A Sample of The New American Painting Exhibition of 1958

4 Dec

After reading The Independents article on Modern Art as a weapon for the CIA, link to article, I decided to visit the Congress for Cultural Freedom’s covert exhibition: The New American Painting exhibition of 1958.

Specific Object

The following is an exerpt from the March 11th, 1958 exhibition press release:

“”The first comprehensive exhibition to be sent to Europe of advanced tendencies in American painting will start a year-long tour this month under the auspices of the International Council at the Museum of Modern Art. Entitled The New American Painting, the show, selected from public and private collections “by Dorothy C. Miller, Curator of Museum Collections, consists of four to five pictures “by each of 17 artists. It will open at the Kunsthalle in Basel on April 19 where it will he seen concurrently with a one-man show of paintings “by Jackson Pollock, also “being circulated under the Council1s sponsorship. Organized in response to numerous requests by the Museum’s International Program, under the direction of Porter A. McCray, the exhibition will be shown later in Milan and then in other major cities including Berlin, Brussels, Paris and London.

The 17 painters represented in the exhibition are William Baziotes, James Brooks, Sam Francis, Arshile Gorky, Adolph Gottlieb, Philip Guston, Grace Hartigan, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko,Theodoros* Stamos, Clyfford Still, Bradley Walker Tomlin and Jack Tworkov. Although these artists have been associated with the movement generally called Abstract Expressionism, according to Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Director of Museum Collections, who has written the introduction for the exhibition catalog, they dislike labels and shun the words “movement” and “school.” “None speaks for the others any more than he paints for the others. Their individualism is uncompromising and as a matter of principle they do nothing deliberately in their work to make ‘communication’ easy.””

The following selection of paintings were featured in the exhibition:

Dwarf - William Baziotes

Dwarf, 1947  by William Baziotes

Karrig, 1956 by James Brooks

Diary of a Seducer, 1945 by Arshile GORKY

Tournament, 1951 by Adolph GOTTLIEB

Beggar’s Joys, 1954-1955 by Philip Guston

Cardinal, 1950 by Franz KLINE

Personage with Yellow Ochre and White, 1947 by Robert MOTHERWELL

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