Texas Abstract: Modern + Contemporary

The appearance of abstraction in Texas in the 1930s, the development of its various currents into the 1960s, and its continued relevance in present day contemporary art is the expansive topic of Texas Abstract: Modern / Contemporary. An unprecedented attempt to reconcile the historic mid-twentieth century abstraction in Texas with the vibrant contemporary abstract scene flourishing now in the early twenty-first century, this book documents the unexpected role Texas played in the history of abstraction, and continues to play in the contemporary art world today.

The first section of the book focuses on the appearance of abstract painting in Texas and is divided between four stylistic phases: Cubist-related Abstraction, Abstract Surrealism, Abstraction, and Abstract Expressionism. One key revelation in the case of Abstract Surrealism is that the work of artists active in the late 1930s to the early 1950s in Texas, and particularly in Houston, was as advanced stylistically as any abstract painting being done anywhere in America at that time. The importance of these historic artists has only been recognized recently as a result of increasing scholarly interest in the subject in Texas and beyond.

The second section of the book examines the contemporary work of over thirty of Texas’ most significant contemporary abstractionists. Although the historic discussion is limited to painting, these artists are working not only in painting, but in sculpture, installation, and a number of other mediums. Unlike the historic Texas artists, who participated in fairly isolated scenes in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston, as well as in a number of smaller Texas cities or towns, today’s abstract artists are also integrated into the context of international contemporary art, as were only a few of their historic predecessors in the art history of the Lone Star State.

Texas Abstract: Modern / Contemporary is co-authored by Michael Paglia and Jim Edwards. Paglia, curator of the book, chose the artists and the works included in both the historic and contemporary sections. Edwards wrote the individual profiles on each of the included contemporary artists. Lavishly illustrated with over 200 color images, Texas Abstract: Modern / Contemporary, exemplifies the high standards of Fresco Books.

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