I'm indoors for weeks or months, I have at least a lot to read. There are dozens of books on my shelves about abstract artists including books about Jessica Stockholder, Clare Rojas, Alma Thomas, Georgia O & # 39; Keeffe, Hilla Rebay, Lee Krasner, Mary Heilmann, Lee Kyong and Elaine de Kooning . Louise Bourgeois, Hedda Sterne, Eva Hesse, Louise Nevelson and others.

Unlike the short articles and social media posts that make up the majority of contemporary art reading, these often violent books offer deep dives and create the much needed context. and increase my often insufficient visual skills. I particularly like books in which artists describe their own work, such as Artists Sessions at Studio 35 ̵

1; a paperback book full of personal knowledge that was shared between 25 artists in 1950 during a three-day conversation.

My personal favorite from this genre is a collection of open interviews entitled American Artists on Art from 1940 to 1980 . In an interview in the book, Helen Frankenthaler replied to the question of whether nature is part of her work by saying: “Nature associations are used as a grip that is held on to people who want to know how to do it reads surface of an abstract image. That is their problem, whether nature is in it or not. "

In another interview, Eva Hesse answers a question about the alleged circular motif in her work and says: " I think the circle is very abstract ", but she says, “I could make up stories about what the circle means for men. “

If, like me, you find such insights humorous, helpful, inspiring, and even deeper, here are seven more books about abstract artists that could help make your time alone is a little less lonely.

Hilma af Klint: paintings for the future

Hilma af Klint created an extraordinary volume of paintings, drawings and writings in her half-century career. However, she refused to have her works shown until 20 years after her death and prohibited the sale of the works.

The latest blockbuster retrospective Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the future at the Guggenheim The museum in New York made it clear to an enthusiastic audience how far Klint was really ahead of its time. The hardcover catalog published for the exhibition is a part-time capsule and a timeless treasure.

Allegedly, he looks back on the work of an artist from the distant past. However, I believe that this work belongs to a time that has not yet come.

Julie Mehretu

In my opinion Julie Mehretu – more than any other contemporary artist – captures both anxiety-causing aspects of a chaos and impressive miracle of our interconnected present. Her pictures open up worlds in which shape, color and line transform almost mystically into emotions and sensations.

This eponymous monograph, published on the occasion of her current retrospective in the middle of her career at LACMA, will delight existing fans and appeal to newcomers to speed on a true visionary of contemporary abstract art.

Ninth Street Women

Researched extensively, but written accessible by Mary Gabriel. Ninth Street Women offers in-depth research into the careers of five influential, 20th .. painters of the century – Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler. It also convincingly destroys the fictional narrative that the development of modern art was shaped by men.

The text reveals the intricate social circumstances that led to the development of Abstract Expressionism and various other 20th century art movements, and describes the intellectual and artistic ability of these and some other marginalized artists, revealing the social prejudices that affect their market presence and often adversely affected their professional progress.

Although things are improving, this book reminds us of the many subtle (and not subtle) ways that are underrepresented. Artists still walk a difficult path today.

Lee Krasner

Not nearly as exhaustive as (but far cheaper than) the comprehensive catalog of works published by Harry N. Abrams in 1995 Lee Krasner This comprehensive monograph contains 250 color plates that provide a comprehensive overview of the Career of one of America's most poetic and idiosyncratic abstract artists

Lee Krasner published by Thames & Hudson on the occasion of a major retrospective at the Barbican Gallery in London, shows how Krasner relentlessly develops her visual language over time and directly questioned the contemporary tendency towards youth by demonstrating how Krasner reached her artistic high late in life, long after she had moved away from the so-called avant-garde.

Elaine de Kooning: Portraits

Several books about Elaine de Kooning unfortunately focus more on personal anecdotes than on their unique contribution to the art field.

The elegantly produced monograph Elaine de Kooning: Portraits by Prestel Publishing properly examines her artistic method by focusing on the extraordinary body of portraits she produced. This aspect of her work has greatly contributed to defining the amorphous realm in which contemporary figuration blends happily with the theories and concepts of abstraction.

Joan Mitchell: I carry my landscapes with me

More than most other artists and most people in general Joan Mitchell adopted intuition and feeling as their guiding principles. She once said: “It never occurred to me to invent something. I just wanted to paint. “ Her individualism and self-confidence radiate on her canvases, which is why perhaps at least a dozen books about her work have been published.

Joan Mitchell: I carry my landscapes with me may not be the most comprehensive, but they have wonderful photographs and a narrow focus on one aspect of their work: their large-format, multi-panel paintings.

Anni Albers

One of the smartest and most technically competent artists the world has ever known, Anni Albers had a productive career in abstract art, conquering the world of commercial design and creating one unprecedented collection of writings that shaped contemporary art education. The wisdom of her perspective is only achieved through the eloquence with which she communicated it.

Anni Albers who was published as an exhibition companion for the Tate Modern 2018 retrospective of the same name, draws her career from her roots as pioneering after students – and teachers – at the Bauhaus; through her contribution to Black Mountain College in the 1930s and 40s; through her solo exhibition at MoMA in 1949 (the first for a textile artist); Explanation of all aspects of her brilliant and lifelong performance as a multidisciplinary studio artist.

Written by Phillip Barcio.

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