Cover image for Hunt Slonem : an art rich and strange
Hunt Slonem : an art rich and strange
Kuspit, Donald B. (Donald Burton), 1935-
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : H.N. Abrams, 2002.
Physical Description:
167 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 31 cm
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Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6537.S577 A4 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



The First Monograph On this fast rising artist best known for his giant paintings inspired by personal aviary of tropical birds who share his vast Chelsea loft.

Author Notes

Donald Kuspit is one of America's most distinguished art critics. He is Professor of Art History at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Andrew White Professor at Large at Cornell University. He has won the prestigious Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism, awarded by the College Art Association, and the Citation for Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts, awarded by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. He is a Contributing Editor of Artforum; Sculpture; and New Art Examiner magazines, and Editor of Art Criticism journal

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

A splendidly produced book brimming with colorplates befits the art of Slonem, a painter working primarily in oils to create richly gestural, energetically rendered canvases focusing most arrestingly on an atmospheric realm populated by a flurry of macaws and toucans, tigers, chimps, and rabbits. The excitement generated by the artist's powerful oeuvre merits a sentient interpretation, which Kuspit, a prominent critic of contemporary art, deftly provides in a stimulating discourse on artistic concerns that move beyond the decorative. Pointing to Slonem's particular reverence for birds and other creatures, Kuspit engages readers in the metaphorical nature of the work, which includes murals, mixed media sculpture, and characterful portraits of saints and movie stars. In life, Slonem's space is filled with hundreds of real birds and voluptuous furnishings hearkening to another era. In art, Slonem goes beyond the range of unparalleled expressionist colorist Kokoschka. In paintings such as Ocelots (1999), where images of sleek cats meld into a rich impasto of all-over patterning, Slonem's masterful brushwork also speaks volumes on our fragile environment. Alice Joyce.

Library Journal Review

Well-known art critic Kuspit (SUNY at Stony Brook; The Rebirth of Painting in the Late Twentieth Century) presents New York painter Slonem (b. 1951) in an opulent book that reflects the artist's own work. Slonem's numinous paintings reveal the world around him, which includes his vast collection of exotic birds, ocelots, and other wildlife, as well as celebrities, saints, and "higher beings." The bold choice of color and a working toward the spiritual create a strong radiance in the paintings, reproductions of which are large enough to allow the viewer to appreciate the brush strokes, work in situ, and more. Images of the artwork are interspersed with images of Slonem's New York living quarters, giving the reader insight into the daily visual stimulation and lighting that triggers his hand. A short biographical outline, list of exhibitions, selected bibliography, and index of plates are included after the plates themselves. The book is a visual feast, but it lacks Kuspit's usual exacting analysis and criticism, providing only approximately 15 pages of essay text. He chooses instead to let the artwork speak for itself. This first comprehensive retrospective on Slonem is recommended for larger public libraries and those specializing in contemporary art or art history. Nadine Dalton Speidel, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Distinguished art critic and art historian Kuspit, winner of the prestigious Frank Jewett Mather Award for distinction in art criticism awarded by the College Art Association, has prepared this beautifully designed book that well represents the work of artist Slonem. This first full-scale retrospective of Slonem's work includes not only the myriad facets of this artist's work but also his studio, which is a work of art in itself. It is filled with a variety of birds and plants in richly hued rooms with ornamental antiques, an alternative to urban environment. Slonem has great respect for birds as spiritual beings acting as intermediaries between heaven and earth, symbols of the beyond. Catholic Latin American and pagan Hollywood figures in his paintings come from hothouse societies with a stake in emotions, sometimes at the expense of reflections. Kuspit points out that there is a forced naivete--a cultivated innocence--in Slonem's style as there is in the work of Rousseau and Hicks when they abandon high style to generate a fresh look. As in the modernist painting of Matisse, Slonem's work is sublimely decorative. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. M. Kren Kansas State University

Table of Contents

Donald Kuspit
Hunt Slonem: Birds of Paradise and Other Higher Beingsp. 13
The Platesp. 55
Biographical Outlinep. 159
Bibliographyp. 160
Collectionsp. 165
Index of Platesp. 166