press release

In Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940-1976, the first major U.S. exhibition in 20 years to rethink Abstract Expressionism and the movements that followed, 50 key works by 31 artists – among them Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Jasper Johns, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko – will be viewed from the perspectives of rival art critics, the artists, and popular culture.

Beginning in the 1940s, artists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning created paintings and sculptures that catapulted American art onto the international stage, making New York City the successor to prewar Paris as the mecca for the avant-garde. Two art critics played a crucial role in the reception of the new American painting and sculpture -- the highly influential New York intellectuals Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg. In the pages of magazines as diverse as Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker, ARTnews, and Vogue, these critics wrote incisively about seismic changes in the art world, often disagreeing with each other vehemently. By interpreting the significance of the most daring art of their times, their advocacy propelled the artists and their art to the forefront of the public imagination. By the late 1950s, Pollock and de Kooning were virtually household names and Abstract Expressionism was widely known throughout America and in ternationally.

Action/Abstraction presents major paintings and sculptures from this decisive era, surveying the first generation of Abstract Expressionists as well as later artists who built on their achievements. Context rooms in the exhibition will feature personal correspondence, magazines and newspapers, film and television clips, and photographs that shed light on the cultural and social climate of the 1940s to the 1970s. The works in the exhibition, arranged in thematic sections, are grouped to evoke the rivalry of Greenberg and Rosenberg and the epic transformation of American art in the postwar period.

Following its New York City showing, Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940-1976 will travel to the Saint Louis Art Museum from October 19, 2008 to January 11, 2009, and the Albright–Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY from February 13 to May 31, 2009. The exhibition has been organized by The Jewish Museum in collaboration with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Saint Louis Art Museum.

Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940-1976

Künstler: Lee Bontecou, Anthony Caro, Herbert Ferber, Helen Frankenthaler, Arshile Gorky, Philip Guston, David Hare, Grace Hartigan, Hans Hofmann, Jasper Johns, Allan Kaprow, Willem De Kooning, Lee Krasner, Ibram Lassaw, Norman Lewis, Seymour Lipton, Morris Louis, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, Claes Oldenburg, Jules Olitski, Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, Martha Rosler, Mark Rothko, Peter Saul, David Smith, Saul Steinberg, Frank Stella, Clyfford Still, Anne Truitt

04.05.08 - 21.09.08 Jewish Museum - New York
19.10.08 - 11.01.09 Saint Louis Art Museum
13.02.09 - 31.05.08 Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo