abstract expressionist new york

Yayoi Kusama and more featured in “In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting” 

Yayoi Kusama explored the concept of infinite repetition across a broad range of mediums as she forged a path through the male-dominated Abstract Expressionist art world of 1950s New York. For this work, she photographed her Infinity Net paintings, then cut up the black-and-white prints and fit them into a grid. See this and more works by pioneering women abstract artists in the exhibition #MakingSpace, now on view at MoMA.

Learn about the materials, techniques, and approaches of Kusama and six other New York School artists in our newest free online course, “In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting.” The next session starts April 24— enroll today at mo.ma/coursera

[Yayoi Kusama. “Accumulation of Nets (No. 7).” c. 1962. Collage of gelatin silver prints. Gift of Agnes Gund. © 2017 Yayoi Kusama]

Resisting interpretation or classification, Mark Rothko (1903–1970) was a prominent advocate for the artist’s consummate freedom of expression. Although identified as a key protagonist of the Abstract Expressionist movement, first formed in New York City, Rothko rejected the label and insisted instead on “a consummated experience between picture and onlooker.”

Following a repertoire of figurative works, Rothko developed his now iconic canvases of bold color blocks in red, yellow, ochre, maroon, black, green. With these shimmering, pulsating color masses, Rothko stressed that he had not removed the human figure but rather put symbols or shapes in its place. These intense color forms contained all the tragedy of the human condition. At the same time, Rothko explicitly empowered the viewer in the expressive potential of his work. He believed “A picture lives by companionship, expanding and quickening in the eyes of the sensitive observer.”

From his early development through to his most famous color fields, this book introduces the intellect and influence of Rothko’s dramatic, intimate, and revolutionary work.

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    “There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.” —Helen Frankenthaler
    The American abstract expressionist painter was born today, December 12th in New York City. #HelenFrankenthaler #Gagosian #ArtistBirthday
     Image: “Mountains and Sea,” 1952, oil and charcoal on unsized, unprimed canvas, 86 3/8 x 117 ¼ inches (219.4 x 297.8 cm) Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, N.Y., on extended loan to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.© 2016 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.