The Evolution of Art: Artworks That Advanced Our Understanding of the Medium, Part I

Today, art can be almost anything. But there was a time in the not-so-distant past when abstraction was inconceivable, and it was believed that art could only represent something that already existed in the real world. There was a time when an object couldn’t be considered art unless it showed evidence of the artist’s touch. And until […]

An Eye-Popping Mid-Century Apartment Filled With Pollocks, Klines, and de Koonings

If you had Ben Heller’s eye, you’d have picked 50 straight Derby winners, or signed 100 future Hall of Fame ballplayers when they were 17. “When I think of my old apartment on the Upper West Side,” says the tall, spry Heller, who is 91, “even I’m shocked.” In the mid-1950s, the talent he was […]

The Ultimate Outline of the 20th Century Art

There is no doubt that the 20th century art was all about changing perspective. The artist’s way of seeing and therefore understanding things has been changing and continues to do so even in this day and age. The new, experimental approach to perspective was pursued both directly and implicitly. Painters and sculptors had abandoned linear […]

An Ambitious Survey of the Titans of Abstract Expressionism

BAC:  We saw this exhibition during Frieze week in London, and it is one of the best exhibitions we have ever seen – bar none. This expansive AbEx show is brash, irreverent, and unconstrained, just like the period it aims to express. The titans of Abstract Expressionism are on view now at The Royal Academy of […]

MoMA Curator Laura Hoptman on How to Tell a Good Painting From a “Bogus” Painting

When the influential Museum of Modern Art curator Laura Hoptman claims that she’s “a painting person,” it’s no joke. A veteran organizer of cutting-edge exhibitions, she built her career in part through her insistence on championing the medium, even—or perhaps especially—through its perennial periods of unpopularity and critical disdain. This has earned her both accolades and […]

Abstract Expressionism review – crammed in a room with the big men of US art

There are beautiful, marvellous and terrifying things in the Royal Academy’s much-trumpeted survey of Abstract Expressionism. What more could one ask in a show including the explosive and tender Jackson Pollock; De Kooning swerving and jumbling and dismembering his frightening figures of women; Rothko’s tangy brightness and trembling, tremulous darkness;Barnett Newman’s zips and planes and […]

How Abstract Expressionism changed modern art

What did the artists associated with Abstract Expressionism do so differently? And how is their work still relevant today? As the first survey of Abstract Expressionism for nearly 60 years is staged in Britain, co-curator David Anfam answers key questions. 1. How was Abstract Expressionism different to what came before? Crucially Abstract Expressionism, or ‘Ab […]

What Was Abstract Expressionism? A Paint-Splattered Primer on America’s First Major Art Movement

You don’t need to be an art insider to hear the term “Abstract Expressionists” used to describe the inspiration behind all manner of contemporary painting, but what was the original movement all about? Hint: it’s more than just Jackson Pollock drinking and tossing paint on a canvas. In this brief essay from Phaidon’s Art in Time: […]

In Search of the “Big Technique”: Alex Katz on Why Artists Should Stick to a Style in a Changing Art World

In this extensive interview excerpted from the revised and expanded edition of Phaidon’s monograph Alex Katz, the New York-based painter sits down with his longtime friend Robert Storr, the now-outgoing dean of the Yale School of Art, for a lively, winding discussion about the artist’s influences, concerns, and life history. You once said that a jerk is somebody […]

Indictment Details How to Forge a Masterpiece

The painting caught Pei-Shen Qian’s eye, but it was the price that affected him deeply. Mr. Qian, browsing in a booth at a Manhattan art show a decade ago, had stumbled across his own work: a forgery of a modern masterpiece that he had recently completed. He had sold it for just a few hundred […]