The abstract paintings of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, Lee Krasner, Clyfford Still, Helen Frankenthaler, and others revolutionized the art world in the 1940s and 1950s and continue to inspire passionate arguments to this day. What were these artists trying to achieve? Who were the critical voices of the time that rallied public interest in Abstract Expressionism and sparked rancorous debate?
Drawing on recent critical, historical, and biographical work, this lavishly illustrated book offers a sharp new focus on a pivotal art movement. It also presents an extensive commentary on the two most influential critics of postwar American art―Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg―whose powerful views shaped perceptions of Abstract Expressionism and other contemporary art movements. In one essay, Norman L. Kleeblatt traces the influence of Abstract Expressionism into the mid-1970s and examines its connection to subsequent art styles. Other essays range from the literary and intellectual culture of New York during that period and an analysis of sculpture and representation to a discussion of Jewish issues in relation to postwar American Art. In addition, the book features a magisterial essay by eminent critic Irving Sandler and a copiously illustrated cultural timeline by Maurice Berger.