Brand-New and Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s
By Diana Tuite
Celebrating an experimental decade in the career of Alex Katz, this book introduces audiences to a relatively unknown body of his work. Coming of age as an artist in the 1950s, Alex Katz set out to reinvent representational painting in the wake of Abstract Expressionism. At first, Katz struggled to find an audience, destroying hundreds of canvases. This book surveys the artwork that survived from this momentous decade, one in which he first painted outdoors, innovated with collages, and met Ada del Moro, his wife and muse. The essays in this book contextualize Katz’s painting, consider how he and his peers looked at one another, mined 19th-century portraiture, and borrowed from television, advertising, and cinema. The result is a fascinating study of a young artist laying the groundwork for an astonishingly successful career. Fans of Katz will be inspired by the radicality of his early work, and those being introduced to the artist will be struck by its freshness and relevance.