Ad Reinhardt, by Michael Corris, Reaktion Books, January 2008, £25.00

 

Ad Reinhardt, by Michael Corris, Reaktion Books, MINUS SPACE, Brooklyn

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Born in Buffalo, New York, Ad Reinhardt (1913–1967) was a highly influential pioneer of conceptual and minimal art. His influence as teacher, writer, activist and critic was as significant as his art – Reinhardt taught at Brooklyn College from 1947 to 1967, and during this time also lectured at the California School of Fine Arts, the University of Wyoming, Yale University and Hunter College, New York. In latter times Ad Reinhardt has largely fallen out of the spotlight, and in this much-needed book Michael Corris gives a comprehensive account of the artist’s life, works and contributions to modern art. 

An artist with definite political beliefs, Ad Reinhardt immersed himself in the vibrant left-wing political and cultural circles of the 1930s and ’40s, only to find himself marginalized by the social and cultural conservatism that arose in postwar America. Corris examines Reinhardt’s art in this historical context, tracking the development of his entire oeuvre, ranging from his abstract paintings to his popular graphic artwork, which took the form of illustrations and cartoons. Ad Reinhardt also evaluates Reinhardt’s role in the art world as younger artists created successive avant-garde movements, such as Minimal and Conceptual art, and the impact his political beliefs ultimately had on his reputation and reception in the art world. This long-awaited book is a major contribution not only to Reinhardt scholarship, but also to the history of contemporary art in America.