Art Since 1945: Developments, Diversity, and Dialogue
11.13.2004 - 01.30.2005
Art produced near the middle of the 20th century was important not just for the stylistic changes that occurred after the barren years of World War II, but also for the shift of avant-garde development from Europe to America. New York inherited the position of center of Modern art from Paris, and the chief protagonists were the Abstract Expressionists. These painters produced vast fields of colour and spontaneous gestures, exemplified by the dripped and poured canvases of Jackson Pollock, the explosive, energetic works of Willem de Kooning or the restful color panels of Mark Rothko, who preferred meditation to action.
While artists in the New World sought recognition, artists from Europe attempted to overcome the disillusion cast by the war. One such movement was Art informel, or "unformed" art, a reaction to the predominant style of geometric abstract painting. Art informel ignored traditional painting in favour of the expression of artistic freedom through experimental technique and diverse media. For those artists still oppressed by political and aesthetic tyranny after World War II, works of art also signified political liberation. This Europe-wide movement included artists such as Antoni Tàpies and Antonio Saura in Spain and Pierre Soulages and Hans Hartung in France. Matter and its physical properties were important for these artists, as it was for sculptor Eduardo Chillida, who in his works explored concepts such as limit, vacuum, space, and scale.
The work of Anselm Kiefer, amply represented in the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao’s collection, comes broadly under the term German Neo-Expressionism, a tendency that emerged in the late 1970s and which returned to gestural painting and allegorical content. The works presented in this exhibition offer an overview of the artist’s development over the last 20 years, covering a great variety of media and materials.
View of the exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao