Painting Beyond Pollock

Morgan Falconer. Phaidon, $79.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7148-6877-6
In this engrossing survey, art critic Falconer charts the diverse development of painting schools and techniques in Western art since the middle of the 20th century. Artists have continuously both rejected and reclaimed painting following the radical innovations of Jackson Pollock. As the generous reproductions of pivotal works attest here, the conflicted role of painting (often seen as old-fashioned) in the contemporary art world has resulted not in stale styles, but in an incredible diversity of techniques and aesthetics, from neo-expressionism and pop to radically revised interpretations of figuration and abstraction. Expected figures like Willem de Kooning and Jean-Michel Basquiat receive attention, as do some less recognizable names, such as German abstractionist Blinky Palermo. Falconer uses brief essays, many only a few pages long, to contextualize the philosophies, motivations, and techniques of multiple artists under headings such as "Monochromes and Achromes" or "Expanded Painting." The effect is a fast-moving, highly informative, and accessible tour, with individual works and artists placed among broader impulses and schools—an education that is deepened by over 250 smartly chosen images. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 04/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
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