Release Date:01 Mar 2019

The Arc of Abstraction

Rutgers University Press
Where do we begin to talk about abstract art? This question depends on one’s worldview. From the point of view of the collection included in this book, the arc of abstraction is very broad, sweeping and multivalent. The essays included here take an open view of the story of abstraction, reflecting the variation and diversity of American art included in the holdings of the Newark Museum. The museum gave avant-garde abstraction an early American home, exhibiting the works of painter Max Weber in 1913. Yet abstraction’s American roots extend earlier as seen in indigenous objects as well.

Donald Kuspit discusses America’s earliest abstract painter Arthur Dove and the innovations of Georgia O’Keefe, Joseph Stella, Morgan Russell, and Alexander Calder who all “convey abstraction’s ambivalent consciousness of nature and its unconscious attempt to recover the self.”

The Arc of Abstraction is lavishly illustrated with over 80 full-color images of works by a broad array of abstract artists including Ad Reinhardt, Phillip K. Smith, III, Philip Guston, Isamu Noguchi, Romare Howard Bearden, Stuart Davis, Louise Nevelson, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko, Melvin Edwards, and Joaquín Torres-García. Expert commentary by Ulysses Grant Dietz, Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Gabriel Dawe, Jalena Louise Jampolsky, Marela Zacarias, Tarin Fuller, William L. Coleman, Souleo, Tricia Laughlin Bloom, and Kay WalkingStick provides important insights to help readers understand the nature and significance of the artwork.

Published by Newark Museum. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Tricia Laughlin Bloom is Curator of American Art at the Newark Museum, a position she has held since 2015. She is the curator and project director for Seeing America, the reinstallation of the Museum’s modern and contemporary galleries. Previously Bloom was Associate Curator of Exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum.
Donald Kuspit, an art critic and poet, is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of art history and philosophy at SUNY Stony Brook and a former professor of art history at the School of Visual Arts, New York. He is the author of Psychodrama: Modern Art as Group Therapy (2010) and The End of Art (2005), among many other books.
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