The Saint Louis Art Museum

The Saint Louis Art Museum

Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning and American Art, 1940–1976 at Saint Louis


Saint Louis Art Museum, October 19 2008 - January 11, 2009

The Saint Louis Art Museum present "Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning and American Art, 1940–1976", the first major U.S. exhibition in 20 years to re-examine Abstract Expressionism and the movements that followed

Beginning in the 1940s, Pollock and de Kooning created paintings and sculptures that catapulted American art onto the international stage. In magazines as diverse as Partisan Review, The Nation, ARTnews and Vogue, Greenberg and Rosenberg wrote incisively about seismic changes in the art world, often disagreeing with each other vehemently. Their advocacy propelled the artists and their art to the forefront of the public imagination, and by the late 1950s, Pollock and de Kooning were virtually household names.

Against a background of Cold War politics, rising mass culture and growing consumerism, Rosenberg championed the concept of action—the creative act of the artist—versus the ideal purity of a non-representational aesthetic defended by Greenberg. Action/Abstraction re-examines how these critics' theories vied with each other and with the intentions of the artists—who nevertheless remained keenly aware of the critics' perspectives and were often influenced by them.


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