Anticipates Clement Greenberg's emphases on medium purity of the picture plane and aesthetic unity.
Hans Hofmann writes, "On the Aims of Art," which is translated and published in Fortnightly.
Hofmann's Artistic Purity
Calls for artists to only make art that is socially and politically relevant to the times. The Club disbanded in 1936 and became the American Artists' Congress.
The John Reed Club of New York publishes their manifesto.
John Reed Club Manifesto
Reinforces idea that the modern artists are intimately tied to their society.
Meyer Schapiro writes, "The Social Bases of Art" for the First American Artists' Congress.
American Artists' Congress
Contains famous diagram mapping the progression of modern art.
Alfred Barr writes catalog for MoMA exhibit, "Cubism and Abstract Art."
Barr's Art Diagram
Identifies the term 'Abstract' as a set of values; anticipating the Abstract Expressionists as a group of artists united in their artistic and philosophical diversity.
The American Abstract Artists (AAA), led by Ad Reinhardt and Josef Albers, issue their editorial statement.
American Abstract Artists
Establishes idea of avant-garde art as important in keeping culture alive as capitalism grows. Traces of Marxist art theory still remain in art criticism.
Clement Greenberg writes, "Avant-Garde and Kitsch" for Partisan Review.
"Avant-Garde and Kitsch"
Theory breaks with formalist criticism; warns against establishment of a singular modern culture amidst a world in political turmoil; anticipates New York City becoming the new center of the avant-garde.
Harold Rosenberg writes, "The Fall of Paris" for ART News.
"The Fall of Paris"
Discusses the idea that all contemporary artists' work represents isolation and uncertainty because social conditions force them into that role.
Robert Motherwell delivers lecture at Mount Holyoke College, "The Modern Painter's World."
Motherwell and Existentialism
Combines German Expression with American ideal of individualism, giving a name to the art movement.
The New Yorker's Robert M. Coates reviews Hofmann show, coins the term 'Abstract Expressionism'.
"Abstract Expressionism" Named
Asserts the priority of the aesthetic form over the social significance of art; officially breaking with earlier Marxist thought.
Barnett Newman writes, "The First Man Was an Artist" for Tiger's Eye.
Form Over Content
Offers dissenting views against growing tendency among artists to produce political art, shrouded in Cold War propaganda; stresses importance of individuality.
At the height of his fame, Pollock abandons "drip method".
Jackson Pollock gives interview in Life magazine.
Pollock's Life Interview
Offers the term 'Abstract' as something wholly subjective, without a set of definitive values or ideals.
Willem de Kooning delivers symposium lecture at MoMA, "What Abstract Art Means to Me."
What is "Abstract"?
Provides counterpoint to Greenbergian formalism; Rosenberg focuses on the informal modes of creation and the existential drama of painting. 'Action Painting' becomes the preferred term of the time.
Rosenberg writes, "The American Action Painters" for ART News.
"American Action Painters"
Rejects influence of Communism and accuses it of being tyrannical toward the arts, while modern artists maintain a freedom of thought and expression,"those who equate modern art with totalitarianism are ignorant of the facts."
Barr writes, "Is Modern Art Communistic?" for the New York Sunday Times Magazine.
Barr Rejects Communism
Essay helps identify the formal and technical achievements of American Abstract artists and the influence of their European predecessors. This was the first of many attacks on Rosenberg's term "Action Painting," which Greenberg accused him of "concocting."
Greenberg writes, "'American-Type' Painting" for Partisan Review.
Accuses Greenberg of failing to clearly define what constitutes 'American-Type"' also accuses him of misunderstanding the idea of 'value' in great artworks.
Fairfield Porter writes letter to Partisan Review in direct response to Greenberg's "'American-Type' Painting".
Porter vs. "American-Type"
Affirms a new way of viewing fine art, free from academic tyranny; connecting art and life.
Rosenberg publishes his essay collection, The Tradition of the New.
Tradition of the New
Accuses Abstract Expressionism of being a movement that harbors "charlatans" and "fakes," posits that Abstract art is a dated and overused style, provoking a fury from artists and critics.
John Canaday writes, "Happy New Year" for The New York Times.
"Charlatans" and "Fakes"
Highlights the work of several artists who clearly break from medium purity, including the collagist Joseph Cornell and 'Combine' artist Robert Rauschenberg. Hess is the first theorist to identify rich ancestry of artistic pluralism.
Thomas B. Hess writes review in ART News for exhibit at Jackson Gallery, New Media - New Forms.
New Media-New Forms
John Canaday refers to Alfred Barr as, "the most powerful tastemaker in American art today"; a tongue-in-cheek reference to Barr, who he believes is a dictator.
Canaday writes article in The New York Times, panning the AbEx artists as an unoriginal group of followers.
Canaday vs. Barr
In his response, Barr writes, "At [MoMA] we propose a partial answer to the dilemma: we must show the many disparate, even contradictory, yet significant kinds of art our complex civilization [has] produced."
Barr responds to "tastemaker"
Responds to Rosenberg's book and his own informal brand of critique. Greenberg is highly critical of those who view abstract artists as getting swept away in some "creative act."
Greenberg publishes his own essay collection, Art and Culture.
Art and Culture
Letter outlines Canaday's failure to offer specific examples in his negative critique of the AbEx movement and is signed by 49 artists and critics, including Hess, Hofmann, de Kooning, Newman, Rosenberg and Motherwell.
"Letter to The New York Times" is sent in direct response to Canaday's anti-AbEx articles.
Response to Canaday
Continually frustrated by the popularity of the term 'Action Painting' and the followers of Rosenberg, Greenberg responded by accusing these critics of denying the concentrated judgment of the artist that went into creating an Abstract painting.
In March, Greenberg writes, "How Art Writing Earns Its Bad Name," for Second Coming.
Greenberg vs. "Action Painting"
Discusses the transition of American painting from first generation AbEx painters to the next, which he dubs "Post-Painterly Abstraction," a new phase in medium purity.
Greenberg writes, "After Abstract Expressionism," for Art International.
Commemorates the 10th anniversary of his essay, "American Action Painters." He reaffirms the belief that the, "American painter found a new function for art as the action that belonged to himself." He also taunts Greenberg's use of materialist vocabulary, his emphasis on superficial painterly qualities and lack of attention to subject matter.
In December, Rosenberg writes, "Action Painting: A Decade of Distortion," for ART News.
"Action Painting" Turns 10
Introduces the notion that it is the very nature of modern art to bewilder and confuse others; he takes Greenberg's claim that, "All truly original art looks ugly at first," then turns this ideal against Greenberg and Rosenberg for essentially rejecting new phases in modern art, such as Pop art.
Leo Steinberg's three lectures, "Contemporary Art and the Plight of Its Public," appear in Harper's magazine.
Who is Art's "Public"?
Focused specifically on the social significance and effects of the works of three of the Post-Painterly Abstractionists: Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski and Frank Stella.
Michael Fried writes, "Three American Painters," for an exhibit of the same name at the Fogg Art Museum.
Three American Painters
Once a disciple of Clement Greenberg and Michael Fried, Rosalind Krauss becomes increasingly frustrated with Greenberg's inability to appreciate new and interesting forms of modern art. She also declares Rosenberg's informal Existentialist art theory a form of tyranny. She writes that modern criticism must no longer play into schemas of meaning and history, or try to dictate perspective; criticism should have humility and innocence.
Rosalind Krauss writes, "A View on Modernism," for Artforum.
New View on Modernism
Breaks with formal Greenbergian theory and Rosenberg's notion of "Action Painting"; derides both as too high-minded and philosophical. Steinberg offers new perspective on modern art: All great art is about art, whether the emphasis is on content, form, or neither. He was the first critic to openly praise the Pop art of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg as a new phase in 'flatness'.
Leo Steinberg delivers lecture at MoMA, "Other Criteria."
Steinberg's "Other Criteria"
Marking the end of John Canaday's critical reign. John Russell becomes a voice of praise for post-modern styles; rather than rejecting ideas of "Action" or "American-Type," he introduces idea that post-modernism is an extension and intensification of modernism.
John Russell becomes the art critic for The New York Times, becoming chief critic in 1980.
New Era at NYT
According to Hughes, AbEx officially died in 1970 along with the suicide of Mark Rothko. Following his death, the court case between Rothko's children and his estate's trustees over the monetary value of the paintings changed the dynamics of the art world.
Robert Hughes writes about the death of Abstract Expressionism in the New York Review of Books.
"Death" of AbEx