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The female Abstract Expressionists of New York shook the world of art

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Abstract Expressionism emerged in New York City in the 1940s in a world transformed by the Second World War. A successor to Surrealism, the movement is best known for its large-scale paintings and its artists’ interests in abstraction, the subconscious mind and the spontaneity of jazz music. Its arrival was a watershed moment in 20th-century art: New York usurped Paris as the capital of the contemporary art world, and exceptional female artists began to carve out names for themselves in a cultural landscape fraught with gender barriers. In this instalment of his YouTube series Great Art Explained, the UK curator, gallerist and video essayist James Payne explores Abstract Expressionism through the work of three New York-born female artists Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning and Helen Frankenthaler. Examining their lives, times and works in the context of art history, Payne highlights their significant contributions to the movement, and how, despite refusing to be defined by their gender, they opened doors for a new generation of female artists.

30 January 2023
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