Abstract Expressionism and the Modern Experience

Stephen Polcari, Author Cambridge University Press $85 (432p) ISBN 978-0-521-40453-2
Polcari makes a passionate case for abstract expressionism as ``a historical and public art'' that consciously grapples with the spiritual crises of our times, the brutality, violence and losses of modern history. Rejecting the ``big bang'' theory of abstract expressionism which posits a post-WW II explosion of works laden with musings on existentialism, alienation and individuality, he charts an artistic continuum from the late 1930s through the early '50s, when ``a unique Anglo-American view'' underpinning abstract expressionism was born out of the interaction of Jungian psychology, surrealism, Joyce and Eliot, anthropological concepts of world culture, and the perceived collapse of much of the political and social order. With 322 plates (32 in color), individual chapters cover Rothko, de Kooning, Pollock, Baziotes, et al. Director of the Archives of American Art in New York, Polcari has produced a challenging, revolutionary reassessment of the abstract expressionist project, its history, goals and future. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-521-44826-0
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