The Art Prophets

The Artists, Dealers, and Tastemakers Who Shook the Art World

Publication Date: Oct 25, 2011

272 pp


List Price US $24.95
ISBN: 9781590514061


List Price US $19.99
ISBN: 9781590514078

In The Art Prophets, Richard Polsky introduces us to influential late twentieth-century dealers and tastemakers in the art world. These risk takers opened doors for artists, identified new movements, and resurrected art forms that had fallen into obscurity. In this distinctive tour, Polsky offers an insightful and engaging dialog between artists and the visionaries who paved their way.

Table of contents
Ivan Karp and Pop Art
Stan Lee and Comic Book Art
Chet Helms, Bill Graham, and the Art of the Poster
John Ollman and Outsider Art
Joshua Baer and Native American Art
Virginia Dwan and Earthworks
Tod Volpe and Ceramics
Jeffrey Fraenkel and Photography
Louis Meisel and Photorealism
Tony Shafrazi and Street Art

Excerpt from The Art Prophets

The evening was billed as “Ivan Karp Live in Los Angeles.” Not since Irving Blum’s Ferus Gallery first exhibited Andy Warhol’s original Soup Can paintings in 1962 had the spirit of Warhol returned to L.A. Twenty-five years later, here was the man who discovered Warhol—a dealer who rarely traveled above Fourteenth Street in Manhattan, let alone cross-country — about to descend on the art scene New York viewed with contempt as its lightweight counterpart. Great things were expected: revelations about the art world, never heard before anecdotes about Pop Art, secret histories of the period’s key figures.
Jack Glenn had labored overtime to promote Karp’s visit, taking out ads in art magazines and working the phones to drum up a crowd. Now Glenn stood there, beaming at a space packed with artists, dealers, and collectors hoping to see the celebrated figure who had literally altered the course of art history by spotting the Pop Art zeitgeist. Though Karp was only in his late fifties at the time, he had already been credited with identifying a second important art movement—Photorealism. Would tonight be the night that he revealed a third?

“[An] entertaining book of essays… Polsky’s inside information and chatty tone make for a stimulating read.” —

“[The Art Prophets is] an honor for every prophet profiled, and a surprising, smart read for creative aficionados, or anyone interested in art’s future and the icons who paved the way.” —Royal Young,

“Clear, concise and energized by the author’s fiery passion for his subject.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Part art history, part character study and biography, this wonderful book about the business of art reads like a runaway horse. You don’t dare jump off! Hang on and enjoy every page.”— Sophy Burnham, author of The Art Crowd

“…A highly readable and fascinating look at the last 50-plus years of art history, rendered concisely in a few hundred pages.” –Carol Inkellis, Pacific Sun