San Francisco

“The San Francisco School of Abstract Expressionism”

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Whatever the revisionist revelations of Serge Guilbaut, Griselda Pollock, et al, the consensus on Abstract Expressionism remains that it was both the first great homegrown American art movement and the center of the greatest period in American art (roughly 1945–60), modern or otherwise. There’s an argument to be made, I suppose, that Pop art was bigger in the press, bigger in more galleries, bigger in its effect on subsequent art, (Abstract Expressionism, after all, can’t claim to have turned every subsequent artist into a smart-ass ironist). But there’s no argument, in my opinion, to be made in favor of European tachisme even holding a candle to the New York School. And whatever revisions are attempted by American critics, it’s still clear that Abstract Expressionism—as an invention, as a force, as an artistic philosophy—was a New York phenomenon.

But it was not exclusively a New York

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