Pull out your black turtleneck and a beret! The Musuem of Modern Art presents through April 25, 2011 the exhibit Abstract Expressionist New York. Whether or not you think a painting by Jackson Pollock is a work of genius, or something your kid brother could easily do, this exhibit is a treat for the eyes. Suitable for the whole family, consider a visit sometime during or after the Holiday season.
The Abstract Expressionists (Arshile Gorky, Franz Kline, and Cy Twombly just to name a few) launched New York to the center of the art universe, giving Paris and other European capitals a run for their money. Abstract Expressionism drew upon the precedents set by artists associated with the German Expressionist movement, the Bauhaus, and Cubism. All of these styles stressed a departure from traditional figurative representation and perspective, and much of it conveys a sense of frenzied emotion, and rebellion.
If you are interested in the artists, writers, and musicians of this generation, NYPL has many resources for further exploration:
Abstract expressionism at the Museum of Modern Art : selections from the collection / Ann Temkin
This exhibition catalog celebrating MoMa's vast collection of Abstract Expressionist works includes an essay by MoMa's Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture since 2008, Ann Temkin. She was also the curator of this show, which sprawls across three floors of the museum. Her philosophy of mixing different mediums in one space - painting, sculpture, film, architecture, etc., is evident throughout the exhibition. The catalog is available for viewing at the Stephen A. Schwartzman building, Art & Architecture Collection.
Abstract Expressionism/ Barbara Hess; Uta Grosenick (ed.) Published by Taschen and part of their Basic art movement and genre series, this book provides a general overview of the major artists of the American Abstract Expressionist movement, with an emphasis on the "action" painters such as Pollock and de Kooning and the "color field" painters such as Mark Rothko. Reservable item.
How New York stole the idea of modern art: abstract expressionism, freedom, and the cold war / Serge Guilbaut - Professor Guilbaut, head of the Department of Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia, describes the political backstory of how the heart of contemporary Western Culture was transferred to New York from Paris during the European conflicts of the 1930s and 1940s, and how a complicated relationship between avant garde artists and communism developed during the Cold War era, afterwards. Available at the Stephen A. Schwartzman Building, and as a reservable item.
William Carlos Williams, Frank O'Hara, and the New York Art Scene/ Paul R. Capucci - Poets William Carlos Williams and Frank O'Hara celebrated both the artists and the stylistic forms of the Abstract Expressionists in their literature. Published by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, Dr. Capucci is a New Jersey based scholar and Professor of English, and coincidentally Williams too, was a fellow Jerseyman. Available at the Steven A. Schwarzman Building.
Abstract expressionism and pop: art of the '50s and '60s - This film critically examines works by Franz Kline, Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauchenbeg and Roy Lichtenstein.
Painters Painting - An intimate portrait of the expressionist and pop art movements, made by documentary filmmaker Emile de Antonio, who was friends with many of the artists in the film. You can watch a segment of the making of this film here.
First recordings: 1950s/ Morton Feldman - Includes the soundtrack to the movie "Jackson Pollock", a ten-minute documentary of the artist made by German photographer Hans Nemuth. Composed in the style of an action painting - minimal and spontaneous.
Selections / Voice and piano / John Cage. - Sparse piano overlaid with occassionally voiced texts, excerpted from E.E. Cummings and James Joyce.
Current Lectures and Exhibitions
MoMa @ the Library. The Mid-Manhattan Library hosts art talks in conjunction with their current exhibitions.
Exhibitions at NYPL Enjoy the many rich and varied exhibitions at select NYPL locations, and online.