In “Acid Visions: Bob Thompson, Abstract Figurative Painting, and the American Neo-Avant-Garde,” Nicole L. Woods will look at the work of the pioneering African-American artist Bob Thompson. This article will foreground Thompson’s abstract figurative painting within the rich African-American cultural milieu of New York in the late 1950s and 1960s (in particular, improvisational jazz and Beat poetry), and will argue that Thompson’s vibrant abstract imagery speaks to an uneasy correspondence to art history’s complicated reaction to African-American artists experimenting with radical forms. 

Nicole L. Woods is a historian of modern and contemporary art history, criticism, and theory at the University of Notre Dame. Her current research includes a consideration of the widespread use of food as an object of consumption and a form of political critique in the work of several late twentieth-century artists. She has two forthcoming books, one on the American Fluxus artist Alison Knowles (University of Chicago Press) and another on the convergence of feminism, political radicalism, and expanded media practices in the late 1960s through the 1990s.