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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Know Your Critics: What Did Meyer Schapiro Do?

Although Meyer Schapiro (1904-1996) was one of the most influential art historians of the 20th century, his legacy is hard to quantify. He was a professor at Columbia University from 1928 until his death; he also lectured at New York University in the early 1930s and thereafter at the New School. For an academic, Schapiro had a uniquely extensive reach through his […]

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 […]