Photos: ‘Action/Abstraction’ at the Jewish Museum.

Action/Abstraction at the Jewish Museum
Always a badass: Jackson Pollock. Convergence, 1952. (Photos by C-M, unless otherwise noted.)

The Jewish Museum has a pretty tasty gathering of the big guns of abstract-expressionism in the U.S.: Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Lee Krasner and many, many other people you theorized about in art school. The show, in fact, is built around the two rival critics that really helped push this school of art into the mainstream: Harold Rosenberg and Clement Greenberg.

From there, it delves into their rival theories of action and abstraction…though this stuff matter less to me than the fact that these are canvases with balls. Big balls. (Even the stuff painted by the chicks has balls.) So get over to the museum already. There’s some damn fine stuff to see. The show is up until September 21st.

Click on photos to make ‘em big. Many more money shots after the jump.

Action/Abstraction at the Jewish Museum
Left to right: Woman, 1949-50 by Willem de Kooning, and Number 9, 1951 by Jackson Pollock.

Action/Abstraction at the Jewish Museum
Party at Pollock’s: One of the things I like about exhibits at the Jewish Museum are the ancillary materials they dig up for their shows. This is an issue of Vogue from March, 1951, featuring a fashion spread in front of several Jackson Pollock canvases. Irene, on the left, is wearing a Bianchi silk dress from Lord & Taylor, while Sophie rocks a full-length ball gown from the Salon Moderne at Saks. Do these ladies look like they’re ready to get down or what?

Action/Abstraction at the Jewish Museum
Left to right: Untitled, 1948 and Blue and Black, 1951-53, both by Lee Krasner. The canvas on the left is part of Krasner’s Little Image series (1946-1951), which incorporated abstract hieroglyphs of her own invention. The lines are evocative of Hebrew characters. Krasner, who studied Hebrew as a child, says she worked on these canvases from right to left.

Action/Abstraction at the Jewish Museum
Sanctum Sanctorum, 1962, by Hans Hofmann. (Photo: Benjamin Blackwell. © Renate, Hans & Maria Hofmann Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. )

Action/Abstraction at the Jewish Museum
Whirl, 1960, by Kenneth Noland. (Photo: Mark Tade. Art © Kenneth Noland/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.)

Action/Abstraction at the Jewish Museum
Untitled, 1962, by Lee Bontecou, a wall sculpture made of welded steel, epoxy, canvas, fabric, saw blade, and wire. For some reason, Bontecou’s sculptures make me think that she’d be totally crazy to hang out with. In a good way. (© Lee Bontecou/courtesy Knoelder & Company, New York.)

Action/Abstraction at the Jewish Museum
Gotham News by Willem de Kooning, 1955. De Kooning used pieces of newspaper to dry the paint, some of which left impressions on the painting. See a detail here.

Action/Abstraction at the Jewish Museum
An Ad Reinhart cartoon printed in Newsweek, in August of 1946, shows Abstract Art ready to save art from banality and corruption…and inferiority complexes (???).

Action/Abstraction at the Jewish Museum
The Liver is the Cock’s Comb, 1944, by Arshile Gorky.

Action/Abstraction at the Jewish Museum
Getting sculptural, from left: Kwannon, 1952, by Ibram Lassaw; Surrational Zeus II, 1947 by Herbert Ferber; Earth Forge II, 1955 by Seymour Lipton; and The Hero, 1952, by David Smith.

Action/Abstraction at the Jewish Museum
From left: Untitled (formerly self-portrait) (PH-233), 1945, by Clyfford Still; Middle: 1950-A No. 2 (PH-336), 1950, also by Still; and Untitled, 1961 by Mark Rothko.

Action/Abstraction at the Jewish Museum
Collection, 1971, by Saul Steinberg. (© Saul Steinberg Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.)

Action/Abstraction at the Jewish Museum
You’ve seen the grey, now see the color: Numbers in Color, 1958–1959, by Jasper Johns. (© Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.)

Also, check out the letter, in one and two parts, that Barnett Newman wrote to Clement Greenberg about several “serious” errors in a review. In the second part, you’ll see that he was especially peeved about the fact that Greenberg had reported that Newman had been influenced by Clyfford Still. The nerve!!

Posted by C-Monster.

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