Cover image for Bob Thompson
Title:
Bob Thompson
Author:
Golden, Thelma.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Whitney Museum of American Art ; Berkeley : University of California Press, [1998]

©1998
Physical Description:
200 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 30 cm
General Note:
Exhibition held at the Whitney Museum of American Art, September 25, 1998-January 3, 1999.
Language:
English
Added Corporate Author:
ISBN:
9780874271157

9780520212596

9780520212602
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library ND237.T5519 A4 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
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Central Library ND237.T5519 A4 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
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On Order

Summary

Summary

Bob Thompson (1937-1966) was a figurative expressionist painter active in literary, musical, and artistic circles in New York and Europe from the late 1950s until his death in 1966. In the first book devoted solely to Thompson, the life and work of this pivotal figure in modern American art history and African American culture receive the attention they deserve.


Summary

Bob Thompson (1937-1966) was a figurative expressionist painter active in literary, musical, and artistic circles in New York and Europe from the late 1950s until his death in 1966. In the first book devoted solely to Thompson, the life and work of this pivotal figure in modern American art history and African American culture receive the attention they deserve.

Judith Wilson situates Bob Thompson within the context of both contemporary artistic production and cultural trends of the fifties and sixties. She uses interviews, Thompson's diary entries and letters to his family, and his work to give a thoughtful and thorough interpretation of his art and persona. She traces Thompson's development--psychologically, socially, and artistically--effectively portraying his first encounters with art and bohemian culture and his intensely active period in Europe shortly before his death in Rome at the age of 29.

Bob Thompson's life intersects several important currents in recent American culture, and his work reveals an unfinished quest for communal identity, says Wilson. His use of postmodern techniques of appropriation and pastiche embraced both the Western tradition and cultural resources specific to the African American experience. The publication of Bob Thompson recognizes the important role of the artist in the vanguard of twentieth-century American art.


Author Notes

Thelma Golden is curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art and was the organizer of the exhibition Bob Thompson . Judith Wilson is Assistant Professor of History of Art at Yale University and was also an advisor to the Thompson exhibition.


Reviews 6

Booklist Review

In the predominantly white world of abstract expressionism, the black painter Bob Thompson has always stood out as a fascinating anomaly. He was a "black" artist in a time when "Negro" art was au courante. He was a "figurative expressionist" painter well after the art world had displaced figure painting in favor of pure abstraction. And he was an appropriator of classic Western art before the act of appropriation became its current hip form of cultural critique. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1937, Thompson moved to New York in the late '50s and soon joined up with other Lower East Side hipsters, such as Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi Jones, Ornette Coleman, and Red Grooms. He spent the '60s studying Renaissance masterworks and working in Europe until his death in Rome from a drug overdose at the age of 29. This comprehensive catalog showcases Thompson's art--intense and emotional works that blend abstract figuration with abstract expressionism, the jazz sensibility with rhythm and blues, and Western art traditions with the black experience. The catalog accompanies a major retrospective on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. --Veronica Scrol


Library Journal Review

African American painter Bob Thompson (1937-66) achieved renown during a brief career in the late 1950s and early 1960s. While the black artists of the Harlem Renaissance and the WPA projects of the 1920s and 1930s and those of the black consciousness movement of the late 1960s and 1970s are now well known, the role of Thompson's generation has been largely overlooked. An active participant in the jazz, literary, and poetry culture of the Beats, Thompson combined rich color, abstract figures, the appropriation of European art historical imagery, and expressions of his racial experiences. This catalog of a retrospective show explores his eight years of productivity through biographical essays, color reproductions, and iconographic analyses. A valuable contribution to the documentation of African American art history that belongs in any library with an interest in art or ethnic studies.‘Eugene C. Burt, Art Inst. of Seattle Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Among art historians, Wilson and Golden are most qualified to work on this study of Thompson, an African-American painter who was a key part of the New York art scene in the early 1960s. Wilson (Univ. of California at Irvine) wrote her dissertation on Thompson 20 years ago and has been behind most of the efforts to keep his memory alive since his tragic death in 1966 at age 29. Golden has written about, and curated exhibitions on, numerous African-American artists, among them Romare Bearden and Carrie Mae Weems. Wilson and Golden do an excellent job of showing how Thompson was affected by the artistic environment in which he lived, and how the young painter was starting to affect the art world just before he died. Wilson and Golden were assisted by Carol Plenda Thompson, Thompson's widow, and Shamim Momin of the Whitney Museum of American Art, where an exhibition of Thompson's works was held from September 25, 1998, to January 3, 1999. Nearly 200 works by Thompson in full color, with rare photographs of the artist at work and play in the early '60s. Highly recommended. All levels. M. W. Sullivan; Villanova University


Booklist Review

In the predominantly white world of abstract expressionism, the black painter Bob Thompson has always stood out as a fascinating anomaly. He was a "black" artist in a time when "Negro" art was au courante. He was a "figurative expressionist" painter well after the art world had displaced figure painting in favor of pure abstraction. And he was an appropriator of classic Western art before the act of appropriation became its current hip form of cultural critique. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1937, Thompson moved to New York in the late '50s and soon joined up with other Lower East Side hipsters, such as Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi Jones, Ornette Coleman, and Red Grooms. He spent the '60s studying Renaissance masterworks and working in Europe until his death in Rome from a drug overdose at the age of 29. This comprehensive catalog showcases Thompson's art--intense and emotional works that blend abstract figuration with abstract expressionism, the jazz sensibility with rhythm and blues, and Western art traditions with the black experience. The catalog accompanies a major retrospective on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. --Veronica Scrol


Library Journal Review

African American painter Bob Thompson (1937-66) achieved renown during a brief career in the late 1950s and early 1960s. While the black artists of the Harlem Renaissance and the WPA projects of the 1920s and 1930s and those of the black consciousness movement of the late 1960s and 1970s are now well known, the role of Thompson's generation has been largely overlooked. An active participant in the jazz, literary, and poetry culture of the Beats, Thompson combined rich color, abstract figures, the appropriation of European art historical imagery, and expressions of his racial experiences. This catalog of a retrospective show explores his eight years of productivity through biographical essays, color reproductions, and iconographic analyses. A valuable contribution to the documentation of African American art history that belongs in any library with an interest in art or ethnic studies.‘Eugene C. Burt, Art Inst. of Seattle Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Among art historians, Wilson and Golden are most qualified to work on this study of Thompson, an African-American painter who was a key part of the New York art scene in the early 1960s. Wilson (Univ. of California at Irvine) wrote her dissertation on Thompson 20 years ago and has been behind most of the efforts to keep his memory alive since his tragic death in 1966 at age 29. Golden has written about, and curated exhibitions on, numerous African-American artists, among them Romare Bearden and Carrie Mae Weems. Wilson and Golden do an excellent job of showing how Thompson was affected by the artistic environment in which he lived, and how the young painter was starting to affect the art world just before he died. Wilson and Golden were assisted by Carol Plenda Thompson, Thompson's widow, and Shamim Momin of the Whitney Museum of American Art, where an exhibition of Thompson's works was held from September 25, 1998, to January 3, 1999. Nearly 200 works by Thompson in full color, with rare photographs of the artist at work and play in the early '60s. Highly recommended. All levels. M. W. Sullivan; Villanova University


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