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Abstract expressionism

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  • 1. ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM “THE NEW YORK SCHOOL” Elena Winberry Danielle Hutko Dominique Greer “ These New York artists viewed their art as a weapon in the struggle to maintain their humanity in the midst of the worlds increasing insanity.”
  • 2. Abstract Expressionism (1940s–1960s)
    • The New York School Artists
      • Americas art movement
    • A general attitude
      • They shared a general outlook on art rather than a specific style
    • Artists shared their morally loaded themes, often heavy-weight and tragic, on a grand scale
    • Wanted to achieve the “sublime” rather than the beautiful
    • Process rather than outcome
  • 3. Timeline of 20 th Century Art Movements
  • 4. What just happened
    • WWII had just ended, during which many technological advances (the atom bomb) caused the Cold War and the fear of a nuclear holocaust
    • Many of these artists came to New York because Europe was a wreck (Hitler)
      • 1941: a lot of refugees
    • These artists were turning against the conventional definitions and techniques of art
    • The United States was facing a growth in prosperity (The American Dream)
  • 5. What just happened cont…
    • The New Deal:
      • Had many stimulus programs that were for the arts
        • Works Progress Administration: de Kooning and Gorky
    • Social Realism prominent during 1930’s
      • Rejected by abstract expressionists
  • 6. Influential people
    • Psychologist Carl Jung: collective unconscious
    • Arshile Gorky: for runner
    • Picasso:
    • Kandinsky: spontaneity
    • McCarthy: his red scare attitude made social realist art “unwelcome”: art “censored”
  • 7. Influential movements
    • Cubism and Futurism: “anti-figurative”
    • Surrealism: improvisation and the subconscious
    • Dada: they were some of the first to go against conventional techniques
    • German Expressionism: emotion
  • 8. Arshile Gorky Bio
    • Born in Armenia in 1904
    • Survived the genocide of the Armenians by the Turks
    • Had a very rough childhood: his mother died of starvation in his arms in 1919
    • Moved to New York to join his father in 1920
    • Went to school at National Academy of Design and the Grand Central School of Art (taught until 1931.)
    • 1920’s: developed his first style with influences from Cézanne, Picasso, and others
  • 9. Arshile Gorky Bio
    • Changed his name from Vosdanik Adoyan to Arshile Gorky to get away from the negative connotations that being Armenian had in America
    • 1930’s and 40’s: his mature period: influenced by Surrealism and a precursor to action painting
    • 1931: first solo exhibition
    • Worked with the WPA and met de Kooning and others
    • 1941: married Agnes Magruder
    • 1946-48: his studio burnt down, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, his wife had an affair, he was in a bad car accident, and he finally committed suicide
  • 10. Arshile Gorky
    • Said to be the single most important influence on Abstract Expressionism and the “bridge between Europe and America”
    • 'painterly' painter
    • Had no formal training
      • Painted what he saw from other artists
  • 11. Arshile Gorky: Influences
    • Influences:
      • Post Impressionism (Cézanne)
      • Cubism (Picasso)
      • Abstractionism (Kandinsky)
      • Surrealism: (Matta and Miro)
        • Automatism
        • Biomorphism
      • Surrealist Poetry (Andre Brenton: Surrealist Mantifesto: “ the unconscious was the real expression of the mind, as opposed to reason, or aesthetic or moral preoccupations”)
  • 12. The Liver is the Cock’s Comb: 1944
    • One of his more famous paintings
    • Influenced by Brenton
    • Miró: Shapes
    • Kandinsky: Color
  • 13. Basic Information
    • 1 st American avant-garde movement
      • Avant-garde: “the advance group in any field, especially in the visual, literary, or musical arts, whose works are characterized chiefly by unorthodox and experimental methods”
      • “ birth place”: Greenwich Village
    • “ abstract but expresses the artists state of mind.”
    • Dubbed “Abstract Expressionism” by Robert M. Coates in 1946
    • Each person had own style, reason, and was influenced by different people
  • 14. Basic Information Continued
    • Abstract expressionism was an specifically American post world war II art movement.
    • This put New York City at the center of the art world.
    • Abstract expressionism has its roots in other earlier 20 th century Art movements such as cubism and surrealism that promoted abstraction rather than representation.
    • Rejected
      • social realism and regionalism
        • “ regarded as provincial and tainted by nationalistic overtones”
      • geometric abstraction
        • Thought it to be “academic and emotionally detached.”
  • 15. Styles: Action (Gesture) Painting 1940’s-1950’s
    • 1 st phase of the movement
    • They believed the painting wasn’t a picture, but an event
    • Named “gestural” because many artists didn’t use an easel. They laid the canvas on the ground and used their whole body to create the painting
    • Techniques:
      • Dripping
      • Dabbing
      • Smearing
      • Flinging paint
    • Named American Action Painting by Rosenburg in December of 1952
  • 16. Styles: Color Field (Chromatic) Painting 1950’s-1960’s
    • The “answer” to action painting
    • First by Helen Frankenthaler: Mountains and Sea 1953
    • Canvas as stained with thin, translucent color washes
    • Color field is less about the process of making the work, which is at the heart of action painting.
  • 17. Color Field Continued
    • Color field is about the tension created by overlapping and interacting areas of flat color.
    • These areas of color can be shapeless or clearly geometric.
    • Color field paintings are huge canvases. If you stand close to the canvas the colors seem to extend beyond your peripheral vision.
  • 18. Color Field Techniques
    • Large fields of flat, solid color spread across or stained into the canvas creating areas of unbroken surface and a flat picture plane.
  • 19. Color Field and Action Paintings (Similarities)
    • Color field and action share common traits, they both treat the surface area of a canvas or paper as a field of vision without a central focus. (Traditional paintings usually organizes the surface in terms of the middle or zones of subject matters.)
    • They both emphasize the flatness of the surface, neither do not refer to object in the natural world. They reveal the artists emotional state of mind. “his or her expression”
  • 20. Artists
    • Action
    • Jackson Pollock
    • Willem de Kooning
    • Lee Krasner
    • Williams
    • Hans Hoffman
    • Elaine Fried de Kooning
    • Color Field
    • Mark Rothko
    • Robert Motherwell
    • Helen Frankenthaler
    • Clyfford Still
    • Barnett Newman
    • Aldolph Gottlieb
    • Louis Schanker
    • Franz Kline
  • 21. Jackson Pollock: Bio
    • Born January 28 th , 1912 in Cody, Wyoming
      • Grew up in California and Arizona
    • Age of 18 moved to New York City
      • Enrolled at the Art Students League
        • Studied under the painter Thomas Hart Benton
    • 1935 – started work on the WPA Federal Art Project as a Painter
    • 1938 – began psychiatric treatment for alcoholism
      • Used his drawings in therapy sessions
  • 22. Jackson Pollock: Bio
    • 1943 – Peggy Guggenheim gave him his first solo exhibition
    • Mid 1940s developed the “drip” technique
    • 1945 – married Lenore (Lee) Krasner
      • Moved to studio in East Hamptons from the city
    • August 11, 1956 he was killed because he drove drunk
  • 23. Jackson Pollock: Techniques
    • Gorky’s “heir”
    • Dripping Technique
    • Influences:
      • Picasso, Cezanne, Benton, Orozco, Miro
      • Native American Art
      • American Religionalism
      • Cubism
      • Surrealism
    • Alive surface:
      • Paint viscosity
      • Speed and direction of impact
      • Interaction with other layers
    • ENERGY
  • 24. Jackson Pollock: Works The Moon Woman (1942)
  • 25. Jackson Pollock: Works Pasiphae (1943)
  • 26. Jackson Pollock: Works Continued Cathedral (1947)
  • 27. Jackson Pollock: Works Continued
    • Blue Poles (1952)
  • 28. Willem de Kooning: Bio
    • Born in Rotterdam, Holland April 24, 1904
    • 1909: Parents got divorced (super important to Women paintings)
    • 1916: Started to train as a commercial artist at Rotterdam Academy
    • 1926: Emigrated to the US, worked illegally in New York
      • Met Gorky who got him into abstract expressionist painting
    • 1935-1939: worked for Federal Art Project
    • Dec 9, 1943: Married wife Elaine Fried
  • 29. Willem de Kooning: Bio Continued
    • 1946: 1 st black and white abstract works
    • 1947: began series of “Women” paintings
    • 1952: finished one of his most famous, Woman 1
    • 1962: became a US citizen
    • 1960’s on: said to have lost his artist’s touch
    • 1964: received “Presidential medal of Freedom”
    • 1970: started sculpting with bronze
    • Mar 19, 1997: Died in Springs, US of old age
  • 30. Willem de Kooning
    • Techniques
      • Thought a lot about the process
      • Scraped away dry paint and repainted
      • Was “in” his paintings
      • Impasto paint
    • Influences
      • Picasso
      • Miro
      • Mondrian
      • Gorky
  • 31. Willem de Kooning: Works
    • Late 1930’s-mid/ late 40’s
      • Restriction of feelings: helplessness to deal with problems?
    • Late 1940’s-1960
      • Violent feelings that were bottled up come out
        • (Women series: His mother was very unpleasant during his parents divorce which is what is thought to have been his inspiration for this series)
    • Early 60’s till death:
      • A lot softer and more relaxed with figures
  • 32. Untitled: 1948
  • 33. Woman I: 1950-1952
  • 34. Two Figures in Landscape: 1968
  • 35. Mark Rothko: Bio
    • “ Simple Expression of complex thought”
    • Born September 25, 1903 as Marcus Rothkowitz in Dvinsk Vitebsk Province, Russian Empire.
    • His family wasn’t as wealthy but they all were highly educated
    • Emigrated to the US in 1913
    • He accelerated from third to fifth grade with high honors.
  • 36. Mark Rothko: Bio Continued
    • After graduating he received a scholarship to Yale based on academic performance.
    • While visiting a friend at the Art Student League of New York he saw students sketching a model, and this is when he established his art career.
  • 37. Mark Rothko: Techniques
    • His work consist of strong formal elements such as color, shape, balance, depth, composition and scale.
    • He believed that “there is no such thing as a good painting about nothing”. Also flat two-dimensional forms destroy illusion.
  • 38. Mark Rothko: 1951 Violet Green Red
  • 39. Mark Rothko: 1967 Red White Brown
  • 40. Mark Rothko: Blue and Grey 1962
  • 41. Robert Motherwell: Bio
    • Born in Aberdeen, Washington in 1915
      • Spent much of childhood in California
    • Attended Stanford University
      • Earned BA in philosophy in 1973
        • Received extensive education in philosophy, literature and art history
    • Went onto Harvard for a Ph.D. in philosophy
      • Interrupted by yearlong European Trip
    • 1940 – went to Columbia University
      • To study art history
  • 42. Robert Motherwell Bio Continued
    • 1941 – went to Mexico with Surrealist painter Roberto Matta
      • Inspired first known paintings/sketches
    • 1948 – began Elegies to the Spanish Republic Series
    • 1940s-1960s – worked as a teacher
      • Taught at Black Mountain College, North Carolina
      • Helped establish Subjects of the Artists, an art school in New York's Greenwich Village
      • Taught at Hunter College
    • 1953-1957 – painted Je t’aime series
    • 1968 – painted the Opens series
    • 1991 – died in his home in Provincetown, MA
  • 43. Robert Motherwell: Techniques
    • Color Field Painter
      • Simple shapes, bold color contrasts
      • Dynamic balance between restrained and boldly gestural brushstrokes
    • Influences:
      • Roberto Matta, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Alfred North Whitehead
      • Surrealism, Cubism, Symbolism, Mexican Art
  • 44. Robert Motherwell: Works Je t'aime IV
  • 45. Robert Motherwell: Works Elegy to the Spanish Republic, 108
  • 46. Robert Motherwell Works Continued
    • Open Number 24 in Variations of Orange
  • 47. Sculpting: David Smith
    • Born: March 9,1906 in Decatur, Indiana
    • Worked with metals
    • Influenced
      • Cubism, Surrealism, and Constructivism
      • Frued: Totem
      • Collage
  • 48. David Smith
    • Innovations (in chronological order)
      • Core of a sculpture
        • replaced it with the idea of 'drawing in space.'
          • large geometric forms
    • Died: May 23, 1965 in Bennington, Vermont
    • Influenced Minimalism
  • 49. Geometric sculptures Cubi XVIII, 1964 Cubi XVII, 1963 Cubi XIX, 1964
  • 50. Critics of Abstract Expressionism
    • Polarized: “The movement is felt by many to be rebellious and anarchic; even nihilistic”
    • Clement Greenburg: one of the most famous
      • Proponent of Abstract Expressionism
      • Motherwell joined him “in promoting a style that fit the political climate and intellectual rebelliousness of the era”
  • 51. Influenced
    • Second Generation Abstract Expressionists
    • European art:
      • Dubuffet: rebelled against conventional techniques
        • Looked at children’s drawings
    • Pop Art: wanted to emphasize subject again
    • Minimalism: went from “no form, only expression” to “no expression, only form”
    • “ With the advent of Abstract Expressionism in the late 1940s, the United States, particularly New York City, became the world center for the creation of ‘progressive art’, and former critics began to accept the validity of American Modernism.”

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