American artist Al Held once said "the best abstract painting transforms its formal qualities into metaphors for truths unavailable to direct perception." As a pioneer of the Hard-edge movement, Held aimed to simplify complex phenomena to its constituent elements — color, line and form.
Following the recent Al Held: The Sixties exhibition at White Cube in London, the gallery published a new monograph covering 50 years of his iconic career. Starting with Held's early Pigment series of the late-1950s, progressing all the way up to his well-known Alphabet and Black and White studies.
Throughout each, Held imbued the concept of inclusivity within his work — reducing formal elements to "an art that combined diverse and often contradictory elements and which, thereby, would yield metaphors for contemporary reality in all its plurality, complexity, and ambiguity," according to art critic and historian, Irving Sandler.
The monograph also includes a 1982 interview Sandler conducted with the artist, which recounts their close friendship, along with several contributions from former students, such as Michael Craig-Martin.
Designed by Jonathan Hares, Al Held: Selected Works 1956–2004 is one of the recipients of The Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2021, awarded in 2022. The monograph spans 172 pages, including 133 color illustrations and is available to purchase for $88 USD at White Cube.
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