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The Emergence of the Art Movement: Abstract Expressionism

The United States, however, is a somewhat freer nation, and, as a result, the abstract expressionists were able to express themselves freely. Their work obviously demonstrates that in the consciousness of the nation, insofar as that consciousness is to be found in the products of its creative artists, there was very little resembling happiness and tranquility. The abstract expressionists, then, might be seen as the subconscious of the American mind, brewing and bubbling darkly and strangely beneath the surface exterior of the late 1940s and early 19506, in conflict with the prevailing optimistic view of reality being promulgated by the power groups of society. The abstract expressionists were the preview of what was to come in the 1960's; the prophets of the darker age which was waiting in the wings while the illusory tranquility of the Eisenhower era played itself out.

It is also an important part of conflict theory that change can come to society in a meaningful way only through turbulent clashes of power groups, or, more specifically, through clashes between the groups in power and groups opposed to the policies of the groups in power. If we consider that the Vietnam War and demonstrators protesting that war formed an expression of such turbulent conflict, then we might see the works of the abstract expressionists as a vision of such a conflict. This is not such a leap of metaphor, for the United States was in fact deeply involved in Vietnam from the end of World War II through the fall of the French in Southeast Asia in 1954. When we study, for example, Jackson Pollock's "Autumn Rhythm," it does not call for much of an imaginative stretch to see in that work the tangled and violent enmeshment of the United States in the jungles of Vietnam. It is clear, in any case, that the 1950 work by Pollock was expressing a view that was in blatant conflict with the vision of peace and prosperity, which the power groups of the United ...

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The Emergence of the Art Movement: Abstract Expressionism. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:25, August 17, 2017, from
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