cover image Modern Art Explorer

Modern Art Explorer

Alice Harman, illus. by Serge Bloch. Thames & Hudson, $19.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-500-65220-6

This insouciant guide to pieces from Paris’s Centre Pompidou—“this huuuge modern building covered in brightly colored pipes” that features “no old stuff”—focuses on 30 works, each reproduced in the text. Reflecting art-world bias, white European men are overrepresented; a third of the works are by women, and five are by people of color. In dedicated spreads, Harman presents an accessible mix of history and interpretation spiked with saucy asides—for example, of Picasso’s sexism: “The thing is, people can be total geniuses at some things while being really dumb about other things.” Bloch’s jazzily hip illustrations use collage-like elements and sinuous line-drawn cartoons to creatively remix motifs found in the works—Piet Mondrian tiptoes atop a blocklike grid city, and a small figure is wrapped in winding strands of yarn, à la Sheila Hicks. Appealing and informative. Ages 9–12. (Oct.)