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 […]

Who Are the Most Influential Artists of the Last Century? 26 Industry Leaders Weigh In

Which artist defined the last 100 years—and continues to reverberate in the work of artists today? In 2017, a century since Marcel Duchamp turned a readymade urinal into an artwork, we’ve wondered how to characterize the past 100 years in art, posing challenging questions to some of the industry’s brightest figures: What are this century’s most iconic works […]

Famous Abstract Artists that Changed the Way We Think About Painting

Abstract artists fast brought different genres and sub genres of abstraction into the dominant painting style of the 20th century. This influential avant-garde direction in painting derived from the request for “pure art”, non-figurative, non-objective and nonrepresentational artwork. The earliest movements toward contemporary abstraction were seen in Romanticism, Impressionism and Expressionism, where artists put a […]

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 […]

Mark Rothko’s Dark Palette Illuminated

One evening in 1968, Mark Rothko regaled the art dealer Arne Glimcher, who had dropped by his studio on his way home from Pace Gallery in New York, with the story of a visit from a collector that day. Pointing to an enormous painting of dark blue and black rectangles floating on a deep burgundy […]

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: […]

10 Reasons To Be Excited About The New Whitney Museum

The new home of the Whitney Museum of American Art, in all its 28,000 tons of glory (as architect Renzo Piano pointed out during the preview Thursday), opens to the public May 1 in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District (see Does the New Whitney Museum Herald a Golden Age for New York Institutions?). artnet News joined the preview, […]

Know Your Critics: What Did Irving Sandler Do?

Irving Sandler is an artists’ art historian. In contrast to other prominent midcentury art critics—like the New York Times’s John Canaday, who warned him against fraternizing with artists for fear of impairing his critical distance—Sandler purposefully immersed himself in his subjects’ milieu, first in his days as a young reviewer for Artnews and later as […]

Giant Bronze Babies Make Qataris Queasy as Nation Gorges on Art

Seventy kilometers west of Doha lies the Brouq Nature Reserve, a sand spit in the Gulf of Bahrain where Qataris like to camp and wax nostalgic about their grandparents’ nomadic Bedouin lifestyle. To get there, you drive an hour along a highway bordered by electrical towers and plastic barriers that prevent blowing sand from drifting […]

The Race to Find New Art Collectors

In early May, Christie’s invited a group of 18 new collectors from China to visit New York. The auction house escorted the guests on guided tours through the Museum of Modern Art, arranged VIP tickets to a local art fair and threw a lavish dinner in the Rockefeller Center ballroom of Christie’s. Auctioneers also reserved […]

Know Your Critics: What Did Harold Rosenberg Do?

Known for his support of “action painters”—his term for the Abstract Expressionists—Harold Rosenberg (1906-1978) was, along with Clement Greenberg, at the center of mid-century American art criticism. Together, these two critics developed the vocabulary and analytic tools to understand Abstract Expressionism, and to explain its advancements to the rest of the world. There was, however, a catch: […]

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 […]