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The Avant-Garde Won’t Give Up: Cobra and Its Legacy

The Avant-Garde Won’t Give Up: Cobra and Its Legacy

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This definitive volume on the renowned postwar avant-garde artistic movement offers a comprehensive insight into Cobra’s history and achievements, and explores its lasting influences on contemporary art.

The European artists’ collective known as Cobra was born amid the devastation left by World War II, its name an acronym for the native cities of its founders: Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam. This group of painters, sculptors, and poets had a tremendous influence on the development of postwar European art and contemporary art in general. Cobra was arguably the longest running avant-garde movement of the twentieth century. Moving chronologically, this book explores the years leading up to Cobra’s formation, charts its complex expansion over a decade, and illuminates how the movement helped shape the trajectory of art today. Numerous images of artworks, many presented as full-page color illustrations, accompany essays by a new generation of scholars, who probe the group’s ideological hallmarks: its rejection of rational constraints, its focus on play and youthful exuberance, and its embrace of spontaneity, particularly in the form of “action” paintings. In addition, comprehensive biographies illuminate crucial aspects of each artist’s journey, helping to expand readers’ understanding of Europe’s sociopolitical and intellectual climate. 

Edited by curator Alison M. Gingeras, with new critical essays by Gingeras, Karen Kurczynski, Kerry Greaves, and Marie Godet, this book pays tribute to the movement’s enduring aesthetic and conceptual influence on artists working today, casting its view beyond the formal ending of Cobra in 1951.

Physical description:
Hardcover; 224 pages
Los Angeles: Blum & Poe, 2017
ISBN: 978-3-7913-5509-2
9 x 11 inches
Weight: 3 lbs.

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