The preface to this new reference work starts out with a vigorous claim for answering "the need for a comprehensive, convenient source of biographical, critical, and bibliographical information on world artists." What it offers is a selective anthology of critical writings on 25 modern artists. Clearly, the premise for such an enterprise is laudable; the execution is still somewhat in doubt. This first volume presents reprinted writings by and about 13 painters, five photographers, four sculptors, one architect (Frank Lloyd Wright--who else?), and two others with differing labels--one wonders if Romare Bearden would have been happy with the tag of "collagist." The added entries necessary for just this first volume are a cataloger's nightmare. However, the sections for each artist do provide basic accumulations of biographical and critical data in the same scatty format reminiscent of the Contemporary Artists editions. It will be interesting to see future volumes of this ambitious series; the organization and selection are cumbersome, while the bibliographic section is perhaps the most useful. This is primarily for academic libraries, with the above reservations.
- Paula A. Bax ter, NYPL
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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