Museum Exhibition Catalogues, Monographs, Artist's Projects, Curatorial Writings and Essays
"My pictures always give me a hard time psychologically, [they] are meant as a kind of "cold shower" for other people, to make them aware of their own feelings, or 'social skin.'" Peter Saul, in a letter to Allan Frumkin, 1966, quoted in Peter Saul: A Retrospective.
Published by Bad Dimension Press. Edited with text by Dan Nadel.
An epistolary history of postwar American art through the weird and wonderful mind of Peter Saul
Painter Peter Saul (born 1934), considered one of the founding fathers of pop art but certainly not reducible to that movement, is best known for his cartoonish paintings in Day-Glo hues satirizing American culture. Saul was born and raised in Northern California, attended Washington University, lived in Europe from 1956 to 1964, and then settled in Marin County from 1964 to 1976, where he found a community and began to make his reputation.
The story of Saul’s development in these crucial years is narrated by the artist himself in Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence, 1945–1976. The letters in this volume, first to Saul’s parents and then to his dealer, Allan Frumkin, are intimate and wide-ranging, full of the same kind of observations that make Saul’s work so compelling.
Throughout this period Saul was concerned not only with making his work but also making his life as an artist. The book is therefore very much the story of an artist finding his voice and then attempting to understand and participate in “the art world,” as Saul worked first through pop, then “funk,” and then essentially created his own category. Taken together, the letters in this book form not just an autobiography of the artist, but a memoir of American art history at a critical moment.
PUBLISHER Bad Dimension Press
BOOK FORMAT Clth, 6.5 x 9 in. / 200 pgs / 20 color / 10 bw.
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 5/19/2020 Forthcoming
DISTRIBUTION D.A.P. Exclusive Catalog: SPRING 2020 p. 115
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9781942884583TRADE List Price: $29.95 CDN $41.95 GBP £27.00
AVAILABILITY Awaiting stock Available for preorder
Preorder now. Your book will ship by March 13, 2019.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Annabelle Ténèze, John Yau.
New York–based painter Peter Saul (born 1934) has consistently challenged the conventions of art, history and politics with his radical, unrefined style. Positioned emphatically outside of the canon of pop art, Saul’s exuberantly grotesque works exhibit an ironic and caustic humor that simultaneously breaks down and celebrates his subjects. Influenced by both French academic painting and MAD magazine, he has become a profound, albeit unconventional, history painter, chronicling the ridiculous and terrible at the top from Reagan to Trump.
This catalog covers the artist’s oeuvre since the late 1950s and presents many previously unseen paintings, works on paper and archival materials.
Saul was elected to the American Academy of Art and Letters in 2010. His work is part of many major collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Concerning his penchant for difficult or vulgar subject matter, San Francisco-born painter Peter Saul has stated, "Putting crime, war, sex, distortion and low class stuff into the picture is a way to take the decoration out of the picture--literally remove it from the dining room because no one is going to drink orange juice in the same room with it." Saul fuses his MAD Magazine-inspired humor with a Surrealist painting style to create difficult, funny and trenchant works--what Robert Storr, who has penned an essay for this volume, refers to as "sick jokes." Presaging Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley and exerting noticeable influence on artists such as Barry McGee and Ed Templeton, Saul's oeuvre is long overdue for deeper examination and this comprehensive publication provides the first complete overview of his work over the past five decades--from his epic historical canvases to his homage to Thomas Hart Benton, his lampoons of art world sacred cows and works evidencing his particular take on the existential dilemmas of the aging American male. More recent works satirizing current affairs round this volume out.