American Images: The SBC Collection of Twemtieth-Century American Art

Betsy Fahlman, Editor ABRAMS $59.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8109-1969-3
Featuring 13 essays by art historians, critics and curators wrapped around 166 color plates and 364 black-and-white photographs, this serendipitous catalogue of telecommunication giant SBC Inc.'s corporate art collection selectively chronicles the pluralistic concerns of 20th-century American art, from George Bellows and Childe Hassam to Robert Longo's provocative explorations of gender identity, Neil Welliver's crystal-clear semiabstract landscapes and William Wegman's wildly humorous photographic dog portraits. Rutgers professor Matthew Baigell groups Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hopper, Charles Burchfield and Milton Avery as artists who probed the national character by focusing on the American scene. Eminent critic Dore Ashton charts the New York School's emergence in works by Pollock, de Kooning, Gorky, arguing that abstract expressionism's guiding philosophy was respect for each individual as a reservoir of feelings and images. Other essays explore pop art's debt to happenings, minimalism's reductive aesthetics, Ashcan school realism, African American and Hispanic art. Carlos Almaraz's powerful symbolist serigraph Greed and Pat Steir's marvelously evocative white-on-black oil Waterfall of Ancient Ghosts typify the diversity of the current scene. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
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