Reading Abstract Expressionism Context and Critique Ellen G. Landau

Publication date:
11 May 2005
Yale University Press
768 pages: 229 x 152mm
27 b-w + 8 color illus.


The first collection of writings on the entire history of Abstract Expressionism--a movement that has inspired six decades of heated rhetoric

Abstract Expressionism is arguably the most important art movement in postwar America. Many of its creators and critics became celebrities, participating in heated public debates that were published in newspapers, magazines, and exhibition catalogues. This up-to-date anthology is the first comprehensive collection of key critical writings about Abstract Expressionism from its inception in the 1940s to the present day.

Ellen G. Landau’s masterful introduction presents and analyzes the major arguments and crucial points of view that have surrounded the movement decade by decade. She then offers a selection of readings, also organized by decade, including influential statements by such artists as Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, and Barnett Newman as well as the commentary of diverse critics. Offering new insights into the development of Abstract Expressionism, this rich anthology also demonstrates the ongoing impact of this revolutionary and controversial movement.
Reading Abstract Expressionism is essential for the library of any curator, scholar, or student of twentieth-century art.

Ellen G. Landau is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, Department of Art History and Art, Case Western University. Her previous books include Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner: A Catalogue Raisonné.

'Abstract Expressionism...was always big: larger-than-life personalities, outsized canvasses, bold gestures to match bold ideas... It is fitting, then, that Landau's equally expansive. ... Highly recommended for museum and university libraries and for anyone interested in Abstract Expressionism and its critical reception.' - Craig Bunch,