Exhibition - American Abstraction During the Thirties and Forties

Saturday, Nov 6, 2021 at 10:00am

Phoenix Art Museum
1625 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004

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American abstract painting flourished in the period between the Depression and World War II despite ongoing competition with European artists. Many of the leading American painters had studied in Europe during the early part of the century, while others came to maturity at home in the ’30s. Founded in 1936, the American Abstract Artists (AAA) was a group dedicated to exhibiting and promoting non-representational art in New York City. One AAA member declared, “The artist no longer feels that he is ‘representing reality.’ He is actually making reality.” Yet abstraction was slow to gain widespread popular appeal with American audiences, and critics dismissed the work of the AAA as too European. Painter Esphyr Slobodkina summed up this frustrating position saying, “When, finally, in 1936, the Museum of Modern Art did offer its public an exhibition of cubist and abstract art, only European artists were included.” With the outbreak of war in Europe, many avant-garde artists sought refuge in New York City, befriending American artists and collectors. By the dawn of the ’50s, American abstraction and its signature abstract expressionist style made New York City the center of the Western art world.

Exhibition Date: September 7, 2019 – June 12, 2022.

Location: American Art galleries


Museum Members | Free

Military Access Program | Free

Adults | $23.00

Seniors | $20.00

Students | $18.00

Youth (6 – 17) | $5.00

Children (5 and younger) | Free

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