In AMERICAN ART NOW, Lucie-Smith contends that art has lost its center, New York, and that regional developments in places such as Houston, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are at least as important as what is happening in New York. Additionally, he says, it is pluralism, rather than one or two dominant styles, which characterizes American art today. To be sure, the works of established figures such as Jasper Johns and Frank Stella are still around, but it is pattern art and graffiti, for example, that attract the notice of critics and the cognoscenti.
The author identifies several styles such as the foregoing and devotes several chapters to the shapes they take in the various regional centers. Supplementing the text are eighty-six full-color reproductions. The only drawback is Lucie-Smith’s penchant for idiosyncratic terms, such as “replication” for realism. Especially useful is a biographical index of artists at the end of the book.