Reading Abstract Expressionism


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Context and Critique

Edited and with an introduction by Ellen G. Landau


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The first collection of writings on the entire history of Abstract Expressionism--a movement that has inspired six decades of heated rhetoric

Abstract Expressionism is arguably the most important art movement in postwar America. Many of its creators and critics became celebrities, participating in heated public debates that were published in newspapers, magazines, and exhibition catalogues. This up-to-date anthology is the first comprehensive collection of key critical writings about Abstract Expressionism from its inception in the 1940s to the present day.

Ellen G. Landau’s masterful introduction presents and analyzes the major arguments and crucial points of view that have surrounded the movement decade by decade. She then offers a selection of readings, also organized by decade, including influential statements by such artists as Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, and Barnett Newman as well as the commentary of diverse critics. Offering new insights into the development of Abstract Expressionism, this rich anthology also demonstrates the ongoing impact of this revolutionary and controversial movement.
Reading Abstract Expressionism is essential for the library of any curator, scholar, or student of twentieth-century art.

Ellen G. Landau is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, Department of Art History and Art, Case Western University. Her previous books include Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner: A Catalogue Raisonné.

“Abstract Expressionism…was always big: larger-than-life personalities, outsized canvases, bold gestures to match bold ideas… It is fitting, then, that Landau’s anthology…is equally expansive. … Highly recommended for museum and university libraries and for anyone interested in Abstract Expressionism and its critical reception.” - Craig Bunch, The Art Book

"In the preface Landau observes that the book came out of a lack of "a comprehensive overview of the varied and extensive discourse that has surrounded this important twentieth-century movement from its inception to the present" (ix). Landau has clearly succeeded. . . . This book will be required for every seminar taught on Abstract Expressionism, and I will certainly require it for mine. Its comprehensiveness is a virtue, as is Landau's attention to the role that exhibitions played in shaping the meaning of art."—Daniel A. Siedell, Journal of Aesthetic Education
ISBN: 9780300106138
Publication Date: May 11, 2005
768 pages, 6 x 9
27 b/w + 8 color illus.
Women of Abstract Expressionism

Edited by Joan Marter; With an introduction by Gwen F.

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