New Release Books by Jed Perl

Jed Perl is the author of Authority and Freedom (2022), Calder: The Conquest of Space (2020), Calder: The Conquest of Time (2017), Paris Without End (2014) and other 8 books.

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12 results found

Authority and Freedom

release date: Jan 11, 2022
Authority and Freedom
From one of our most widely admired art critics comes a bold and timely manifesto reaffirming the independence of all the arts—musical, literary, and visual—and their unique and unparalleled power to excite, disturb, and inspire us. As people look to the arts to promote a particular ideology, whether radical, liberal, or conservative, Jed Perl argues that the arts have their own laws and logic, which transcend the controversies of any one moment. “Art’s relevance,” he writes, “has everything to do with what many regard as its irrelevance.” Authority and Freedom will find readers from college classrooms to foundation board meetings—wherever the arts are confronting social, political, and economic ferment and heated debates about political correctness and cancel culture. Perl embraces the work of creative spirits as varied as Mozart, Michelangelo, Jane Austen, Henry James, Picasso, and Aretha Franklin. He contends that the essence of the arts is their ability to free us from fixed definitions and categories. Art is inherently uncategorizable—that’s the key to its importance. Taking his stand with artists and thinkers ranging from W. H. Auden to Hannah Arendt, Perl defends works of art as adventuresome dialogues, simultaneously dispassionate and impassioned. He describes the fundamental sense of vocation—the engagement with the tools and traditions of a medium—that gives artists their purpose and focus. Whether we’re experiencing a poem, a painting, or an opera, it’s the interplay between authority and freedom—what Perl calls “the lifeblood of the arts”—that fuels the imaginative experience. This book will be essential reading for everybody who cares about the future of the arts in a democratic society.

Calder: The Conquest of Space

release date: Apr 14, 2020
Calder: The Conquest of Space
The concluding volume to the first biography of one of the most important, influential, and beloved twentieth-century sculptors, and one of the greatest artists in the cultural history of America--is a vividly written, illuminating account of his triumphant later years. The second and final volume of this magnificent biography begins during World War II, when Calder--known to all as Sandy--and his wife, Louisa, opened their home to a stream of artists and writers in exile from Europe. In the postwar decades, they divided their time between the United States and France, as Calder made his first monumental public sculptures and received blockbuster commissions that included Expo ''67 in Montreal and the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Jed Perl makes clear how Calder''s radical sculptural imagination shaped the minimalist and kinetic art movements that emerged in the 1960s. And we see, as well, that through everything--their ever-expanding friendships with artists and writers of all stripes; working to end the war in Vietnam; hosting riotous dance parties at their Connecticut home; seeing the "mobile," Calder''s essential artistic invention, find its way into Webster''s dictionary--Calder and Louisa remained the risk-taking, singularly bohemian couple they had been since first meeting at the end of the Roaring Twenties. The biography ends with Calder''s death in 1976 at the age of seventy-eight--only weeks after an encyclopedic retrospective of his work opened at the Whitney Museum in New York--but leaves us with a new, clearer understanding of his legacy, both as an artist and a man.

Calder: The Conquest of Time

release date: Oct 24, 2017
Calder: The Conquest of Time
The first biography of America''s greatest twentieth-century sculptor, Alexander Calder: an authoritative and revelatory achievement, based on a wealth of letters and papers never before available, and written by one of our most renowned art critics. Alexander Calder is one of the most beloved and widely admired artists of the twentieth century. Anybody who has ever set foot in a museum knows him as the inventor of the mobile, America''s unique contribution to modern art. But only now, forty years after the artist''s death, is the full story of his life being told in this biography, which is based on unprecedented access to Calder''s letters and papers as well as scores of interviews. Jed Perl shows us why Calder was--and remains--a barrier breaker, an avant-garde artist with mass appeal. This beautifully written, deeply researched book opens with Calder''s wonderfully peripatetic upbringing in Philadelphia, California, and New York. Born in 1898 into a family of artists--his father was a well-known sculptor, his mother a painter and a pioneering feminist--Calder went on as an adult to forge important friendships with a who''s who of twentieth-century artists, including Joan Miró, Marcel Duchamp, Georges Braque, and Piet Mondrian. We move through Calder''s early years studying engineering to his first artistic triumphs in Paris in the late 1920s, and to his emergence as a leader in the international abstract avant-garde. His marriage in 1931 to the free-spirited Louisa James--she was a great-niece of Henry James--is a richly romantic story, related here with a wealth of detail and nuance. Calder''s life takes on a transatlantic richness, from New York''s Greenwich Village in the Roaring Twenties, to the Left Bank of Paris during the Depression, and then back to the United States, where the Calders bought a run-down old farmhouse in western Connecticut. New light is shed on Calder''s lifelong interest in dance, theater, and performance, ranging from the Cirque Calder, the theatrical event that became his calling card in bohemian Paris to collaborations with the choreographer Martha Graham and the composer Virgil Thomson. More than 350 illustrations in color and black-and-white--including little-known works and many archival photographs that have never before been seen--further enrich the story.

Paris Without End

release date: Jun 24, 2014
Paris Without End
This brilliant blend of history, biography, and criticism explores the seminal figures of twentieth-century French art—Matisse, Picasso, Derain, Léger, Dufy, Braque, Giacometti, Balthus, and Hélion—and the vital art world in which they thrived. The ten interlocking essays in this important book include radical new evaluations of Derain, Léger, and Dufy, and penetrating studies of the final works of Picasso and Braque. Paris Without End, Jed Perl’s first book, is now celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary and is essential reading for anyone passionate about modern art. Roberta Smith called it “a quiet, cogent tour de force. . . . As one critic’s demonstration of what he considers the best in art and the best way to write about it, this book sets a high standard.” Hilton Kramer also noted, “Everyone who cares about the art of the twentieth century will find something to disagree with in this book—its many unorthodox judgments are bound to be controversial—but that, in my view, is a mark of the book’s importance.”

New Art City

release date: Jun 03, 2009
New Art City
In this landmark work, Jed Perl captures the excitement of a generation of legendary artists–Jackson Pollack, Joseph Cornell, Robert Rauschenberg, and Ellsworth Kelly among them–who came to New York, mingled in its lofts and bars, and revolutionized American art. In a continuously arresting narrative, Perl also portrays such less well known figures as the galvanic teacher Hans Hofmann, the lyric expressionist Joan Mitchell, and the adventuresome realist Fairfield Porter, as well the writers, critics, and patrons who rounded out the artists’world. Brilliantly describing the intellectual crosscurrents of the time as well as the genius of dozens of artists, New Art City is indispensable for lovers of modern art and culture.

Antoine's Alphabet

release date: Sep 09, 2008
Antoine's Alphabet
Antoine Watteau, one of the most mysterious painters who ever lived, is the inspiration for this delightful investigation of the tangled relationship between art and life. Weaving together historical fact and personal reflections, the influential art critic Jed Perl reconstructs the amazing story of this pioneering bohemian artist who, although he died in 1721, when he was only thirty-six, has influenced innumerable painters and writers in the centuries since—and whose work continues to deepen our understanding of the place that love, friendship, and pleasure have in our daily lives. Perl creates an astonishing experience by gathering his reflections on this “master of silken surfaces and elusive emotions” in the form of an alphabet—a fairy tale for adults—giving us a new way to think about art. This brilliant collage of a book is a hunt for the treasure of Watteau’s life and vision that encompasses the glamour and intrigue of eighteenth-century Paris, the riotous history of Harlequin and Pierrot, and the work of such modern giants as Cézanne, Picasso, and Samuel Beckett. By turns somber and beguiling, analytical and impressionistic, Antoine’s Alphabet reaffirms the contemporary relevance of the greatest of all painters of young love and imperishable dreams. It is a book to savor, to share, to return to again and again.

Calder and Abstraction

release date: Jan 01, 2013
Calder and Abstraction
"Published in conjunction with the exhibition Calder and Abstraction: From Avant-Garde to Iconic at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California (November 24, 2013-July 6, 2014). This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in cooperation with the Calder Foundation, New York"--Colophon.

Magicians & Charlatans

release date: Jan 01, 2012
Magicians & Charlatans
"The Eakins Press Foundation is proud to announce the publication of Magicians & Charlatans, by the art critic Jed Perl. In this collection of 26 essays, Mr. Perl writes with great urgency about the art scene of the past decade. The poet John Ashbery has said that "For years Jed Perl has been covering the art world with tremendous empathy and unsparing accuracy. His ability to recognize the traditional forms of art behind their continual transmutation has made his an almost solitary, essential voice." The essays range from highly controversial critiques of the painter Gerhard Richter, the art dealer Leo Castelli, and the Museum of Modern Art, to appreciations of the art of Bernini and Chardin, and the writings of Edmund Wilson and Meyer Schapiro." -- Publisher''s description.

Calder by Matter

release date: Feb 01, 2014
Calder by Matter
Given unprecedented access to Calders work and life during the course of their friendship, acclaimed photographer and graphic designer Herbert Matter captured Calders sculptures, the artist at work in his studio and at home with his family in Roxbury, Connecticut. Calder by Matter includes original essays by esteemed art critic and Calder biographer Jed Perl, Calder Foundation President and Calder grandson Alexander S. C. Rower (editor of the volume), and Matter student and colleague John T. Hill (designer of the volume). This unique collection of over 300 images, many of which are published here for the first time, offers a new perspective on Calders oeuvre, life, and creative process. Calder by Matter has been published in direct collaboration with the Calder Foundation.

A Culture in the Making

release date: Jan 01, 2006

Gallery Going

release date: Jan 01, 1991
Gallery Going
Examines the art scene of the late 1980s

Louisa Matthiasdottir, Small Paintings

release date: Jan 01, 1986
12 results found


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