Peter Selz: Sketches of a Life in Art

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University of California Press, 2012 - Architecture - 286 pages
“Peter Selz's experience and energy in the art world have led to important and challenging museum shows, and his work with Jeanne-Claude and me helped realize the Running Fence in 1976. I am happy his story is being told in this book.”


“The extraordinary career of one of the most energetic and, above all, creative figures in twentieth century art history is deftly described in this essential book.”—Dore Ashton, author of A Fable of Modern Art

“In Sketches of a Life in Art, it's clear that Peter Selz uniquely sees painting as if from within the artist himself, not as an outside observer (as when he describes the ‘internal look’ of a Mark Rothko painting). And a moving Life it is.”—Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Poet Laureate of San Francisco and author of How to Paint Sunlight

“Engaging and delightful, this book offers its readers a succession of alternative histories of modern and contemporary art, ranging from George Grosz to William Kentridge, looping back to bring in Robert Rauschenberg and Sam Francis, among many others. All reimagined in Peter Selz's ambitious curatorial imagination to delve into the moment and discover. . .classical tradition. Perhaps only Paul Karlstrom, with forty years behind him using oral history to recover the hidden stories of twentieth-century art, could have followed the mirrors and mazes of Peter Selz's career and told a story both clear and amazing. Readers will share the delight that Karlstrom discovers in his subject.”—Richard Candida Smith, author of The Modern Moves West: California Artists and Democratic Culture in the Twentieth Century


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Munich Art and Hitler
Stieglitz Rheingold and 57th Street
New Bauhaus and Early Career
Inside MoMA
From New Images of
Departure from New York
Politics Funk Sex and Finances
Students Colleagues and Controversy
Returning to Early Themes
Looking at Kentridge and Warhol
Selected Bibliography and Exhibition History

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About the author (2012)

Paul J. Karlstrom, former West Coast Regional Director of the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art, is the editor of On the Edge of America: California Modernist Art, 1900?1950 (UC Press) and a co-editor of Asian American Art: A History, 1860?1970. He is coauthor of Turning the Tide: Early Los Angeles Modernists, 1920?1956 and author of Raimonds Staprans: Art of Tranquility and Turbulence.

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