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This stimulating catalog, which accompanies an exhibition of more than 50 seminal works by 32 artists that opened at New York City's Jewish Museum this spring, reexamines the roots of postwar American abstract expressionism as interpreted, championed, and denounced by rival critics Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg. While Greenberg supported and promoted the formal purity of Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still, and David Smith, Rosenberg extolled the radical creative processes of "action painting" by Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko. Nine essays by prominent scholars including Kleeblatt (Susan & Elihu Rose Chief Curator, Jewish Museum) analyze the era to illuminate the reception of the art, specifically in relation to political ideologies, New York cultural and literary circles, European intellectual influences such as existentialism, Jewish identity, and popular media attention. The catalog vividly re-creates relations between artists and critics, major exhibitions, and key statements and lectures. Full-color reproductions of the art as well as personal correspondence and photographs are also included. Many important artists are represented by only a work or two; however, the movement's diversity and vitality come to life in this beautifully printed and presented catalog. Highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries.
—Russell T. Clement