In Boston Modern, Judith Bookbinder firmly establishes Boston figurative expressionism as an integral part of American modernism, one that presents an alternative approach to the trajectory of abstract art in the turbulent decades bracketing the Second World War. The works of the movement's most remarkable artists boldly confront issues of personal and group identity in the modern world, consider the role of the artist as witness to violence, prejudice, and corruption in modern society, and intricately reinterpret the nature of the creative process and its formal and spatial implications. Within Boston's unique and surprisingly receptive Anglo-Saxon and academic tradition, Karl Zerbe, Hyman Bloom, Jack Levine, David Aronson, Philip Guston, and others, many of whom were Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe or their children, struggled to clarify their identities as outsiders in an insider's world and as modern artists. Although at first critically and popularly well received throughout the country, Boston figurative expressionists were increasingly marginalized by the development of abstract modernism centered in New York. <br><br>However, by giving voice to the ethos of a community in flux, the movement continues to inspire artists today. The vibrant dialogue the group established between their individual perspectives and the aesthetic conventions taught at Boston's academic institutions is here at last given the prominent treatment it deserves. Lavishly illustrated and skillfully presented, Boston Modern definitively challenges widely accepted notions of modernist discourse in American art history.
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