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Abstract Expressionism
The Simple Expression of Complex
Making Sense of a World Gone Mad
• After WWII, artists in New York were eager to
express their frustration in a world they perceived
to be too much– like the Dadaists after WWI.
• Barnet Newman, an artist associated with the
movement, wrote:
– "We felt the moral crisis of a world in shambles, a
world destroyed by a great depression and a fierce
World War, and it was impossible at that time to paint
the kind of paintings that we were doing—flowers,
reclining nudes, and people playing the cello."
• Although the war was an inspiration and a
turning point for these artists,
experimentation in style and subject matter
had come from teachers who left Germany
from the Bauhaus and came to the Northeast.
• In addition, many were exposed to the Marxist
realism of Diego Rivera and the Mexican
Carl Jung
• The collective unconscious
• Archetypes
• His philosophies were very influential among
the Abstract Expressionists– just like Freud
with the Surrealists.
Mark Rothko
• "If you are only moved by color relationships,
you are missing the point. I am interested in
expressing the big emotions - tragedy, ecstasy,
• https://www.khanacade • https://www.khanacade
Jackson Pollock
• "It doesn't make much difference how the
paint is put on as long as something has been
said. Technique is just a means of arriving at a
That’s not art– it’s CHAOS!
• Why study Jackson
• Watch “action painting”