Art: Why Abstract?

"People ask me offhand to explain to them 'all about this modern art.' They want the answer in a series of pat phrases between drinks. But . . . unless you state your thesis clearly—from the ground up, you are simply adding to the sum of confusion on the subject." So writes Minnesota-born Abstractionist Hilaire Hiler in his new book, Why Abstract? (New Directions, $2.50).

Like many of his kind, Abstractionist Hilaire Hiler (rhymes with kill-care smiler) writes more understandably than he paints. Besides teaching himself to paint. Hiler has been a saxophone player, a nightclub decorator, costume expert, Paris café...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!