Although influenced to some extent by Surrealism and European abstract painting, Abstract Expressionism was hailed by critics as the first truly American avant-garde movement. It took post-war America by storm and its impact was swiftly felt across the globe, with New York becoming the focus of the international art scene.
In this incisive study, the curator and writer Debra Bricker Balken examines the work of the leading artists associated with Abstract Expressionism, including Willem de Kooning,
Lee Krasner, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. At the same time she examines the myths surrounding the movement, the variation in the motivation and practice of artists grouped by art historians under the same heading, and the role played by critics in the movement’s reception, both at the time and up to the present day.
Of equal value to the general reader and the art historical scholar alike, Balken’s text is a valuable addition to the literature on one of the most influential of all twentieth-century art movements.
Debra Bricker Balken is an independent curator and writer specialising in modern and contemporary art.