Abstract Art: A Global History available to buy at Museum Bookstore

Abstract Art: A Global History

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'A herculean effort, it reproduces the efforts of over 200 artists from all seven continents, usually with sharp capsule discussions. It provocatively divides abstraction according to subject matter (the body, the cosmos, landscape, architecture), increasing its accessibility. The book’s inclusions and theories can be debated, but it sets a standard for future efforts' - New York Times

A scholarly yet fresh book on the history of abstraction from a global perspective

Moving beyond the orthodox canonical terrain of abstract art, the book surveys artists from across the globe, examining their work from the point of view of content rather than form. Previous writers have approached the history of abstraction as a series of movements solving a series of formal problems.

In contrast, Karmel focuses on the subject matter of abstract art, showing how artists have used abstract imagery to express social, cultural and spiritual experience. An introductory discussion of the work of the early modern pioneers of abstraction opens up into a completely new approach to abstract art based around five inclusive themes - the body, the landscape, the cosmos, architecture, and the repertory of man-made signs and patterns - each of which has its own chapter. Starting from a figurative example, Karmel works outwards to develop a series of narratives that go far beyond the established figures and movements traditionally associated with abstract art.

Each narrative is complemented by a number of 'featured' abstract works, which provide an in-depth illustration of the breadth of Karmel's distinctive vision. A wide-ranging examination of topics - from embryos to the surface of skin, from vortexes to waves, planets to star charts, towers to windows - is interwoven with detailed analysis of works by established figures like Joan Miro and Jackson Pollock alongside pieces by lesser-known artists such as Wu Guanzhong, Hilma af Klint and Odili Donald Odita.

Details
  • Author: Pepe Karmel
  • Hardcover: 344 pages | 256 illustrations
  • Date published: October 2020
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0500239582
  • Product Dimensions: 31.6 x 25.0 cm