Both critic and artist, Wolfgang Paalen was a highly influential figure in the culture of the Modernist movements of the 20th century. His work significantly informed Abstract Expressionism, especially with his periodical ^IDYN^R, published from 1942-1944, which became a seminal work for painters of that time. This is the first book-length work to demonstrate his importance and bring together the contexts—philosophical, scientific, anthropological, political, and cultural—in which he worked. Thus it provides a study not only of Paalen himself, but of the relationships between modernist art movements of Europe and America, including Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism—and the cultural, social, and political histories in which they developed.
Carefully and thoroughly detailing the events of Paalen's life and the formation of his thinking, author Amy Winter shows how his biography, art, and thought come together in the six issues of ^IDYN^R, which continued an exploration initiated by the Surrealists and other avant-gardes, and which delved into many problems which have preoccupied art in the last two decades. Utilizing material gathered for the first time, including personal interviews and archives never before consulted, Winter offers a vivid portrayal of a painter, philosopher, critic, collector, journalist, editor, historian, and ethnographer—in short, a 20th-century renaissance man.