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Discrepant Abstraction is hybrid and partial, elusive and repetitive, obstinate and strange: it includes almost everything that does not neatly fit into the institutional narrative of abstract art as a monolithic quest for artistic ‘purity’. Exploring cross-cultural scenarios in 20th-century art, this ground-breaking collection, co-published by Iniva and The MIT Press, alters our understanding of abstract art as a signifier of modernity by revealing the multiple directions it has taken in diverse international contexts.

Impure, imperfect and incomplete, the version of abstraction that emerges from this global journey – from Hong Kong and Islamic regions to Canada, Australia, Europe and the United States – shows how the formal ingenuity of abstract art has been cross-fertilised, from abstract expressionism onwards, by creative discrepancies that arise when disparate visual languages are brought into dialogue.

Annotating Art’s Histories series
Featuring internationally renowned scholars and curators at the critical edge of current research in art history, visual culture, and the humanities, Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures is the third volume in the Annotating Art’s Histories series. Newly-comissioned writings are presented alongside bibliographies, translations, and selected reprints of key texts. Building up a richer understanding of cultural difference as a dynamic feature of 20th-century art, this acclaimed series is essential reading for students, practitioners, and anyone curious about cross-cultural interaction in the visual arts.

The Annotating Art’s Histories series is supported by The Getty Foundation.

Other books in the series
Cosmopolitan Modernisms
Pop Art and Vernacular Cultures
Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers

What people say

'... Discrepant Abstraction challenges commodified pieties about modernity, difference, identity, hybridity and history, re-conceptualising the notion of representation itself in some of the most perceptive recent writing on art across the global spectrum.' Donald Preziosi, Oxford University 
'A panoramic and revelatory survey of abstract art that dramatically expands its canon of artists, geographies and meanings. This compilation of new scholarly perspectives redefines abstraction as a global phenomenon. Vital reading for any student of the modern.' Iwona Blazwick Director, Whitechapel Gallery


ISBN: 1-889846-43-3
232pp, softback with flaps, 235 x 180mm
32 colour illustrations
Published by Iniva and The MIT Press, 2006

Texts: Stanley K. Abe, Mark A. Cheetham, David Clarke, David Craven, Iftikhar Dadi, Wilson Harris, Kellie Jones, Nathaniel Mackey, Kobena Mercer, Angeline Morrison

Book design: Untitled