Irascibles, The: Painters Against the Museum (New York, 1950)
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In 1950, 18 American abstract painters signed an open letter to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to express their intense disapproval of the museum’s contemporaneous exhibit 'American Painting Today: 1950'. This artistic coalition is now considered a watershed movement in mid-20th-century American art history for challenging the museum’s policies for their narrow understanding of what made certain art worth exhibiting. This publication collects 18 paintings by the artists.The artists were William Baziotes, James Brooks, Fritz Bultman, Jimmy Ernst, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Weldon Kees, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Richard Pousette-Dart, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, Theodoros Stamos, Hedda Sterne, Clyfford Still and Bradley Walker Tomlin.Though they resisted being labelled as a collective, media coverage of the museum boycott, which included a now-famous group portrait in Life magazine taken by photographer Nina Leen, ultimately contributed to the success of the 18 “irascibles” in what became known as the abstract expressionist movement.This publication collects 18 paintings by the artists, images from Leen’s photoshoot and extensive documentation of the letter-writing process with relevant catalogues and magazines. Featuring more than 230 illustrations alongside original essays by several art historians and curators that examine the complex history of the New York School, this volume serves as a time capsule of the exciting period of early abstract expressionism in the United States.
ISBN 9788470756658. Fundación Juan March.