Art – Abstract Expressionism NY
One of the strongest art movements in recent history, the Abstract Expressionism was a american post-World War II movement. Besides been the first specifically american movement, the Abstract Expressionism launched the city of New York as the center of international art world during the 1950′s.
After the World War II the main cities in Europe were facing their respectives rebuilding stages including Paris, the so far capital of the art world. Although through the war period many arts still, such as Pablo Picasso, remained in Europe, many more fled away from the war specially towards the USA. This mass movement, among many other things, was responsible for the art boost on the next decades.
While in Europe the raising movements were lead by Surrealism, Dada and Tachisme (the European equivalent to Abstract Expressionism), in the US the new generation of artists were strong influenced by the presence of great European artists, such as the german Hans Hofmann and the russian John D. Graham.
Besides, the USA had just got through the famous crisis of 1929, which led to severe marks on american folks during the 1930′s.
So the big picture in USA was a remarkable recovering from one of the worst economic crises in history (mainly because of the war in deed, but that’s not the point here), a recently victory in the biggest war ever and the presence of some of the greatest artists in the world. Add to that picture a Europe still trying to get back on its feet and you have the perfect time to US to show the world what they could do. The American Dream was just there at hand.
In this scenario art could be once again faced as art itself. Without the predominance of a war feeling and the violence that comes along with it, but with the war horros still pretty much alive in peoples memory, artists could now conceive art for the art. It was a new world, a new era, and there for it requires a new art, a new language, a new approach. The break with previous schools started with artists like Arshile Gorky, Hans Hofmann and Jackson Pollock (the major Abstract Expressionist) still during war years, back in 1943. Through the 1950′s until late in the 1960′s artists such as Lee Krasner and Robert Motherwell push further the Abstract Expressionism as a cacophony of several elements extracted from the post-war scenario.
Characteristics of the Abstract Expressionism
Probably the most expressive characteristic is the Action Painting technique, usually associated to Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning it represents the process of the art. For those artists the final results were a living proof of what the artist went through to get the piece done. More than simply what’s visually represented, the art piece should present what were the artists feelings during the process, and how the artist had approached that piece, both artistically and physically. Pollock for instance use to put his canvas on the ground, were he can than approach it form any side, resulting in a 360 degree overview of his work.
A few other techniques are common related t Abstract Expressionism, such as Color Field painting and Hard-Edge Painting, but the most expressive one (sorry for the word-play) is the Action Painting. Ultimately all of those are related to the same purpose, that is to show through the canvas (or any other media/material) not only the final result, but the process of creation itself as well as the state of mind and spirit of the artist in that particular moment. For this the Abstract Expressionism is characterized as one very emotive art movement.
That all happened over 40 years ago, so what now?
The Abstract Expressionism not only was the very first north-american art movement and the introduction of new techniques. It also contributed to the expansion of the art scenario in the “new world” at a point where it became the major influence to artists around the world. More than that, the roots of the subsequent movement, the glamourous PorArt (and later the urban art forms, such as graffiti) are deep beneath the Abstract Expressionism freedom of experimentation and its approach to the art process, not only the final piece.
To know more: The MoMA holds the biggest archive of Abstract Expressionists masterpieces and plus they’ve launched an app at Itunes Store of their showcase which took place in 2010.