The Avant-garde Won't Give Up
Cobra and Its Legacy
This book on the renowned postwar avant-garde artistic movement offers a comprehensive insight into Cobra’s history and achievements, and explores its lasting influences on contemporary art. The European artistic collective known as Cobra was born in the wake of World War II’s devastating events, its name an acronym for the native cities of its founders: Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Brussels. The influential group of painters and sculptors had a tremendous impact on the development of European Abstract Expressionism, and contemporary art in general. Cobra was arguably the last avant-garde movement of the 20th century. Moving chronologically, this book explores the years leading up to Cobra’s formation, charts its complex expansion over a decade, and illuminates how the movement helped shape the trajectory of contemporary art today. Thoughtfully integrated among the numerous images, many presented as full-page color illustrations, are essays that probe the ideological hallmarks that shaped the group as a whole: its rejection of rational constraints; a focus on play and youthfulness; and its embrace of immediacy, particularly in the form of “action” paintings. In addition, comprehensive biographies of the artists illuminate crucial aspects of each individual’s journey, helping to expand readers’ understanding of Europe’s socio-political and theoretical climate.