ARTBOOK BLOG

RECENT POSTS

DATE 3/7/2024

Rizzoli Bookstore presents Chloe Sherman and Noelle Flores Théard on 'Renegades: San Francisco, The 1990s'

DATE 3/6/2024

Yelena Yemchuk to launch 'Malanka' at Dashwood Books

DATE 2/27/2024

192 Books and Paula Cooper Gallery presents Robert Slifkin, Elizabeth Smith and Jacob Proctor on 'The New York Tapes'

DATE 2/26/2024

A gorgeous new book on the woodblock virtuosos of the Edo period

DATE 2/24/2024

Save 75–85% at our 2024 LA Showroom Sample Sale!

DATE 2/24/2024

Artbook at Hauser & Wirth LA Bookstore presents 'Exquisite Dreams: The Art and Life of Dorothea Tanning' with Amy Lyford and Amelia Jones

DATE 2/23/2024

In Walter Pfeiffer's 'Chez Walti,' a playful, captivating dream world

DATE 2/20/2024

The elusive practice of bootlegging, alive and well in the creative fields

DATE 2/18/2024

Artbook at Hauser & Wirth LA Bookstore presents Lisa Lapinski and Bennett Simpson launching 'Miss Swiss'

DATE 2/17/2024

Artbook @ MoMA PS1 Bookstore presents Hilton Als launching 'God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin'

DATE 2/17/2024

Artbook at Hauser & Wirth LA Bookstore presents Karen Lofgren & Carmina Escobar launching 'emBRUJAda'

DATE 2/17/2024

Arcana Books presents Yelena Yemchuk signing 'Malanka'

DATE 2/15/2024

Next-level Ellsworth Kelly


AT FIRST SIGHT

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 7/11/2013

Staff Favorite: Albert Contreras

We see a lot of books around here, and every once in a while something pops up that surprises us all. This season, the current staff favorite is Marquand Books' new monograph on the Los Angeles cult painter, Albert Contreras. Below is Dave Hickey's Foreword and a selection of images from the book.

Staff Favorite: Albert Contreras

Foreword
By Dave Hickey


Albert Contreras is one of the best painters in the world. Not only that, he deserves to be. He rode the whole rollercoaster from Los Angeles, to Mexico City, to Madrid and penultimately to Sweden, where he was a painter to be reckoned with for a decade, until he drove his minimalist agenda into a corner and quit painting for twenty-five years. He returned to Los Angeles in 1972 and then to painting early in this century. In this sense, Contreras’ career has a transient, cosmopolitan messiness that is analogous to that of Alfred Jensen, although a sane Alfred Jensen. What we see today in Contreras’ lost twenty-five years is a gradual harboring of reserves, an escalating maturity enhanced by the enthusiasm of a re-awakened teenager. Now he can do everything a teenager can’t, and bring to that accumulated skill the ebullient urgency of youth.

Staff Favorite: Albert Contreras
"Untitled" (1971), acrylic/canvas, 18x18 inches.

What I like most about Contreras’ paintings is that they are in series but not in sequences. Over the past ten years, he has rejuvenated the modest square that was so thoroughly assassinated by Joseph Albers. Should glamour, glitter or gesture fall to hand he never hesitates. In the process, Contreras paints families of paintings. One painting never updates another or renders a previous one obsolete. This is one of the gifts of maturity. Young painters develop. Mature painters dance, within the limits of a motif; each of the paintings in one of Contreras’ families bears a jostling, sibling relationship to one another.

Staff Favorite: Albert Contreras
"Untitled" (1998), acrylic/canvas, 20x26 inches

I know this because I never can pick. I want the whole family. I always want to buy a bunch of them, partly because they talk to one another but finally because Contreras’ level of excellence is so high and so steady. You never know how good they are because he so rarely makes a bad one—and, even then, you suspect it might be a good one in the long run. This also explains why Contreras is not as famous as he should be, because critics always want to say this is better than that, and Contreras is as short of failures as he is of peers. The twenty-five-year hiatus doesn’t help either, of course, but this makes his return all the more encouraging, because you want a painting that has to be there. You want a painting that arises from some sort of moral necessity, which steps with a confident smile into the hostile marketplace, and if you want that, Contreras would be your guy.

Staff Favorite: Albert Contreras
"Untitled" (2005), acrylic/canvas, 20x24 inches.

Staff Favorite: Albert Contreras
"Untitled" (2009), acrylic/panel, 20×24 inches.

Staff Favorite: Albert Contreras
"Untitled" (2009), acrylic/panel, 20x24 inches.

Staff Favorite: Albert Contreras
"Untitled" (2011), acrylic/panel, 36x36 inches.

Staff Favorite: Albert Contreras
"Untitled" (2011), acrylic/panel, 20x40 inches.

Albert Contreras

Albert Contreras

Marquand Books
Hbk, 9.25 x 11 in. / 112 pgs / 77 color.

$35.00  free shipping