Art Attack: A Short Cultural History of the Avant-Garde
Marc Aronson. Clarion Books, $24 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-395-79729-7
Aronson combines traditional art historical narrative with his personal passion for all of the arts to make a convincing case that pop art, surrealism, dadaism, cubism, abstract expressionism--and all the other ""isms""of convention-defying avant-garde art--can be intelligible to young readers. Ambitious yet accessible, this volume describes virtually every artistic movement challenging the social, political and cultural status quo from the 1830s to the present, each within its historical context--from the bohemians of 19th-century Paris to the Generation Xers and cybertechies of today. Scores of excellent black-and-white illustrations emphasize Aronson's points without distracting from the challenging text, and augment the lucid and compelling discussion. The author threads throughout the book suggestions for musical accompaniment ranging from Scott Joplin to Philip Glass and Sinead O'Connor, as well as literary references to Rimbaud and Kerouac, among others, and to the World Wide Web, and subtly portrays a multifaceted artistic movement awaiting the next generation's imprint. Critically acute yet tenderly sympathetic toward adolescent (and adult) curiosities, this survey will amply reward the adventurous, passionate and precocious reader. Ages 11-up. (June) FYI: For more information on the book, check out this Web site: http://freenet.vcu. edu/education/literature/artattack.html.
Reviewed on: 04/20/1998