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Posted inArt

America’s Grand Gestures Reign Supreme Again in Basel

BASEL, Switzerland — Fifty-five years ago, the exhibition The New American Painting arrived at the Kunsthalle Basel. It was the first stop on a yearlong tour that touted the work of seventeen Abstract Expressionists before eight European countries — the first comprehensive exhibition to be sent to Europe showing the advanced tendencies in American painting. All but five of the original artists from the show had work on view at last weekend’s Art Basel, where postwar American painting and sculpture dominated the halls.

Posted inOpinion

Post-Office Worker Befuddled by Abstract Expressionism

You might assume that when a person or an image has made it onto a US postal stamp, it’s gained mainstream approbation. The stamp might even spread that acceptance and influence, making more people aware of the subject. I’m inclined to agree. But this morning Hyperallergic marketing associate Kara Romano discovered the hard way that even though the Abstract Expressionist got their own batch of stamps two and a half years, not everyone knows who they are. Not even some postal workers.

Posted inOpinion

How is MoMA’s “Abstract Expressionist New York” Faring Online?

The Museum of Modern Art’s Abstract Expressionist New York: The Big Picture, an ambitious exhibition that (kinda) rethinks the standard narrative of Abstract Expressionism (aka AbEx), has been open since October 3. The show complicates things by reintroducing us to artists not entirely within the AbEx canon, putting old favorites in a new context and shining a spotlight on the people and places of AbEx.

The question is: did MoMA and its curators accomplish their goal? We turn to the internet at large for a look at how people have reacted to the exhibition!

Posted inArt

Taking Another Look at Robert Motherwell

The Museum of Modern Art’s sprawling re-envisioning of Abstract Expressionism, “Abstract Expressionist New York,” inspires a lot of looking. The stately museum’s upper floor galleries, previously dedicated to the slow progress of abstraction in modern art, have been shuffled around to get a better view of exactly how the movement we came to call Abstract Expressionism developed.

It was one particular showing that caught my eye and really caused me to stop in my tracks and rethink where I pigeonholed these artists. Standing sentinel on one back wall were two works that cohered together perfectly, paintings whose muted colors became bright and whose architectonic compositions were like an abstract expressionism slowed down and frozen in time. Upon closer approach, I noticed that the pieces were by Robert Motherwell, an artist I was aware of and respected, but didn’t enormously enjoy. Yet something about these two paintings, “Western Air” (1946-47) and “Personage, with Yellow Ochre and White” (1947) made me reconsider.