Abstract Expressionist New York

October 3, 2010–April 25, 2011


The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Painting and Sculpture Galleries, fourth floor

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More than sixty years have passed since the critic Robert Coates, writing in the New Yorker in 1946, first used the term “Abstract Expressionism” to describe the richly colored canvases of Hans Hofmann. Over the years the name has come to designate the paintings and sculptures of artists as different as Jackson Pollock and Barnett Newman, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner and David Smith. Beginning in the 1940s, under the aegis of Director Alfred H. Barr, Jr., works by these artists began to enter the Museum’s collection. Thanks to the sustained support of the curators, the trustees, and the artists themselves, these ambitious acquisitions continued throughout the second half of the last century and produced a collection of Abstract Expressionist art of unrivaled breadth and depth.

Drawn entirely from the Museum’s vast holdings, Abstract Expressionist New York underscores the achievements of a generation that catapulted New York City to the center of the international art world during the 1950s, and left as its legacy some of the twentieth century’s greatest masterpieces. Galleries on the fourth floor present Abstract Expressionist paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, films, and archival materials in a display subtitled The Big Picture, marking the first time in the history of the new Museum building that a full floor has been devoted to a single theme. The exhibition continues on the floors below, where focused shows—Rock Paper Scissors in the second-floor Prints and Illustrated Books Galleries, and Ideas Not Theories in the third-floor Drawings Galleries—reveal distinct facets of the movement as it developed in diverse mediums, adding to a historical overview of the era and giving a sense of its great depth and complexity. Please note that these latter two gallery installations close on February 28, 2011.

Organized by Ann Temkin, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture.

HyundaiCard Company

The exhibition is made possible by Hyundai Card Company.

Major support is provided by Donald B. Marron and The Dana Foundation.

Additional funding is provided by Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, David Teiger, and Sally and Wynn Kramarsky.
Jackson Pollock. <i>Number 1A, 1948</i>.1948. Oil and enamel paint on canvas, 68" x 8' 8" (172.7 x 264.2 cm). Purchase. © 2010 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jackson Pollock. Number 1A, 1948.1948. Oil and enamel paint on canvas, 68" x 8' 8" (172.7 x 264.2 cm). Purchase. © 2010 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


AbExNY Visitor Package

Enrich your visit to Abstract Expressionist New York with this convenient, discounted package, which includes Museum admission, the exhibition publication, and a voucher for MoMA's cafes and restaurant. Available at the Information or Ticketing desks in MoMA’s lobby.

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Early Viewing Hours

Wednesdays–Mondays, through December 13, 9:30–10:30 a.m.

Members get special early viewing hours of Abstract Expressionist New York: The Big Picture before the Museum opens to the public. Early Viewing Hours are open to all members and their guests. Present your membership card and/or member guest admission ticket at the Museum entrance. Breakfast will be available for purchase at Terrace 5, including fresh-baked breads, coffee, and mimosas.

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