The Abstract Impulse
Fifty Years of Abstraction at the National Academy 1956–2006
Introduction by Annette Blaugrund
Essay by Marshall Price
♦ Comprised of nearly fifty paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, The Abstract Impulse highlights artists in critical movements such as Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, and Op Art.
♦ Artists who are included are canonical figures such as Robert Motherwell, Jasper Johns, Helen Frankenthaler, and Robert Mangold, among others.This publication together with its coinciding exhibition seeks to unveil the pluralistic ways in which abstraction developed after 1950, which will be revealed by the grouping of the works stylistically and thematically into three general sections: gesture, geometry, and introspection. As opposed to the establishing rigorous and constricting epithets, the sections are presented here merely as a loose guide to help organize the innumerable ways in which artists have continued to create abstract art over the last fifty years. These themes should help to illuminate the pluralism that has been, and continues to be, the abstract impulse.
Marshall Price's essay covers the history of abstraction at the National Academy both with regard to its exhibition in the Academy's annuals and the election of abstract artists to its membership. Furthermore, his writing also reveals the process that its members went through to finally feature modern art at the Academy.
Marshall Price is the assistant curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Academy Museum.
Annette Blaugrund, PhD, is the director of the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts.