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abstract expressionism

It was a full 170 years after Americans had their political revolution that they won an aesthetic revolution. American art to get rid of its inhibiting mechanisms- provincialism, over-dependence on European sources, and an indifferent public- and liberate itself into a quality and expressive force equal to, or exceeding that of art produced anywhere within the period. Few would argue that the painting and sculpture that emerged from the so-called New York School in the mid 1940s was the foremost artistic phenomenon of its time and was labeled as the Abstract Expressionist movement. Abstract expressionism was a reaction to social realism, surrealism, and primitive art in the 1940s; this is a turning point in American art history because it caused the rest of the art world to recognize New York as the new center of innovation.The movement synthesized three other previous art forms. Social Realists "socially grounded" activist art of the 1930s responded to the disaster of the economy in America and the rise of fascism abroad by working in socially conscience styles. "This art form was contaminated by the cliches of the Stalinist popular front" (American Visions p. 469). Abstract expressionists responded to these art forms by deriving their new style from personal experience and by embodying this in contemporary forms, instead of getting their ideas from politics. The influence of Surrealism in The Abstract Expressionist Movement was its stress on the power of the unconscience as the most fertile ground of imagery. The expressionists valued the Surrealist style because it revealed the action of the dreaming mind and valued the accidental and the involuntary: "It welcomed the image that rose unbidden from a chaos of marks" (Modern Art 3rd Ed, p. 265). It also valued the American surrealists' sense of mission. Their belief that art and life was inseparable heartened American artists who felt marginal, ignored by other Americans ...

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