Ideas behind Abstract Expressionism

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Showcasing and educating people about Modern art and in particular Abstract Expressionism is one of the important missions of the Moco Museum in Amsterdam. The ideas behind this form of art may be interesting for many of you to learn. Most of the renowned Abstract Expressionist artists such as Mark Rothko were inspired and influenced heavily by the era's leftist politics. This led them to value art that dealt with personal experience and self-expression. Prior to this movement, most of these artists had very radical political views. But their view started to mature around the 1930s, although some of them would still maintain those radical views too. During that time the US suffered greatly in terms of its economy. It was also a pariah in terms of culture and people felt very isolated from the main cultural centers of the world. But what this movement did was it created a uniquely American style that was based on a sharp sense of individual freedom and expression, while also having a romantic mood and being large in scale all at the same time.

How Abstract Expressionism was formed

As I described above, abstract expressionism was formed around some key ideas. But did this movement and idea form into an artistic style which is still popular to this day. Well after the Second World War in the late 1940s, a few pioneering artists using various techniques formed the basis for what is now known as Abstract Expressionism. Clyfford Still is known for having started the movement in the year's right after the war using large abstract works which were not seen up to that time. Jackson Pollack later added his famous drip technique that he had developed in 1947. The year after, Willem de Kooning introduced his paintings featuring women, where he had gotten rid of arrangement, composition, light, turning his female portraits into the abstract. And Mark Rothko who is one of the last pioneers in developing Abstract Expressionism made his mark with his multi form paintings.

Abstract Expressionism beyond its inception

Until the mid 1950s this artistic style had evolved into a very male dominated space where very little room was given to female or LGBT artists to express themselves. This new generation had grown tired of the same macho style of the first generation of artists. Also the initial movement had started with a conflict between chaos and control, radical ideas and big bold abstract colors. But it seems like the time was up for this style and the first generation didn't have much to offer to the next generation. But the influence and legacy of Abstract Expressionists would later be felt in many other areas and created an irrefutable benchmark for future developments to be measured against.




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