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Magdalena Abakanowicz

Magdalena Abakanowicz

by Barbara Rose

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Though her name may not be familiar to the average museumgoer, the work of Abakanowicz-represented in collections worldwide-is unforgettable. Her monumental textiles-crowds of limbless or headless bodies and anthropomorphic ropes-created an aesthetic vocabulary for contemporary art. Polish-born Abakanowicz was able to circumvent the harsh realities of the Communist regime by working in textiles and other traditional ``craft'' materials. Noted art historian Rose's comprehensive critical analysis of Abakanowicz's transformation of weaving and other ``crafts'' into fine art and of how the artist can reflect the human condition using overt political references supports Rose's bracketing of Abakanowicz with Picasso and Jackson Pollock. Extensively illustrated, the work also includes a chronology and list of Abakanowicz's exhibitions. Highly recommended for collections with a fine arts interest.-Martin R. Kalfatovic, Natl. Museum of American Art/Natl. Portrait Gallery Lib., Smithsonian Inst., Washington, D.C.
Donna Seaman
Noteworthy art historian Rose presents a vibrant and evocative portrait of the great Polish sculptor Abakanowicz. Rose draws upon the many interviews she conducted with the artist over several years to give us a sense of Abakanowicz's voice and personality, but it is the wrenching facts of her life that provide us with the best key to her startlingly original art. Born in 1930 to parents of ancient aristocratic lineage, Abakanowicz spent much of her early childhood climbing trees and passionately observing nature on their sprawling country estate, but this paradise was forever lost once Germany invaded Poland. Victims of violence, the family fled to Warsaw. By the time Abakanowicz was ready for college, she had witnessed countless scenes of suffering, torment she would never forget. Concealing her past from the Communist regime, she enrolled in art school where she quickly rebelled against the rigidity of socialist realism, working right from the start on a grand scale and exploring alternate materials. Her quest led her to fiber and her revolutionary transformation of a craft into a "new vocabulary of expression." Abakanowicz's highly textured, penetrable, and organic fiber sculptures were as complete a break with tradition as her being uprooted by war was a severing from her past. In four decades of courageous and inspired sculpture-making, Abakanowicz has continuously expressed her conscientious objection to war and brutality while affirming her deep and abiding compassion.

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Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
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9.90(w) x 11.25(h) x 1.01(d)

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