TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT March 1992

RECASTING THE CANON: NORMAN LEWIS AND JACKSON POLLOCK

NORMAN LEWIS AND JACKSON POLLOCK. The latter one of the best-known painters of this century; the former hardly known at all, at least in “mainstream” art history. Both artists had early on made “propaganda” art, as art with a social point of view was then described, and later, at around the same time in the mid ’40s, both made a leap into nonobjective abstraction. Yet Pollock became famous and Lewis didn’t.

Was Lewis just less good? After all, though the mesh of art-history-making that over the years has sieved out fewer than a dozen “Abstract Expressionists” for serious consideration until quite recently excluded nearly everyone who wasn’t white, male, and apparently heterosexual,1 it also screened out quite a number of SWM’s. Or were some of the criteria for what counted as good abstraction—and for who could do it—stacked against African-Americans?

LEWIS AND POLLOCK arrived at Abstract

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the March 1992 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.