ISBN: HB: 9780300254020

Yale University Press

February 2022

224 pp.

25.4x20.3 cm

76 colour illus., 17 black&white illus.



Radical Form

Modernist Abstraction in South America

Emphasizing the open-ended and self-critical nature of the projects of abstraction in South America from the 1930s through the mid-1960s, this important new volume focuses on the artistic practices of Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Tomas Maldonado, Alejandro Otero, and Lygia Clark. Megan A. Sullivan positions the adoption of modernist abstraction by South American artists as part of a larger critique of the economic and social transformations caused by Latin America's state-led programs of rapid industrialization. Sullivan thoughtfully explores the diverse ways this skepticism of modernization and social and political change was expressed. Ultimately, the book makes it clear that abstraction in South America was understood not as an artistic style to be followed but as a means to imagine a universalist mode of art, a catalyst for individual and collective agency, and a way to express a vision of a better future for South American society.

About the Author

Megan A. Sullivan is assistant professor in the Department of Art History and the College at the University of Chicago.