Abstract Expressionism is an American visual art movement that began in New York and San Francisco during the Cold War of the 40’s and 50’s. It uses abstraction to convey emotion and is known for using large canvases and alternative materials such as commercial house paint. Artists experimented working with un-stretched canvas on the floor instead of an easel. Abstract Expressionism’s became significant because it’s known as the first American art movement to gain international praise. As with other influential art movements males received most of the acclaim (Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning & Clyfford Still). The Denver Art Museum (DAM) has organized an exhibit to finally give the women of the movement their due.
Women of Abstract Expressionism is the first major museum show to assemble works from women from the 1st and 2nd generations of the movement. The museum limited the number of women to 12 in order to show more works from each artists. “While visitors discover the significant role of women in the formation of abstract expressionism, they will be treated to a powerful presentation of remarkable paintings,” DAM modern-art curator Gwen Chanzit.
I took the guided tour of the exhibit last weekend. The paintings are incredible and dramatic. It’s always interesting to get background information from the guide on things such as how long it took the artist to complete a work of art or the level of marginalization from curators and critics of the time.
The DAM also had an Artist at Work demonstration that day. Laura Krudener worked on one of her poured action paintings in the movement studio. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions of artists while they work.
Women of Abstract Expressionism is showing at the Denver Art Museum until September 25. Afterward it will travel to the Mint Museum in Charlotte and the Palm Springs Art Museum.