Fate of a Gesture: Jackson Pollock and Postwar American Art

Overview

Flipping his colors onto the canvas, pouring and dripping his paints in a quintessentially American gesture, Jackson Pollock redefined the art of painting. It was the fate of Pollock’s gesture, which reflected America’s largest, most optimistic ideas of itself, to be mimicked, modified, and denied by artists of immense stature, among them Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Robert Smithson.Drawing from twenty years of experience as an art critic in New York, Carter Ratcliff maps...

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Overview

Flipping his colors onto the canvas, pouring and dripping his paints in a quintessentially American gesture, Jackson Pollock redefined the art of painting. It was the fate of Pollock’s gesture, which reflected America’s largest, most optimistic ideas of itself, to be mimicked, modified, and denied by artists of immense stature, among them Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Robert Smithson.Drawing from twenty years of experience as an art critic in New York, Carter Ratcliff maps the Manhattan art world from Fifty-seventh Street to SoHo, revisiting the world of studios, galleries, and artists’ bars where those personalities met and clashed. In addition to providing an intimate biography of Pollock and the history and development of his ideas, Ratcliff explores the lives and consciousness of the other major American artists of the day. He follows the story of postwar American art from the late 1940s through the triumph of Abstract Expressionism and the sudden explosion of Pop Art, all the way to the boom of the 1980s, which brought stardom to an array of young artists. Over it all looms the monumental and tragic figure of Jackson Pollock, the measure of all who have felt compelled to challenge him.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
"A provoking and rewarding text."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813335445
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Series: Icon Editions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 372
  • Lexile: 1070L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.15 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Carter Ratcliff is an award-winning art critic who has published several books on diverse American artists, including Andy Warhol, John Singer Sargent, Pat Steir, and Robert Longo. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Art Critics grant, and the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism from the College Art Association.

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