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Artist as AuthorAction and Intent in Late-Modernist American Painting$
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Christa Noel Robbins

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226752952

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226753003.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

The Expressive Fallacy

The Expressive Fallacy

(p.42) 2. The Expressive Fallacy
Artist as Author

Christa Noel Robbins

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 2 historicizes the concept of expressionism as a central concept in Modernist painters’ understanding of authorship. The chapter looks at the mid to late 1950s, when a diverse group of American Modernists found themselves grouped into a newly formed style called “Abstract Expressionism.” Looking at the contents of It Is. A Magazine of Abstract Art, an art journal edited by Philip Pavia, which extended debates that first took place in “The Club” (an early New York School meeting place), along with the definitively expressionist paintings of Jack Tworkov, this chapter analyzes the ascendancy of “gesture” as a marker of authorial presence in Modernist painting. It shows that the increasingly explicit use of gesture as a device was in part the outcome of debates over the differences between and possible joining of two stylistic modes previously thought to be at odds: abstraction and expressionism. This chapter returns to that moment when abstraction and expressionism, which now seem so indelibly linked, represented two divergent modes of making and thinking about authorial presence in painting.

Keywords:   abstract expressionism, abstraction, art journal, The Club, expressionism, gesture painting, It Is: A Magazine of Abstract Art, Philip Pavia, Jack Tworkov

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