November 2014
10.125 x 11.375
248 pages
80 color plates
Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-934491-46-1


Purchase price: $85.00

 

 

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Texas Abstract

Modern / Contemporary

 

The appearance of abstraction in Texas in the 1930s, the development of its various currents into the 1960s, and its continued relevance in present day contemporary art is the expansive topic of Texas Abstract: Modern / Contemporary. An unprecedented attempt to reconcile the historic mid-twentieth century abstraction in Texas with the vibrant contemporary abstract scene flourishing now in the early twenty-first century, this book documents the unexpected role Texas played in the history of abstraction, and continues to play in the contemporary art world today.

The first section of the book focuses on the appearance of abstract painting in Texas and is divided between four stylistic phases: Cubist-related Abstraction, Abstract Surrealism, Abstraction, and Abstract Expressionism. One key revelation in the case of Abstract Surrealism is that the work of artists active in the late 1930s to the early 1950s in Texas, and particularly in Houston, was as advanced stylistically as any abstract painting being done anywhere in America at that time. The importance of these historic artists has only been recognized recently as a result of increasing scholarly interest in the subject in Texas and beyond.

The second section of the book examines the contemporary work of over thirty of Texas’ most significant contemporary abstractionists. Although the historic discussion is limited to painting, these artists are working not only in painting, but in sculpture, installation, and a number of other mediums. Unlike the historic Texas artists, who participated in fairly isolated scenes in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston, as well as in a number of smaller Texas cities or towns, today’s abstract artists are also integrated into the context of international contemporary art, as were only a few of their historic predecessors in the art history of the Lone Star State.

Texas Abstract: Modern / Contemporary is co-authored by Michael Paglia and Jim Edwards. Paglia, curator of the book, chose the artists and the works included in both the historic and contemporary sections. Edwards wrote the individual profiles on each of the included contemporary artists. Lavishly illustrated with over 200 color images, Texas Abstract: Modern / Contemporary, exemplifies the high standards of Fresco Books.

Michael Paglia, who served as curator and co-author, is a well-known art writer who has made a specialty of the documentation, examination, and explication of modern and contemporary art in the American West. Following that course over the last twenty-five years Paglia has published numerous articles, essays, monographs, and books and has written and co-produced documentaries that explore the topic. His weekly column appears in Denver’s Westword, a Voice Media publication, and he is a contributing editor to Art ltd magazine based in Los Angeles. Texas Abstract: Modern / Contemporary is a follow-up to Paglia’s well-received Colorado Abstract: Paintings and Sculpture, which he co-authored with Mary Voelz Chandler, and which was also published by Fresco Books. In both of these books, Paglia has been principally interested, as he has in much of his other work, in describing regional variants of abstraction occurring in the Southwest, with the goal of integrating these variations into the broader narrative of the history of American art.

Jim Edwards received his Master of Fine Art degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1969 and was a Rockefeller Fellow in Museum Education and Community Studies, 1973-74. In his long career as a curator and art writer, he has organized over one-hundred art exhibitions throughout the American West. He has spent twenty-four years working in Texas and has curated exhibitions across the state, including the Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, the Nave Museum, Victoria, San Antonio Museum of Art, Blue Star Art Space, San Antonio, Austin Museum of Art, San Angelo Museum of Art, Diverseworks, Houston, Houston Baptist University and The Menil Collection, Houston. Many of these exhibitions traveled to other venues in Texas and beyond. Edwards lives in San Francisco, California and Houston, Texas.

Front cover: Howard Sherman
Sportsmanship is for Suckers (detail)

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