A Sweeper-Up After Artists: A Memoir

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9780500238134: A Sweeper-Up After Artists: A Memoir

Irving Sandler has been a friend or acquaintance of virtually every important American artist of the postwar period, and his art criticism and books constitute the first and most comprehensive critical and historical account of this extraordinary time. There is no one else whose personal chronicle is also the living memory of the New York art world, from abstract expressionism to the present day. Beginning in 1952, his memoir captures the anguished intensity of the period, with World War II an immediate memory and the imminence of nuclear disaster an everyday presence. The book features striking encounters with Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Ad Reinhardt, Barnett Newman and David Smith. Sandler was also a witness to, and sometimes participant in, the heated critical warfare between Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg. We watch the first generation of abstract expressionists give way to a second, and see that in turn succeeded by the artists of the 1960s ? Stella, Rauschenberg and Johns ? to be followed by pop and minimalism. At every turn, there was Irving Sandler, intimately conversant with the art and artists. In this memoir, critical judgments and personal experience are intertwined.

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About the Author:

Irving Sandler's four-volume history of postwar American art includes The Triumph of American Painting, The New York School, American Art of the 1960s, and Art of the Postmodern Era. He was the manager of The Club of the Abstract Expressionists, a cofounder of Artists' Space, and is currently the Chairman of the Artists' Advisory Committee of the Sharpe Foundation.

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The title of distinguished art critic Sandler's piquantly conversational memoir is from a poem by Frank O'Hara and provides a clue to Sandler's candid and humble recognition that as valuable as a critic's work is, it is secondary to the artist's. After experiencing an epiphany while looking at a painting by Franz Kline, Sandler soon became witness to and champion of New York's avant-garde art world, crucial roles he played to perfection for more than 40 years. The author of numerous seminal monographs, Sandler now recounts his unique and felicitous experiences in an irresistible mix of personal reminiscence and penetrating analysis, recalling how his quest to understand the mysterious power of certain works of art led him to visit artists' studios, conduct interviews, direct such pivotal artists' organizations as the Tanager Gallery and the Club, and write countless reviews. Sandler's profiles of Wilhelm de Kooning (his hero), Philip Guston, Alex Katz, and many others are as discerning as they are vivid, and the invaluable insider knowledge he shares brilliantly illuminates a world-changing era in the annals of creativity. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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