Art History from Home: Abstract Art in America

Tues, Jan 12, 2021, 6 pm, Online, via Zoom

Nonrepresentational art has meant different things to different artists throughout American art history. This session presents a range of artists who have used abstract language to explore human perception, emotion, embodied experience, and more. It covers the early influence of Cubism and the American Abstract Artists union in the 1930s as well as the work of Abstract Expressionists, Minimalists, and artists associated with the 1960s civil rights movement.

Grant Johnson is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of art history at the University of Southern California and a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney. His dissertation, Sheila Hicks: Weaving to the World, traces the first critical history of the prolific American artist, weaver, and pioneer of global contemporary art. An active curator, critic, and writer, he has had work appear in ArtforumFriezeThe Brooklyn RailGarage, and Performa, where he was a writer-in-residence from 2012 to 2014.

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Kay WalkingStick, April Contemplating May, 1972. Acrylic on canvas, 49 7/8 × 49 7/8 in. (126.7 × 126.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee 2018.138. © Kay WalkingStick. Courtesy of the artist and the June Kelly Gallery