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Abstract Expressionism: The International Context

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Over fifty years have passed since Abstract Expressionism burst onto the New York City art scene, quickly attaining singular prominence as the first school in American painting to declare its independence from European styles. New assessments of its impact and importance continue to emerge. Yet, while much has been written about the movement’s broad range of stylistic diversity, its sociological and psychological dimensions, and its cultural significance in the United States, little attention has been paid to ...
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Overview


Over fifty years have passed since Abstract Expressionism burst onto the New York City art scene, quickly attaining singular prominence as the first school in American painting to declare its independence from European styles. New assessments of its impact and importance continue to emerge. Yet, while much has been written about the movement’s broad range of stylistic diversity, its sociological and psychological dimensions, and its cultural significance in the United States, little attention has been paid to the interaction of its artists on the international scene. Abstract Expressionism: The International Context fills this gap by providing an in-depth exploration of this truly global art movement.

Bringing together fifteen original and path-breaking essays by world-class authorities on Abstract Expressionism as well as by younger scholars, this anthology looks beyond the canonical painters to explore the broader connections among abstract artists of the post–World War II era. Moving from the margins to the center, the essays recognize the contributions of artists working far beyond New York City. Topics include Jackson Pollock’s contact with Mexican muralists and the legacy of Abstract Expressionism for leftist artists in Latin America, the relevance of Jean-Paul Sartre and Samuel Beckett as sources of philosophical thought, the significance of northern European CoBrA painters such as Asger Jorn, the impact of Japanese Gutai artists, and connections with the revolutionary art of Italy, Belgium, and France. Abstract Expressionism is also described as a model for contemporaneous developments in the former Soviet Union.

As the first book to consider the movement in relation to post–World War II abstraction on four continents, this book brings a fresh perspective to this widely studied school of painting. Scholars and students alike will find this anthology essential reading in creating a more complete and nuanced understanding of Abstract Expressionism.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813539751
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2007
  • Series: NA
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 8.34 (w) x 10.82 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents


Color Plates     vii
Figures     viii
Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction: Internationalism and Abstract Expressionism   Joan Marter     1
The Birth of Abstract Expressionism   Helen A. Harrison     13
Political Contexts
Implications of Nationalism for Abstract Expressionism   Dore Ashton     19
Disdain for the Stain: Abstract Expressionism and Tachisme   Serge Guilbaut     29
Transatlantic Anxieties, Especially Bill's Folly   David Anfam     51
A Legacy for the Latin American Left: Abstract Expressionism as Anti-Imperialist Art   David Craven     67
Abstract Expressionism as a Model of "Contemporary Art" in the Soviet Union   Jane A. Sharp     82
Art-Making Contexts
A New Beginning: Abstraction and the Myth of the "Zero Hour"   Gottfried Boehm     99
Ironic Gestures: Asger Jorn, Informel, and Abstract Expressionism   Karen Kurczynski     108
Greenberg Misreading Dubuffet   Kent Minturn     125
Abstract Expressionism's Italian Reception: Questions of Influence   Adrian R. Duran     138
The View from the East: The Reception of Jackson Pollock among Japanese Gutai Artists   Lewis Kachur     152
Origins and Efflorescence
Mexico and American Modernism: The Case of Jackson Pollock   Ellen G. Landau     165
Pollock and America, Too   Stephen Polcari     182
The Ultimate Challenge for Alfred H. Barr, Jr.: Transforming the Ecology of American Culture, 1924-1943   Annie Cohen-Solal     196
African American Contributions to Abstract Expressionism   Ann Gibson     215
Notes     231
About the Contributors     289
Index     293
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