The Jewish Museum has a pretty tasty gathering of the big guns of abstract-expressionism in the U.S.: Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Lee Krasner and many, many other people you theorized about in art school. The show, in fact, is built around the two rival critics that really helped push this school of art into the mainstream: Harold Rosenberg and Clement Greenberg.
From there, it delves into their rival theories of action and abstraction…though this stuff matter less to me than the fact that these are canvases with balls. Big balls. (Even the stuff painted by the chicks has balls.) So get over to the museum already. There’s some damn fine stuff to see. The show is up until September 21st.
Click on photos to make ‘em big. Many more money shots after the jump.
Party at Pollock’s: One of the things I like about exhibits at the Jewish Museum are the ancillary materials they dig up for their shows. This is an issue of Vogue from March, 1951, featuring a fashion spread in front of several Jackson Pollock canvases. Irene, on the left, is wearing a Bianchi silk dress from Lord & Taylor, while Sophie rocks a full-length ball gown from the Salon Moderne at Saks. Do these ladies look like they’re ready to get down or what?
Left to right: Untitled, 1948 and Blue and Black, 1951-53, both by Lee Krasner. The canvas on the left is part of Krasner’s Little Image series (1946-1951), which incorporated abstract hieroglyphs of her own invention. The lines are evocative of Hebrew characters. Krasner, who studied Hebrew as a child, says she worked on these canvases from right to left.
Untitled, 1962, by Lee Bontecou, a wall sculpture made of welded steel, epoxy, canvas, fabric, saw blade, and wire. For some reason, Bontecou’s sculptures make me think that she’d be totally crazy to hang out with. In a good way. (© Lee Bontecou/courtesy Knoelder & Company, New York.)
Gotham News by Willem de Kooning, 1955. De Kooning used pieces of newspaper to dry the paint, some of which left impressions on the painting. See a detail here.
Also, check out the letter, in one and two parts, that Barnett Newman wrote to Clement Greenberg about several “serious” errors in a review. In the second part, you’ll see that he was especially peeved about the fact that Greenberg had reported that Newman had been influenced by Clyfford Still. The nerve!!
Posted by C-Monster.