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COLLECTIONS | INSTITUTIONAL HISTORIES

PUBLISHER
Fundación Juan March

BOOK FORMAT
Hardcover, 9 x 11.5 in. / 304 pgs / 137 color / 102 bw.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: FALL 2020 p. 12   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9788470756658 TRADE
List Price: $55.00 CDN $77.00 GBP £50.00

AVAILABILITY
In stock

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

Madrid, Spain
Fundación Juan March, 03/06/20–06/07/20

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FUNDACIóN JUAN MARCH

The Irascibles: Painters Against the Museum (New York, 1950)

Text by Daniel Belasco, Bradford R. Collins, Beatriz Cordero, Charles H. Duncan, Horacio Fernández, Manuel Fontán del Junco, Sanford Hirsch, Frauke V. Josenhans, Marin R. Sullivan, María Toledo, Inés Vallejo.

The Irascibles: Painters Against the Museum (New York, 1950)

The first documentation of the legendary 1950 showdown between 18 leading abstract expressionists and the Metropolitan Museum of Art

In 1950, 18 American abstract painters signed an open letter addressed to the president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to express their intense disapproval of the museum’s contemporaneous exhibit American Painting Today: 1950. 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.

This artistic coalition, which included many members of the New York School and is now considered a watershed movement in mid-20th-century American art history, challenged the museum’s policies for their narrow understanding of what made certain art worth exhibiting. Though they resisted being labeled 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 paintings by the artists, images from Leen’s photoshoot and extensive documentation of the letter-writing process with relevant catalogs 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.


Featured image is reproduced from 'The Irascibles: Painters Against the Museum (New York, 1950).'

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

Midwest Book Review

James Cox

An elegant coffee-table style volume, "The Irascibles: Painters Against the Museum" is an impressively informative, exceptionally well organized, and inherently fascinating work of meticulous and collaborative scholarship...

New Criterion

Peter Malone

Along with contemporary press accounts, correspondence, exhibition ephemera, and a series of essays covering a number of perspectives on the event and its context, the catalogue’s team of writers offers a look behind the curtain of the New York School’s founding myth....The catalogue unveils a plethora of visual source material and peels back layers of personal interactions between artists, dealers, collectors, museum trustees, and critics during the events of the early Fifties.

Antiques and The Arts Weekly

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.

ARLIS/NA

Daniel Belasco

A substantial work that places itself directly in dialogue with foundational texts about this period [...]With more than 230 illustrations, a detailed timeline of events, maps charting the locations of artist meeting spaces, galleries, and museums in Manhattan, and an extensive bibliography, the coffee table-style catalog would be a strong addition to college, university, and art and design school libraries that support the study of modern art history.

The Irascibles: Painters Against the Museum (New York, 1950)

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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG

CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 8/21/2020

Scholarly 'The Irascibles' documents the Abstract Expressionists' epic 1950 protest of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Scholarly 'The Irascibles' documents the Abstract Expressionists' epic 1950 protest of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Featured spreads are from The Irascibles: Painters Against the Museum (New York, 1950), the first documentation of the legendary 1950 showdown between 18 leading abstract expressionists and the Metropolitan Museum of Art—made famous by a Nina Leen's group portrait for Life magazine. "Dear Sir," they wrote to Metropolitan president, Roland L. Redmond, "The undersigned painters reject the monster national exhibition to be held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art next December, and will not submit work to its jury. The organization of the exhibition and the choice of jurors by Francis Henry Taylor and Robert Beverly Hale, the Metropolitan’s Director and the Associate Curator of American Art, does not warrant any hope that a just proportion of advanced art will be included. We draw to the attention of those gentlemen the historical fact that, for roughly a hundred years, only advanced art has made any consequential contribution to civilization. Mr. Taylor on more than one occasion has publicly declared his contempt for modern painting; Mr. Hale, in accepting a jury notoriously hostile to advanced art, takes his place beside Mr. Taylor. We believe that all advanced artists of America will join us in our stand." The letter was signed by twenty-eight artists, among them 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. Collecting 18 paintings by the artists, images from Leen’s photoshoot and extensive documentation of the letter-writing process with relevant catalogs and magazines, this is a fitting book to consider as artists continue to protest museums with problematic power structures today. continue to blog


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