Teaching National Gallery of Art, Washington This publication is made possible by the PaineWebber Endowment for the Teacher Institute. Support is also provided by the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for the Teacher Institute. Additional grants have been provided by the GE Fund, The Circle of the National Gallery of Art, the Geraldine R.
Dodge Foundation, and the Rhode Island Foundation. © 1999 Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington NOTE TO THE READER This teaching packet is designed to help teachers, primarily in the upper grades, talk with their students about art produced since 1950 and some of the issues it raises. The focus is on selected works from the collection of the National Gallery of Art.
For more complete information about artists and movements of this period, see the resources listed in the bibliography. This packet was developed by the Education Division in collaboration with the Editors Office, National Gallery of Art. The booklet was written and adapted from gallery sources by Carla Brenner, and edited by Dean Trackman.
Teaching activities were suggested by Carla Brenner, Arthur Danto, Anne Henderson, Megan Howell, Barbara Moore, Ruth Perlin, Renata Sant 9Anna, Paige Simpson, and Julie Springer, with helpful suggestions from Corinne Mullen, ... more. less.
Bettyann Plishker, and Marilyn Wulliger. Special thanks are owed to Arthur Danto for his generosity; Dorothy and Herbert Vogel for kind permission to reproduce slides of Joseph Kosuth 9s Art as Idea: Nothing ; Barbara Moore for help in concept development; Linda Downs for support; Marla Prather, Jeffrey Weiss, and Molly Donovan of the Department of Twentieth-Century Art, National Gallery of Art, for thoughtful suggestions and review; Sally Shelburne and Martha Richler, whose earlier texts form the basis of entries on Elizabeth Murray and Roy Lichtenstein, respectively; Donna Mann, who contributed to the introduction; and Paige Simpson, who researched the timeline. Additional thanks for assis- tance in obtaining photographs go to Megan Howell, Lee Ewing, Ruth Fine, Leo Kasun, Carlotta Owens, Charles Ritchie, Laura Rivers, Meg Melvin, and the staff of Imaging and Visual Services, National Gallery of Art; Sam Gilliam; Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen; and Wendy Hurlock, Archives of American Art.<br><br> Designed by The Watermark Design Office Unless otherwise noted, all works are from the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Cover images: Robert Rauschenberg, Copperhead Grande/ROCI CHILE (detail), 1985, acrylic and tarnishes on copper, Gift of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Jackson Pollock, Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) , 1950, oil, enamel, and aluminum on canvas, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund.<br><br> Andy Warhol, Green Marilyn , 1962, silkscreen on synthetic polymer paint on canvas, Gift of William C. Seitz and Irma S. Seitz, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art.<br><br> Susan Rothenberg, Butterfly , 1976, acrylic on canvas, Gift of Perry R. and Nancy Lee Bass. Frank Stella, Jarama II , 1982, mixed media on etched magnesium, Gift of Lila Acheson Wallace.<br><br> Mark Rothko, Untitled (detail), 1953, oil on canvas, Gift of the Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc. Roy Lichtenstein, Look Mickey, 1961, oil on canvas, Dorothy and Roy Lichtenstein, Gift of the Artist, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art. Eva Hesse, Test Piece for cContingent d (detail) , 1969, latex over cheesecloth, Gift of the Collectors Committee.<br><br> 5 Introduction 11 Works in focus 12 Jackson Pollock, Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), 1950 15 Willem de Kooning, Study for Woman Number One, 1952 16 Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1953 19 Barnett Newman, Yellow Painting, 1949 20 Robert Rauschenberg, Copperhead Grande/ROCI CHILE, 1985 23 Jasper Johns, Perilous Night, 1982 26 Roy Lichtenstein, Look Mickey, 1961 30 Andy Warhol, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Rauschenberg Family), 1963 33 Claes Oldenburg, Glass Case with Pies (Assorted Pies in a Case), 1962 34 David Smith, Voltri VII, 1962 37 Ellsworth Kelly, White Curve VIII, 1976 40 Ad Reinhardt, Black Painting No. 34, 1964 41 Frank Stella, Jarama II, 1982 45 Tony Smith, Moondog, 1964/1998 46 Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing No. 681 C, 1993 49 Joseph Kosuth, Art as Idea: Nothing, 1968 50 Eva Hesse, Test Piece for cContingent, d 1969 53 Richard Long, Whitechapel Slate Circle, 1981 56 Sam Gilliam, Relative, 1969 59 Susan Rothenberg, Butterfly, 1976 62 Philip Guston, Painter 9s Table, 1973 63 Chuck Close, Fanny/Fingerpainting, 1985 66 Martin Puryear, Lever No.<br><br> 3, 1989 68 Louise Bourgeois, Spider, 1996/1998 71 Anselm Kiefer, Zim Zum, 1990 74 Sigmar Polke, Hope is: Wanting to Pull Clouds, 1992 77 Elizabeth Murray, Careless Love, 1995 31996 79 Teaching activities 80 Discussion activities 82 Art activities 83 Research/writing activities 85 Glossary 89 Bibliography 90 Quotation sources 92 Summary chronology of artists and works 94 List of slides Slides, reproductions, and timeline Forty slides, six color reproductions, and an illustrated timeline poster are included in this packet \xb Contents 5 The 1950s Following the outbreak of World War II, the focus of artistic activity shifted, for the first time, from Europe to the United States and to young painters in New York, including Willem de Kooning, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko (see pages 12 319). Grouped under the rubric abstract expressionism, their diverse styles generally fall into two categories: one relying primarily on the artist 9s gesture and the other on color. Although a few painters, such as de Kooning, continued to use recognizable images, most did not.<br><br> At first their pictures shocked the public, but they soon came to dominate the art world. So-called action (or gesture) painting is epito- mized by Pollock 9s Lavender Mist (see page 13). Its intricate interlace was created by a bold, physical technique that put the artist, as he said, cin the painting. d Pollock placed his canvases flat on the floor and poured and flung his paints.<br><br> His works are records of his creative process, a direct view of his emotions and actions. The second category within abstract expres- sionism is represented by the evanescent rectan- gles of color in Mark Rothko 9s Untitled (see page 17). Through floating shapes, subtle brushwork, and color modulations, Rothko evoked a range of emotions, from elation to foreboding.<br><br> His medita- tive and silent pictures invite contemplation. Art historians have long pointed to the influ- ence on young abstract expressionists of sur- realist artists, many of whom had fled war-torn Europe for the United States in the 1930s. This view finds, for example, a parallel between the spontaneity of action painting and the automatic imagery used by the surrealists.<br><br> But while the surrealists mined the subconscious for preexist- ing mental images to reproduce, action painters found the image in the act of painting itself. By the early 1950s, existentialist thinkers were in the intellectual vanguard. cWe weren 9t influ- enced directly by existentialism, but it was in the air....<br><br> we were in touch with the mood, d de Kooning noted in an interview. Existentialism 9s premise that cexistence precedes essence d meant that humankind played the central role in deter- mining its own nature. People had to live in a mode of expectancy and change, always making themselves.<br><br> They held ultimate, awesome respon- sibility but were also free. Abstract expressionism took the idea of freedom as a given 4 and this more than anything else is what is common to its different styles. The 1960s By the 1960s both abstract and nonobjective art had lost their ability to shock.<br><br> Painting with recog- nizable subjects now seemed radical. Pop artists, so named for their use of images drawn from popular culture, broadened the definition of art by painting such everyday things as comic-book characters and soup cans. Ordinary objects had made their way into fine art before 4 cubist still-life painters, for example, had incorporated newspaper type and collage ele- ments.<br><br> David Smith (see page 34) used discarded metal objects in his welded sculpture. But Smith and the cubists were primarily interested in the visual qualities of these objects. This visual emphasis began to shift in the mid-1950s with Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns (see pages 20 and 23).<br><br> Rauschenberg used ordinary objects in what he called ccombine paintings. d Johns, whose painted works sometimes incorpo- rated three-dimensional casts, produced painted bronze or plaster versions of such things as lightbulbs and his own paint brushes stuffed into a coffee can. For later pop artists, these ordinary objects became subjects in a more direct way 4 unabashed reflections of a consumer society. With ironic detachment, pop artists put the mass culture of mid-century America in the spotlight, replacing the high seriousness of abstract expres- sionism with deadpan coolness.<br><br> Roy Lichtenstein 9s Look Mickey (see page 27) went a step further, not only using characters from popular culture but emulating the dot pat- tern of commercial printing. Though it looked Introduction Note: Boldface terms are defined in the glossary. as familiar as the Sunday comic pages, Look Mickey was made with careful consideration of color, composition, and other formal concerns.<br><br> Lichtenstein 9s picture was very much hand painted, but other pop artists began to move away from traditional cfine-art d techniques. Andy Warhol 9s Now Let Us Praise Famous Men (see page 31), for example, was made by a largely mechanical printing process using a silkscreen that had been created from a photograph, not from his own drawing or design. The role of the artist in making art was being reconsidered.<br><br> With expanded computer use, wider exposure to media such as television, and faster communi- cations, the 1960s experienced an explosion of information 4 new kinds of information and new ways of processing it. The visual arts extended into realms that had been considered quite distinct, such as theater, dance, and music. A number of artists, including at various times Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg (see page 33), and Warhol, concentrated their efforts on performance -type works, some of which were called happenings.<br><br> The first happening was organized by Allan Kaprow in 1959. cThe happen- ing, d he said, cis performed according to plan but without rehearsal.... It is art but seems closer to life. d He had been inspired in part by the music of John Cage, whose performances relied on unscheduled audience participation.<br><br> In Cage 9s c4 933 9 9, d for example, a pianist sat without striking a single key for four minutes and thirty-three sec- onds. The random sounds coming from the audi- ence were the only music. Artists 9 studios were often sites for happenings.<br><br> In many ways, Warhol 9s Factory, which is what he called his studio, was a permanent happening. For all of its visibility and widespread appeal, pop art 9s real theoretical complexity 4 its ques- tioning of assumptions about fine art 4 was not fully appreciated until much later. Not every artist in the early 1960s was interested in pop, in any case.<br><br> Abstract expressionism had dominated in the 1950s, and abstraction of different kinds continued to dominate into the 1960s. In a sense, abstraction was modern art 4 what people first imagined when hearing those words. The genera- tion of abstract artists that followed the abstract expressionists developed diverse coloristic styles sometimes characterized as postpainterly abstraction.<br><br> Some, including Morris Louis (see page 58), let their pigments soak into the fabric of the canvas and become more like a stain than paint on the surface. Their methods were taken up by the younger artist Sam Gilliam (see page 56), whose own unique contribution was to free the canvas from its rectangular support. The term postpainterly is also used to describe the nongestural approach of Ellsworth Kelly (see page 37).<br><br> In comparison with the highly subjec- tive art of the 1950s, Kelly 9s flatly painted panels in bold colors or in black and white seem pristine formal exercises, though he is inspired by things he sees in the world around him. His works have what could be described as cperfect pitch d in terms of color and shape. They are controlled and impersonal, with barely a trace of the artist 9s hand.<br><br> The simplification and reduction of works like Kelly 9s, not the lively irreverence of pop, attracted the attention of many younger artists in the 1960s and 1970s. The sobriety and concentration of Frank Stella 9s early work (see page 41), espe- cially, was an important influence on what came to be called minimal art. In 1965 Donald Judd (see page 44) wrote an essay entitled cSpecific Objects d that helped define the aims of minimal art.<br><br> In some respects, minimalism was more a way of thinking about art than making it. Minimal art- ists employed industrial means to manufacture impersonal, often rigid, geometric forms. They strongly asserted the object-ness of art.<br><br> The 1970s In the 1970s, if not before, the idea that art fol- 6 lowed some linear course that could be plotted, perhaps even predicted, had to be set aside. From the time Vasari wrote Lives of the Artists in the sixteenth century, art history had been written as a progression from one style to the next. No longer.<br><br> The 1970s, sometimes called the cpluralistic 70s, d saw the introduction of body art, conceptual art, process art, land art, performance art, feminist art, and others. They can all be seen as part of one larger postmini- mal movement, but what is most significant is the very fact of their multiplicity. Anything, it seemed, could be art.<br><br> And as Joseph Beuys, an influential German performance artist, maintained, everyone is an artist. In 1970 the exhibition Information at the Museum of Modern Art in New York featured works by conceptual artists. Like Sol LeWitt (see page 46), these artists appreciated the purity of minimalism but not its obsession with the art object.<br><br> For them, the idea was the art. The object was a mere by-product. Perhaps there was no object per se, only documentation of the artist 9s idea or activity.<br><br> At least in part this marked a reaction against the commodification of art, a rejection of the consumer culture so gaudily apparent in 1960s pop. Conceptual art ranged from cbody d pieces like those of Chris Burden, who in one work had himself shot in the arm, to the more cerebral word plays of Joseph Kosuth (see page 49). The assumption that a work of art was primarily defined by its visual qualities was being undermined.<br><br> Closely related to conceptual art was so- called land or earth art 4 for example, Robert Smithson 9s large-scale reshapings of the land- scape (see page 55) and the more anonymous efforts of Richard Long (see page 53), whose art includes walks in the countryside. Also related to conceptual art were process works, whose final form was determined by the artist 9s technique, choice of materials (which included such nontra- ditional cmedia d as rubber, ice, and food), and the interaction of natural forces. Process encom- passed such works as a transparent box in which moisture condensed and a sculpture created by the random fall of molten metal.<br><br> Process did not simply allow for but, in fact, relied on change and the element of chance introduced through the action of weather, atmosphere, gravity, oxi- dation, or other forces. Art was no longer fixed. Like life itself, it encompassed mutability and even decay.<br><br> One of the first artists to set aside the precision and hard surfaces of minimalism for a more processlike approach was Eva Hesse (see page 50). In the early 1970s sculptor Martin Puryear (see page 66) began using his fine handworking skills to develop an elegant, abstract style. His (usually) wooden sculptures have a strong, even mysterious cpresence. d Made using the laborious techniques of woodworker, boatwright, and bas- ketweaver, they derive power from the discipline of craft.<br><br> Pop artists painted comic-book characters and movie stars, but most other artists avoided recognizable imagery. About 1970, though, Philip Guston, who had been an abstract expressionist (see page 62), began to paint hobnailed boots and hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan, bewil- dering admirers of his previous work. By the end of the decade, both figures and more represen- tational styles had made a reappearance.<br><br> So- called new image art of the late 1970s and 1980s typically set a single figure in a dense, often expressionistic, background. Unlike the emotion- ally detached figures of pop, the motifs, like the horses of Susan Rothenberg (see page 60), are often mysterious and solemn. Like new image painters, Chuck Close (see page 63), who painted hyperrealistic close-up faces of family members and friends, retained theoretical links with minimalism, conceptual art, and process.<br><br> The 1980s into the 1990s 7 In 1981 at London 9s Royal Academy, the curator of the exhibition A New Spirit in Painting observed, cThe artists 9 studios are full of paint pots again. d His comment pointed to the preponderance of sculpture, performance art, and nonpaint media that had preoccupied so many artists in the pre- ceding decade. In the early 1980s, first in Germany and Italy and a bit later in the United States, a number of young painters returned not only to painting on canvas but to expressive styles and emotion-laden, highly charged content. Though enormously varied, their works have usually been labeled together as neo-expressionism.<br><br> These paintings are often large, their surfaces densely worked and frequently encrusted with an array of materials. Like Anselm Kiefer 9s meditations on the evil of the Holocaust (see page 71), they fre- quently tackle once-taboo subjects. A booming art market apparently starved for images and emotion paid unprecedented prices for these works in the 1980s.<br><br> In the 1990s many artists 4 and more crit- ics 4 have identified themselves as postmodern. In one sense this label reflects the reaction of painters distancing themselves from the focus of modernism on color, line, and composition. But it also reflects the influence of such postmod- ern thinkers and writers as Jacques Derrida and Roland Barthes.<br><br> Many of the artists who have come of age in the second half of the twentieth century 4 especially since the late 1960s 4 have been more widely educated than their predeces- sors and have a natural affinity for theoretical approaches. Chuck Close, only one of several art- ists we discuss who attended graduate school at Yale, said that cwe learned to talk art before we could really make it. d The discourse surrounding such ideas as semiotics , poststructuralism, and deconstruction have tended to make art a more hermetic pursuit, increasingly self-referential. The techniques of deconstruction, in particular, have been used as tools for the interpretation of works of art and as the theoretical underpinnings of new approaches for artists.<br><br> They have opened up the meaning of a work of art to multiple inter- pretations and created new possibilities for appro- priated (that is, borrowed) imagery. For Sigmar Polke (see page 74), the imagery he appropriates from another art source becomes new art in his hands because its context and therefore its mean- ing have changed. In the 1990s artists have also responded to new social critiques from African Americans, feminists, homosexuals, and other groups.<br><br> Sharper attention is being paid to issues of the artist 9s identity. We can note this motivation, for example, in the cinteriority d and female imagery of Elizabeth Murray 9s shaped canvases (see page 77) or in the highly personal symbolism of Louise Bourgeois (see page 68). In Bourgeois 9 case, this is a path she has been exploring for more than fifty years.<br><br> Quoting a Renaissance aphorism, noted art historian Dore Ashton acknowledged that cTruth is the daughter of Time. d Our conclusions grow less secure as we approach the present. Many of the assumptions we have held about art since the Renaissance have been questioned or even set aside. We no longer necessarily accept, for example, that art cprogresses d along a trajectory we can plot, that it is permanent and relies on traditional fine-art techniques, or that it conveys meaning or emotion through form.<br><br> In fact, we have been forced to consider whether art is fundamentally defined by the way it looks. Perhaps its cessence d lies elsewhere. Perhaps it has no claim to cessence d at all.<br><br> The works in this packet suggest many questions. The following paragraphs consider a few of them. 8 What distinguishes art from ordinary objects?<br><br> What is the role of the artist in cmaking d art? In 1913 Marcel Duchamp (see page 22) showed his first readymade, a bicycle wheel. It was followed in later years by a bottle rack, a urinal, and other coutrages. d These were, as surrealist author André Breton defined them, cmanufactured objects promoted to the dignity of art through the choice of the artist. d This was the opening salvo in the assault on the status, on what some later artists called the cfetish, d of the art object.<br><br> It wasn 9t until the late 1950s, however, that the real battle was joined. Sculptors and collage artists had long incorporated found objects for their value as abstract visual elements. But when Rauschenberg exhibited a stuffed goat (see page 20), he was implying that everyday things were not any less interesting in themselves than the representations of them that we had been calling art.<br><br> Warhol (see page 30) suggested that, well, anything could be art. Such views of course tended to undermine the object. Eventually conceptual artists asserted that the object was nothing but a residue of the real art that was the artist 9s idea.<br><br> No longer possessed of its former aura, the object per se was up for grabs, ready to be appropriated, copied, or even negated. Must a work of art be unique? What constitutes originality?<br><br> What distinguishes original and copy? In a famous essay entitled cArt in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction d (published originally in the mid-1930s), Walter Benjamin mused about what authenticity meant in the twentieth century. cFrom a photographic negative, for example, d he noted, done can make any number of prints: to ask for the 8authentic 9 print makes no sense. d He worried about the cdepletion d of art 9s caura, d which he defined as the chere and now of the work of art 4 its unique existence in space and time. d These words still haunt the discussion.<br><br> Both Rauschenberg and Warhol (see pages 20 and 30), at about the same time, started to use photosilkscreening. This was a mechanical 4 in fact a photographic 4 process that took an image not of the artist 9s own making and put it at the center of his work. Warhol compounded the issue by repeating his images (coke bottles, soup cans, and Marilyn Monroe, for example) many times over.<br><br> Moreover, art emerged from Warhol 9s studio, which he called the Factory, that he had not touched himself. He teased and provoked the public with comments like this one to an interviewer: cWhy don 9t you ask my assistant Gerard Malanga some questions? He did a lot of my paintings. d The question of originality becomes even more complex when we look at the reuse of images that are not simply everyday things such as soup cans but that were themselves created as art by someone else.<br><br> In appropriating images in this way, artists such as Sigmar Polke (see page 74) can comment on the very practice of art. Must a work of art endure, or can it be ephem- eral? In the 1970s a number of artists turned to the landscape to make art.<br><br> One of the largest land- art projects undertaken in the United States was Robert Smithson 9s Spiral Jetty (see page 55). Massive quantities of earth and rock were moved at great expense and human effort. The work has since sunk into the Great Salt Lake, disappearing by design.<br><br> In the work of conceptual artists such as Sol LeWitt (see page 46), whose pieces exist more as ideas than as things, the question of permanence is even more complicated, since ideas are able to be reconstructed indefinitely 4 or may never be given physical form at all. And for process artists, the ephemeral quality of their materials was in itself an art medium, one that adds change and the unpredictability of experience to their cpalette. d Art is part of lived experience. Does 9 it need to be permanent in a way life is not?<br><br> Philosopher Theodor Adorno wondered, cIf art, having once recognized duration as illusion, could renounce it, if it could incorporate its own mortal- ity into itself out of sympathy with the ephemeral nature of the living, then that would be appropri- ate to a conception of truth not as something external and abstract, but as grounded in time. d The other side of this coin is the symbolic value of permanence. Anselm Kiefer (see page 71), for example, uses lead to embody the weight and tragedy of history. It assumes more power, though, for audiences who no longer assume that art must be made to endure.<br><br> To what extent, if at all, does art need to fit the traditional definition of high art to be cfine art d? In the 1960s pop art changed what we accept as fine art. It offered new subjects from the busy, sometimes glaring confusion around us: brand logos and commercial products, comic-strip char- acters and movie stars.<br><br> It has changed not only what we see as art but the way we see it. We can now look at art 4 and at our own surroundings 4 with what has been called a vernacular gaze, taking in everything at once without judgments about value or hierarchies. Is it any less appropri- ate, any less strange, really, that our artists paint Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck rather than Venus and Adonis?<br><br> These characters are part of the ico- nography we all share, democratic and meaningful perhaps in a way that ancient gods and goddesses can no longer claim to be. What role does the viewer have to play? In the questions we have been considering, one thing is consistently clear: the viewer is more critical now than ever before.<br><br> The viewer has a much greater role to play 4 as participant, as collaborator. Happenings and performance may naturally imply an active spectator, but the same interaction has been introduced to what we might initially consider more traditional one-way works of painting and sculpture. Robert Rauschenberg 9s use of reflective surfaces in Copperhead Grande (see page 21) is only one, and a very literal, example.<br><br> It makes the viewer 9s own image and surroundings a part of the picture. In a different but equally crucial way, appropri- ation artists also rely on the viewer. The viewer 9s assumptions are an integral part of the art, no less so than pigment for a painter.<br><br> Postmodern theory has put the viewer in the driver 9s seat, so to speak, since it is the viewer who creates the meaning of a work. Moreover, a lot of art produced today is about art. Consider Jasper Johns 9 references to a Renaissance altarpiece and his own earlier paint- ings in Perilous Night (see page 24).<br><br> Looking at art today requires us to have considered the art of all periods, including our own. 10 3 Works in focus Jackson Pollock was born in Cody, Wyoming, and spent most of his youth in California. In 1929 4 at only seventeen years old 4 he left Los Angeles for New York, where he studied with painter Thomas Hart Benton.<br><br> Pollock 9s early work shared Benton 9s rhythmic arabesques and undulating contours. The young painter, however, was more attuned to the intense, interior-driven works of Albert Pinkham Ryder than to the folksy narratives of his own teacher. In 1936 Pollock worked in the New York shop of muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, and about 1938 he turned from Benton 9s style to what he saw as the more powerful and epic work of Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, and other Mexican mural painters.<br><br> The large scale of their paintings and the ccontrolled accidents d that were a part of the experimental techniques used in Siqueiros 9 shop also had an impact. Increasingly, Pollock was inter- ested in painting mythic images from a private inner world, and he entered Jungian analysis in 1939. Influenced by surrealism, his work from the early 1940s frequently made use of cryptic, cal- ligraphic scribbles that resembled the automatic writing (see glossary) that surrealists used to access the unconscious.<br><br> At this time, too, Pollock was reading the ideas of artist Wassily Kandinsky, who saw art not just as an expression of inner states but as evoking cbasic rhythms d of the uni- verse. In the mid-1940s Pollock 9s works lost their totemic images, becoming looser, freer. The scrib- bles expanded.<br><br> Placing his canvases flat on the floor and painting with a drip technique, he arrived at the allover style of his most famous works. By the mid-1950s abstract expressionism had become the style of modern art. Pollock himself was a larger-than-life figure in American culture 4 he was featured in Life magazine, and Vogue used his works as backdrops for fashion shoots.<br><br> The last years of his life, however, were troubled by heavy drinking and depression. He died in 1956 in an automobile accident. 12 J a c k s o n Po l l o c k American, 1912 31956 Jackson Pollock (Jackson Pollock Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution) 1\xb Jackson Pollock Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), 1950 Oil, enamel, and aluminum on canvas, 2.210 x 2.997 m (87 x 118 in.) Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund SLIDE 1 AND COLOR REPRODUCTION 3 14 By 1947 Jackson Pollock had begun to place his large canvases on the floor and paint them using a variety of slinging and pouring techniques, working quickly and spontaneously from all sides to create an allover tracery of lines.<br><br> Different colors and different painted shapes 4 broader splotches and softer colors below, and sharper, darker ones on top 4 lend a shallow frosti- ness to Lavender Mist. There is no central focus. No concentration of effect locks our gaze, no sto- ryline or compositional dynamic draws our atten- tion from point to point.<br><br> Instead, our eyes travel freely around the canvas or simply rest. This lack of a focal point and the nearly ten-foot horizontal dimension of the canvas make the painting some- thing we experience as much as see. Although a derisive reviewer had nicknamed Pollock cJack the Dripper, d the complex and subtle structural interlace of Lavender Mist is the result of both happenstance and split-second decision making 4 chance and choreography.<br><br> Its essence lies in the act of its creation. Though the physical performance of painting was a spontaneous and unrepeatable event, the painting itself was always subject to artistic will. cI can control the flow of the paint, d Pollock contended.<br><br> cThere is no accident. d Pollock 9s tracery has the same structure as a drawn line and serves the same organizational purpose. His snap-of-the-wrist technique of fling- ing paint had surprising accuracy. In effect, it extended his reach and gave him a delicate touch.<br><br> Pollock often went back into his paintings, adding the lines that knit his pictures together. Nearly fifty years later, our mental image of the modern artist is still a picture of Jackson Pollock 4 larger than life, intense, even reckless. Mark Tansey, American, born 1949, A Short History of Modernist Painting (detail), 1979 31980, oil on canvas, 72 x 72 in., The Eli Broad Family Foundation, Santa Monica, California (photo © Douglas M.<br><br> Parker) My painting does not come from the easel.... On the floor I feel more at ease. I feel nearer, more part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting.<br><br> 4Jackson Pollock Jackson Pollock VIEWPOINT Ac t i o n p a i n t i n g Art critic Harold Rosenberg coined the term action painting, which describes the work of Pollock, de Kooning (see page 15), and many other abstract expressionist painters. In a cel- ebrated essay published in 1952, he wrote, cAt a certain moment, the canvas began to appear to one American painter after another as an arena in which to act.... His act-painting is of the same metaphysical stuff as the artist 9s existence. d For Rosenberg, subjective qualities were paramount.<br><br> Painting was an epic struggle between artist and material. With grand, heroically scaled gestures, the action painter created an art wrung from confrontation and catharsis. By contrast, critic Clement Greenberg, another champion of abstraction in the 1950s and 1960s, concentrated on the formal properties of the paintings.<br><br> For him, the total cpainting-ness d of Pollock 9s work was par a- mount, its denial of external references and sole reliance on line, color, and form 4 the internal logic of painting itself. Greenberg believed that abstract expressionism was the completion of cmodernism with a capital M, d the culmination of a pursuit that coul d be traced to Maurice Denis 9 comment in 1890: cRemember that a picture 4 before it is a battle horse or a nude woman or some anecdote 4 is essentially a flat surface covered with colors in a certain order. d Pollock 9s allover paint emphasized the flatness of the canvas, as Mark Tansey points out with ironic literalness in A Sho rt History of Modernist Painting. For Greenberg and like-minded critics, flatness 4 not storytelling, which properly belonged to litera- ture, or depth, which properly belonged to sculpture 4 was the ultimate source of quality in painting.<br><br> These views, which approach painting on its own terms, established the outlines of critical discussion for much of the rest of the century. Critic Harold Rosenberg had been looking at de Kooning 9s bold, slashing brushstrokes when he coined the term action painting. But de Kooning departed from purely abstract painting.<br><br> Between 1949 and 1951 he started to fragment the human figure, arriving finally at a series of unsettling images of women. This drawing is a study for one of them. The grimacing face 4 and de Kooning 9s almost violent style 4 subverted classical images of the beautiful woman and commented on women 9s role in contemporary culture.<br><br> The recognizable imagery in de Kooning 9s new works struck some as a betrayal of abstract expressionism, but the artist himself remarked, cWhat 9s the problem? This is all about freedom. d For de Kooning, painting was about drama and the outpouring of the artist 9s emotions. cPainting isn 9t just the visual thing that reaches your retina 4 it 9s what is behind it and in it, d he said.<br><br> cI 9m not interested in 8abstracting 9 or taking things out or reducing painting to design, form, line, and color. I paint this way because I can keep putting more things in it 4 drama, anger, pain, love, a figure, a horse, my ideas about space. Through your eyes it again becomes an emotion or an idea.<br><br> It doesn 9t matter if it 9s different from mine as long as it comes from the painting, which has its own integrity and intensity. d T h i s i s a l l a b o u t f r e e d o m Willem de Kooning American 1904 31997 Study for Woman Number One, 1952 Pastel, crayon, and graphite, 0.229 x 0.285 m (9 x 11 1 / 4 in.) Andrew W. Mellon Fund SLIDE 2 15 Mark Rothko was born Marcus Rothkowitz in what is today Daugavpils, Latvia. His family immigrated to the United States when he was ten, settling in Portland, Oregon.<br><br> Planning a career in law or engineering, Rothko entered Yale in 1921, but in late 1923 he moved to New York and began art classes. In the 1930s, while earning his living by teaching art classes for children, Rothko painted mostly street scenes and interiors with figures. He stressed the emotional quality of his subjects, something he admired in children 9s art.<br><br> During the 1940s Rothko 9s imagery became increasingly symbolic. Like many of his contempo- raries, he felt that new subjects and a new idiom were required to express the anxiety and tragedy of the war years. He turned to themes of myth, prophecy, archaic ritual, and the unconscious mind.<br><br> Influenced by the presence in New York of surreal- ist artists, Rothko relaxed his technique, and his images became more abstract. Figurative associa- tions and references to the natural world finally disappeared altogether in the late 1940s. Rothko progressively eliminated linear elements, and asymmetrically arranged patches of color became the basis of his compositions.<br><br> By 1950 Rothko had reduced the number of floating rectangles to two, three, or four and aligned them vertically. In the late 1950s, when Rothko 9s work dark- ened dramatically, distinctions between shape and ground became more difficult to discern. The resulting sensation of enclosure lends itself to meditation.<br><br> Between 1964 and 1967 Rothko was occupied with paintings for the Rothko Chapel, originally commissioned for the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. For the last few years of his life, Rothko was physically ill and suffered from depression.<br><br> He committed suicide in February 1970. 16 M a r k Ro t h ko American, 1903 31970 Mark Rothko (Photographs of Artists Collection One, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution) Mark Rothko Untitled, 1953 Oil on canvas, 1.951 x 1.723 m (76 3 / 4 x 67 3 / 4 in.) Gift of the Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc. SLIDE 3 17 By 1950 Rothko had removed all references to either the natural world or myth from his paint- ing and adopted the soft-edged rectangles of Untitled.<br><br> Stacked vertically and hovering over a hazy ground, they occupy an ambiguous space. Rothko 9s technique appears simple, but close examination reveals its richly varied effect. He painted with several thin layers applied in differ- ing degrees of saturation and transparency, giving his colors the appearance of luminosity and depth.<br><br> The liquid paint soaks the canvas, leaving soft, indistinct edges. The shapes seem to float. Their feathery edges impart an aura-like vibration as if they were animated by an interior light.<br><br> Using nothing more than these subtle varia- tions, Rothko evoked a range of atmospheres and moods. Some paintings seem buoyant. Others, like this one, somberly meditative.<br><br> Rothko wanted the large scale of his paintings to envelop the viewer. He asked that his largest pictures be hung cso that they must be first encoun- tered at close quarters, so that the first experience is to be within the picture. d He sought what he termed cclarity: the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea and between the idea and the observer. d He wanted his pictures to inundate the viewer 9s eye immediately, displacing the everyday. But Rothko 9s intention was not to overwhelm.<br><br> On the contrary, he hoped to make the contact between painting and viewer cintimate and human. d The fact that lots of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I communicate with those basic human emotions. The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. 4Mark Rothko Rothko was convinced that pure pictorial prop- erties such as color, surface, proportion, and scale could disclose the presence of philosophical truth.<br><br> He linked luminosity, darkness, broad space, and color contrast to tragedy, ecstasy, and the sublime. His abstract shapes recede or advance according to color. Are these rectangles superim- posed on the background or are they voids in the background?<br><br> This ambiguity in their relationship poses questions of presence and absence 4 in existential terms, of being and nothingness. Rothko 9s ideas about the cmeaning d of his works are elusive. He generally avoided explaining the specific content of his work, believing that the abstract image could represent directly the fun- damental nature of chuman drama. d For the most part, he gave up conventional titles too, using numbers or colors to distinguish one work from another.<br><br> This helped him resist explanations of meaning. cSilence, d he said, cis so accurate. d 18 You might as well get one thing straight.... I am not an abstractionist ...<br><br> not interested in relationships of color or form or anything else.... I 9m interested only in expressing basic human emotions 4 tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. 4Mark Rothko Mark Rothko, Street Scene , 1936/1938, oil on canvas, 0.915 x 0.558 m (36 x 22 in.), Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc.<br><br> C r i t i c s c o m m e n t Rothko 9s paintings have often been compared to landscape, their horizontal bands and luminous colors likened to sunsets over th e horizon. Even the projection of his ccolor-light d was compared by Elaine de Kooning, artist, writer, and wife of Willem de Koon ing, to the physical sensation of atmospheric pressure. For her, Rothko 9s colors recalled the ominous, pervasive light before a hurrica ne.<br><br> Critic Robert Rosenblum presented the classic formulation of this view in his 1961 essay cThe Abstract Sublime. d He sugge sted that Rothko 9s painting could be seen as having descended from eighteenth-century conceptions of the Romantic Sublime 4 that boundlessness of nature that evokes a religious sort of awe. The precursors of Rothko 9s painting were to be found in the landsc ape paintings of J.M.W. Turner and Frederic Church.<br><br> cWe are the monk before the sea, d Rosenblum wrote, cstanding silently and con- templatively before these huge and soundless pictures as if we were looking at a sunset or a moonlit night. d Unlike the horizon, however, Rothko 9s horizontals do not extend to the edges of our sight. His vague rectangles float, fr amed on all sides by their nebulous background. In earlier pictures, Rothko used architectural elements from the city 4the subway, apartment blocks, and interiors 4 to define and compress space and to establish similar fore- and background relationships.<br><br> His experience, it has recently been argued, was largely urban, and it would seem likely that he was intuitively inclined to locate the tragedy of modern life in city spaces. Mark Rothko In contrast to the gestural energy of works by Pollock or de Kooning 4 who have been called cheroic d 4 Rothko and Barnett Newman are more often described as coracular, d as if their works conveyed the cryptic and prophetic messages of some divinity. Newman saw the role of the artist as one of creator, bringing form out of chaos.<br><br> After destroying much of his earlier work, Newman arrived in 1948 at a new compositional fulcrum he called the zip. The zip, a usually vertical stripe, is a stark interruption of allover flat color. Often made with the aid of masking tape, the zip at once inhabits and divides the color field.<br><br> It is a pres- ence, but also a lacuna, a void. The radical reduction of Newman 9s work would prove to be of great influ- ence on Ellsworth Kelly and Ad Reinhardt (see pages 37 and 40). Z i p s t h r o u g h t h e c o l o r f i e l d Barnett Newman American, 1905 31970 Yellow Painting, 1949 Oil on canvas, 1.71 x 1.33 m (67 1 / 2 x 52 3 / 8 in.) Gift of Annalee Newman SLIDE 4 19 Robert Rauschenberg was born in Port Arthur, Texas.<br><br> He studied design briefly in Kansas City under the GI Bill and for a few months in Paris. After he learned of Josef Albers 9 work and the innovative Black Mountain College (see glossary), Rauschenberg returned to the United States. He studied at Black Mountain only briefly but continued to make trips there after he moved to New York in 1949.<br><br> At Black Mountain, Rauschenberg became friends with dancer Merce Cunningham and composer John Cage, whose use of chance and elements of everyday experience proved to be of great influence. Among Rauschenberg 9s first works were several monochromatic pictures, including an all-white series, whose austerity and limited range foreshadow mid- 1960s minimalism. However, some of these were back- drops for dance performances.<br><br> They were meant to be seen in changing patterns of light and shadow and, in a sense, assumed the presence of the human figure. In 1952, when abstract expressionism dominated the art world, Rauschenberg asked Willem de Kooning for a drawing with the intention of erasing it. After he exhib- ited the ghostly rubbed-out image, both homage and rebellion, many critics labeled him a neo-Dadist.<br><br> In 1954 Rauschenberg began incorporating found objects in his paintings. Until about 1961 he produced what he called ccombine paintings. d They used a variety of techniques, including collage, painting, silkscreening, and dye trans- fers, and incorporated fabric, stuffed animals, printed elements, and other materials. These works were important precursors of pop, but Rauschenberg 9s works lack the detached coolness of pop.<br><br> They are messy and expressive, filled with the whole humming, buzzing con- fusion of life and the world. For a number of years in the mid-1960s, Rauschenberg concentrated on perfor- mance, more elaborate sculpture, and installations. Between 1984 and 1991 Rauschenberg devoted his energies to a project to promote world peace through art.<br><br> ROCI, or Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange, was funded almost entirely by the artist. Rauschenberg 9s iconoclastic inventiveness, energy, and humane spirit have made him one of the most influen- tial artists of this century. 20 Robert Rauschenberg, Monogram , 1955 31959, mixed media, 1.22 x 1.83 x 1.83 m, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (© Robert Rauschenberg, photo by Tord Lund/Moderna Museet Stockholm) R o b e r t R a u s c h e n b e r g American, born 1925 Robert Rauschenberg at Graphicstudio in April 1987 (© Graphicstudio, University of South Florida, photo by George Holzer) Robert Rauschenberg, Cardbird Door , published 1971, card- board, paper, tape, wood, metal, offset lithography, and screenprint, 2.032 x 0.762 x 0.279 m (80 x 30 x 11 in.), Gift of Gemini G.E.L.<br><br> SLIDE 5 Rauschenberg printed the logos on these boxes, making an ironic comment on earlier works in which he simply used commercial cartons. 21 Robert Rauschenberg Copperhead Grande/ROCI CHILE, 1985 Acrylic and tarnishes on copper, 2.286 x 3.658 m (90 x 144 in.) Gift of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation SLIDE 6 22 Copperhead Grande is one of the products of ROCI, the Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange, a project the artist launched in 1984. It took him to nine countries in seven years: Japan, Mexico, Chile, Tibet, Cuba, Venezuela, Malaysia, the former Soviet Union, and the former East Germany.<br><br> In each case, he worked with local artists and craftspeople and collected objects that he then incorporated into the works produced there. The areas chosen were outside the main- stream of Western art, and many were dictatorial states. The artist 9s goal was to focus an artistic dialogue and creative energy on the situation of peoples living under oppressive regimes.<br><br> Collaboration has been and continues to be an important element of Rauschenberg 9s art. He has worked with many other artists and with musicians, dancers, and scientists. His ideas about partnership extend to the audience as well.<br><br> Rauschenberg helped change the dynamic between the viewer and the work of art, insisting that art is not so much a thing as it is a process that continues, in the repeated act of contempla- tion, even after the work itself is ccomplete. d In place of canvas, Copperhead Grande uses a copper sheet as a support. Its images were screened or painted with acrylics or cburned in d with chemicals that tarnish the surface. The effect is of an irregular kaleidoscopic mosaic.<br><br> The shiny copper surface reflects the viewers, changing as they shift position. It puts them and the space and movements around them literally in the picture. Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol (see page 30) started to use photosilkscreening processes at about the same time.<br><br> Earlier Rauschenberg had used a solvent transfer method to add type and printed images to his canvases. Even when he is using the more mechanistic silkscreening tech- nique, however, Rauschenberg remains interested in producing a varied surface. He often paints over the printed image, adding expressive marks that continue to show his connection to abstract expressionism.<br><br> Warhol 9s silkscreened images, on the other hand, are more impersonal 4 more cool. Chile, I think, is one of the most beautiful places in the world. In the north are deserts and copper fields.<br><br> To get there, I drove for the better part of a day from Santiago and wanted to photograph the forges and flying fire when we came back from the copper mines. We had a hard time. It took a day and a half, actually to get permission because the mines were a govern- ment operation....<br><br> On the way back, there were some llamas on the hill grazing. I got out and a couple of llamas approached us and I found three big turquoise stones just lying in this desert. The llamas, the smelt- ing, and the factories, all were real experiences.<br><br> 4Robert Rauschenberg, 1991 Painting is always strongest when in spite of composition, color, etc, it appears as a fact, or an inevitability, as opposed to a souvenir or arrange- ment. Painting relates to both art and life. Neither can be made.<br><br> (I try to act in that gap between the two.) 4Robert Rauschenberg, 1959 Marcel Duchamp, French, 1887 3 1968, Bottle Rack , Collections Mnam/Cci 3Centre Georges Pompidou (photo courtesy Photothèque des collections du Mnam/Cci) Fo u n d o b j e c t s Found objects were incorporated in works of art long before the 1950s. In the early twentieth century, cubist still-life artists had incorporated newspaper fragments, ticket stubs, and the like, in part, for their abstract visual qualities. Surrealist artists also used found objects to jolt the mind.<br><br> Rauschenberg 9s found objects have more in common with the readymades of Marcel Duchamp, who exhibited ordinary manufac- tured goods as art without elaboration. Rauschenberg 9s everyday objects, even as they become art, retain their original identities. He chooses them not for their abstract form, but for their very cthingness. d In Rauschenberg 9s works the whole is not greater than the parts, it is the parts, something to be experienced in its multifarious detail.<br><br> An appear- ance of disorder 4 almost messiness 4 prevents Rauschenberg 9s images from resolving into one coherent form. They must be seen in a series of cinstances d whose order is not directed by narrative or composi- tional device but comes about only through the act of viewing. Robert Rauschenberg Jasper Johns was born in Augusta, Georgia, and spent most of his childhood in South Carolina.<br><br> In 1949 he moved to New York, where he took a few classes in art and design before being drafted by the army and sent to Japan. He was back in New York by 1952, and like Rauschenberg and Warhol, he helped support himself by designing window displays. In 1954, after a dream, Johns painted an American flag.<br><br> About this time, he said he had decided to cstop becoming and be an artist. d He destroyed most of his earlier work and started to concentrate on mundane objects. During the next three years he did a number of other flags, along with targets, stenciled letters, and numbers 4 all familiar images. These cthings the mind already knows, d he said, cgave me room to work on other levels. d These were images so recognizable that the viewer could look past what was represented to see them as abstract patterns and to focus on the artist 9s surprisingly expressive rendering of them.<br><br> They were iconic images, but their surfaces were rich and tactile. Johns 9 favored technique was encaustic. He applied warm pigmented wax over laboriously constructed collages.<br><br> Johns 9 work was not exhibited until 1957, but it enjoyed immediate success. During most of this time, he worked closely with Robert Rauschenberg, who lived in the same building. The two reintro- duced recognizable imagery after the predominant- ly abstract work of the previous decade, forming a link between abstract expressionism and pop.<br><br> Johns incorporated plaster casts in many of his paintings and in 1958 started to make sculpture of everyday objects. His painting became more com- plex iconographically in the 1960s and 1970s as he explored relationships between language and thought using visual and verbal puns. Johns 9 work has been increasingly personal and referential of other art as well as his own.<br><br> 2\xb J a s p e r J o h n s American, born 1930 Jasper Johns, Flags I , 1973, screenprint on J. B. Green paper, sheet: 0.699 x 0.900 m (27 1 / 2 x 35 7 / 16 in.), Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection SLIDE 7 Jasper Johns (Rudi Blesch Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution) 24 Jasper Johns Perilous Night, 1982 Encaustic on canvas with objects, 1.705 x 2.442 x 0.159 m (67 1 / 8 x 96 1 / 8 x 6 1 / 4 in.) Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection SLIDE 8 One of Johns 9 overriding interests has been to explore the nature of seeing, of perception, and specifically of cviewing d art.<br><br> Recently he has turned this lens on the history of art and his own work. Perplexing juxtapositions and moody colors make Perilous Night a darkly mysterious picture. It combines real and painted objects, abstract and illusionistic styles, the obvious and the obscure.<br><br> It seems to be disjointed, but the diptych format of two equal halves encourages us to recognize rela- tionships as well as distinctions. In the upper right is a silkscreened musical score, the beginning of the composition cPerilous Night d by the artist 9s friend John Cage. This estab- lishes, from the outset, the painting 9s personal frame of reference.<br><br> The words perilous and night also suggest the lyrics of cThe Star-Spangled Banner. d They immediately call to mind the paint- ings of the American flag that were among Johns 9 first exhibited works. His signature here also seems to echo the stenciled lettering he used in earlier pictures. And next to the score is yet another refer- ence to Johns 9 own work, this time a crosshatch painting of the type that occupied him in the 1970s.<br><br> Another series of references can be drawn out of the panel on the left side of Perilous Night , which is copied in a smaller scale and rotated on the right. Though difficult to distinguish, its pur- plish red outlines trace a figure from a German altarpiece completed in 1515. The figure is one of the soldiers who has fallen to the ground at the foot of the sarcophagus as the resurrected Jesus ascends to heaven.<br><br> Knowing this helps make sense of other elements in the picture. For exam- ple, mourning is implied by the handkerchief that is cpinned d to the lower right. Painted in a mock- illusionistic style, this cloth itself refers to a Picasso etching of a weeping woman.<br><br> The arms, so disturbingly like meat suspended from hooks, were cast from the same child at three different ages. What are we to make of their promi- nent spots? It has been suggested that Johns is referring to either of two other panels from the altarpiece.<br><br> One shows Christ 9s arms similarly dotted with wounds. The second shows a diseased demon with sores. With the latter association, Johns may be alluding to AIDS, which was just being identified when he made this piece.<br><br> Yet another interpretation is that the spots are an extrapolation of the kind of pattern manipulation Johns was exploring in the crosshatch pictures 4 examples of which he has placed just behind the arms. One year before, in a painting entitled In the Studio , he made this relationship more explicit. There, the dots can be seen to devolve, as if by entropy, beginning as a vague crosshatch and losing form until they become mere splotches.<br><br> 25 Jasper Johns, Untitled (from Untitled 1972) , 1975/1976, pastel and graphite on gray paper, 0.385 x 0.959 m (15 3 / 16 x 37 3 / 4 in.), Gift of Jasper Johns, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art Untitled is one of several drawings Johns made after a 1972 painting that marked a new direction in his work. The crosshatches explore various sys- tematic manipulations of pattern. Thinking about these pattern manipu- lations, Johns wrote in his sketchbook, cAnother possibility: to see that some- thing has happened.<br><br> Is this best shown by 8pointing to 9 or by 8hiding 9 it? d Mathias Grünewald, Isenheim Altarpiece, Resurrection panel, 1513 31515, oil on panel, 2.690 x 1.430 m (© Musée d 9Unterlinden, Colmar, photo by O. Zimmerman) Seeing a thing can sometimes trigger the mind to make another thing. In some instance the new work may include, as a sort of subject matter, references to the thing that was seen.<br><br> And, because works of painting tend to share many aspects, working itself may initiate memories of other works. Naming or paint- ing those ghosts sometimes seems a way to stop their nagging. 4Jasper Johns, 1984 Roy Lichtenstein was born in New York City.<br><br> In high school he began to draw and paint, taking summer classes with artist Reginald Marsh at the Art Students League. He left New York to attend the school of fine arts at Ohio State University. After serving three years in the army, Lichtenstein returned to Ohio State in 1946, remaining as stu- dent and instructor until 1949.<br><br> He later taught at the State University of New York in Oswego and at Rutgers. Lichtenstein had his first exhibition in New York in 1951, which he later recalled was cin the abstract expressionist idiom d then dominating the art world. He spent the next six years in Cleveland, working as a draftsman and graphic designer.<br><br> In 1957 he was back in New York and soon began to experiment with comic-strip characters in his work. In 1960 Allan Kaprow, an old friend and organizer of happenings, introduced Lichtenstein to other artists with similar concerns, including Andy Warhol (see page 30) and Claes Oldenburg (see page 33). The next year, Lichtenstein painted Look Mickey.<br><br> It was a turning point. Lichtenstein finally rejected abstract expressionism and its emphasis on brushstroke, gesture, and the artist 9s mark. He also turned from its elusive csubjects d to the clear- cut images of popular culture.<br><br> Lichtenstein quickly emerged as one of the most important artists in the new pop style. In the 1960s and 1970s, Lichtenstein under- took an exploration of the history of Western art. These cquotations d from the history of art culminated with works that incorporated his own earlier paintings.<br><br> Together they question assump- tions about copy and original, reproduction and uniqueness, high and low art. 26 Roy L i c h te n s te i n American, 1923 31997 Roy Lichtenstein, Artist 9s Studio No. 1 (Look Mickey), 1973, oil and acrylic on canvas, 96 1 / 8 x 128 1 / 8 in., Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Gift of Judy and Kenneth Dayton and the T.<br><br> B. Walker Foundation, 1981 Left to right: Roy Lichtenstein draws on a lithoplate used in Roads Collar , assisted by Tom Pruitt and Alan Holoubek, March 1987 (© Graphicstudio, University of South Florida, photo by George Holzer) 27 Roy Lichtenstein Look Mickey, 1961 Oil on canvas, 1.219 x 1.753 m (48 x 69 in.) Dorothy and Roy Lichtenstein, Gift of the Artist, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art SLIDE 9 AND COLOR REPRODUCTION cov4 Two familiar Disney cartoon characters stand on a fishing pier. Mickey Mouse can barely contain his amusement as he realizes that Donald Duck, who exclaims, cLOOK Mickey, I 9ve hooked a BIG one!! d has in fact hooked his own jacket.<br><br> The words have a literal connection to the image, of course, but they also suggested to the art world that some- thing else may have been hooked. Perhaps audi- ences, collectors, or galleries? Did Lichtenstein hook himself a new style?<br><br> Lichtenstein remembered seeing this scene in a 1960 Disney children 9s book, Donald Duck Lost and Found . He had been drawing cartoons for his chil- dren for some time, and he decided to paint the scene in Look Mickey clarge, just to see what it would look like. d The painting is approximately four by six feet. He used bright primary colors, without complexity or ambiguity, and painted dots 4mimick- ing the Benday dots used in inexpensive color printing 4in the faces of the two characters.<br><br> cThis was the first time I decided to make a painting really look like commercial art. The approach turned out to be so interesting that eventually it became impossible to do any other kind of paint- ing, d Lichtenstein recalled. To accept pop 9s pervasive and for the most part commercial images as art, many people wanted to understand them as somehow trans- formed by the artists who used them.<br><br> But Lichtenstein demurred, not believing ctransforma- tion d was a part of art 9s function: cI think my work is different from comic strips 4but I wouldn 9t call it transformation.... What I do is form, whereas the comic strip is not formed in the sense I 9m using the word; the comics have shapes, but there has been no effort to make them intensely Roy Lichtenstein Look Mickey, considered a pop icon, was Lichtenstein 9s first comic-strip subject painted in a style that imitated the look of commercial printing. It used the stuff of popular culture to make chigh d art.<br><br> Roy Lichtenstein, Look Mickey (detail) B e n d a y d o t s Benjamin Day (1838 31916), a New York printer, first used small dots in photoengraving. While his purpose was to increase the range and subtlety of halftone reproductions, Lichtenstein 9s large dots have the reverse effect. Rather than coalescing into a more refined image, they become features in themselves.<br><br> In contrast to abstract expressionism, in which the painted brushstroke was a highly charged mark of the artist at work, Lichtenstein 9s Benday dots, though applied by hand, have an impersonal look. At first Lichtenstein painted them using a plastic dog brush, which he dipped into paint and then pressed on the canvas. Later he stenciled the dots through a screen he had made by drilling a metal sheet.<br><br> Eventually he purchased perforated metal and paper screens. Roy Lichtenstein, Brushstroke , 1965, color screenprint on heavy, white wove paper, image: 0.564 x 0.724 m (22 3 / 16 x 28 1 / 2 in.), Gift of Roy and Dorothy Lichtenstein SLIDE 10 VIEWPOINT Po p 29 unified. The purpose is different, one intends to depict and I intend to unify. d In fact, Lichtenstein was concerned with the formal aspects of art.<br><br> In Brushstroke and other works, Lichtenstein paid ironic homage to abstract expressionism, removing from the artist 9s mark its individuality and gesture. By freezing and objecti- fying it, Lichtenstein reduced the high seriousness of abstract expressionism 9s brushstroke even while he was projecting it into monumental scale. The contrast challenges viewers to question their own notions of what constitutes cthe art d in painting.<br><br> The term pop art was picked up and applied in print by critic Lawrence Alloway. But cPOP d first appeared, literally (written on a candy wrapper) and as a new style, in a collage by English artist Richard Hamilton. In his subversive image of postwar consumer culture, a cover of the pulp magazine Young Romance hangs like a painting.<br><br> Hamilton later defined pop this way: Popular (designed for a mass audience) Transient (short-term solution) Expendable (easily forgotten) Low cost Mass produced Young (aimed at youth) Witty Sexy Gimmicky Glamourous Big Business... Clearly, pop veered toward kitsch. It was despised by formalist critics such as Clement Greenberg (see page 14) since it lacked cquality. d For Greenberg, quality was autono- mous 4 that is, solely dependent on intrinsic elements 4 but it was also universal, even transcendent.<br><br> Certainly, as one critic paraphrasing R