PRINT Summer 1964

Abstract Expressionism

TWENTY YEARS AGO what was to be called Abstract Expressionism was introduced to the world. It was born in New York out of the ashes of tradition by mature artists who knew what tradition was when they discarded it. Their contemporaries in southern California did not participate, then or later on, but were content to pursue their own ideas, which accepted tradition and developed it toward personal forms of Neo-cubism, Neo-expressionism, and Neosurrealism. There was one exception, the Danish-American painter, Knud Merrild, whose “flux paintings,” though small in scale, approximated the seemingly automatic energy of Pollock. However, his too-early death placed him in forgotten land before he could serve as southern California prophet of the new. The role was imposed upon Hans Burkhardt who had known and worked with Arshile Gorky during Gorky’s formative years, but since Burkhardt’s paintings

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