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Since the Willem de Kooning show continues to be the talk of the town, I thought it would be fun to share this archival clip that features a number of lesser-known members of the New York School (Alcopley, Conrad Marca-Relli, Joe Stefanelli, John Stephan, Robert Richenburg and Will Barnet) discussing life in New York’s 1950s art world.

They discuss how artist’s never mentioned what they did to make money other than art, how an artist was considered a sell-out if they sold two works, Clement Greenberg’s own “corny” paintings, a smack down of art writers (ouch!), particularly critic Harold Rosenberg, and other inside baseball … it’s still fun though.

When I hear these artists decry “intellectual pretentiousness” of their times I am reminded that nothing has changed. Fast forward to now and many artists still don’t understand what art writers do.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

4 replies on “Veterans of the New York School Reflect on the 1950s”

  1. Very cool. I want to take Marcorelli’s pipe and stick it in his mouth, though. What a gasbag! Nothing has changed. Still a bunch of white men measuring their dicks.
    Whew. Thank god I can just paint.

  2. This video is amazing. Especially love the anecdote about Clement Greenberg putting his own inferior representational landscape into the 9th st. show

  3. You might be interested in Swann Galleries’ upcoming prints & drawings sale–they are exploring AbEx and The New York School through the lens of Atelier 17. With works by big names and lesser known artists.

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