“I think very few of the artists involved in Abstract Expressionism were interested in Expressionism, and I think that the so-called Expressionist element has to do with a certain anxiety and certain violence that I think is in the American scene. Abstract Expressionism was the first American art that was filled with anger as well as beauty.”
(Robert Motherwell, in Painters Painting, documentary, 1972)
Our assessment of Abstract Expressionism or AE, starts with our gaze turning to New York City after WWII. Our jumping off point involves the AE Irascibles—a group of rowdy, creative, and often drunk Greenwich Village artists, as well as avant-garde writers/poets, who gathered at the famous Cider Tavern Bar and Restaurant (24 University Place between E. 11th and 12th Street) The creative class in Greenwich Village liked the Cedar Tavern as it was the preferred watering hole for artists/writers/poets and was noticeably absent of tourists or the middle-class “squares”. Cedar Tavern served as an important “incubator” of the emerging avant-garde following WWII.
Where do artists today go to socialize with their fellow avant-garde and develop threads of discussion outside their respective studios? Is this form of friendly dialogue between the creative class still important today? Where do you find the threads to understanding the art of your generation?