Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915–2015




This book accompanied the 2015 Whitechapel Gallery exhibition of the same name, which traced the historical, social and political impact of a century of abstract art, taking Kazimir Malevich’s radical painting, Black Quadrilateral, as the emblem of a new art and a new society. Like the exhibition, the 288-page publication features over 100 artists including Carl Andre, David Batchelor, Dan Flavin, Andrea Fraser, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, Gabriel Orozco, Hélio Oiticica and Aleksandr Rodchenko. Essays by Tanya Barson, Briony Fer, Jiang Jiehong and Tom McDonough trace a century of abstract art encompassing sculpture, film, photography, and painting, and how the movement’s revolutionary aesthetic continues to impact culture across the globe.

Our design makes use of a minimal palette of yellow and black, echoing the work chosen for the cover, Sceaux Gardens Estate (1995) by Keith Coventry.1 This more recent work was chosen for the cover as a symbol of the enduring influence of abstract art.

  1. Coventry is a London-based contemporary artist whose work draws on the principles set forth by Malevich, and re-contextualises them to represent the residential estates of urban London; the Sceaux Gardens Estate is in Peckham.