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Charles Bragg
The Works! - A Retrospective
Charles Bragg may be the most popular and most overlooked artist of our time, as contradictory as that statement may seem. His paintings, etchings, and sculptures are in private and public collections worldwide; he has hosted radio and television programs, leading discussions on everything from paintings to politics; and he is a Los Angeles bon vivant, a cultural icon, an outspoken, brilliant and extraordinarily funny man. But what stands out most in this colorful shuffle is that Charles Bragg is one of the most gifted American artists of the twentieth century. His technique is masterly, his subject matter profound. His work conveys both a delight in the creative genius of great artists and a fondness for wallowing in sin. For every image that evinces a smile, there is another that is heart-stopping in its poignant commentary on the human condition. For every cartoonish caricature, there is a stunningly beautiful portrait.

Charles Bragg: The Works! is the most complete collection of his oeuvre ever published, with more than 130 color plates and more than 60 black-and-white reproductions. The text, by Alan Bisbort offers a biographical overview and investigates the many faces of Bragg: his approaches to and techniques of painting, his inspirations and motivations, his social and political views, and his inexhaustible cunning and wit.

The many stories that each Bragg painting tells, the various layers of symbolic and metaphoric elements that comprise his canvases, continue to reveal themselves with every return viewing. Charles Bragg: the Works! is a book of enduring value, illuminating the life and work of a great artist and offering a fascinating collection of art that one can go back to and live in, over and over again.

Alan Bisbort is a writer, editor, and researcher who has worked for the Library of Congress for twenty-two years. He is coauthor of The Nation's Library: The Library of Congress, Washington, DC (Scala). His other books include: The White Rabbit and Other Delights: East Totem West, A Hippie Company, 1967-1969 (Pomegranate) and Sunday Afternoon, Looking for the Car: The Aberrant Art of Barry Kite (Pomegranate). He collaborated on four travel guides with Parke Puterbaugh, the most recent of which are Florida Beaches and California Beaches (Foghorn Press). His work has also appeared in the Washington Post, City Paper, Rolling Stone, Creem, Biblio, American Way, Connecticut, Brill's Content, and the Advocate Newspapers.

Bisbort is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He lives near New Haven, Connecticut, with his wife, Tracey, and dog, Sam. He is also a collage artist whose work appears under the nom de guerre "The Meatman."


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