Post-painterly Abstraction

harran ii by frank stella

Post-painterly abstraction is a term created by art critic Clement Greenberg as the title for an exhibit he curated for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1964, which subsequently travelled to the Walker Art Center and the Art Gallery of Toronto. Greenberg had perceived that there was a new movement in painting that derived from the abstract expressionism of the 1940s and 1950s but ‘favored openness or clarity’ as opposed to the dense painterly surfaces of that painting style.

As painting continued to move in different directions, initially away from abstract expressionism, powered by the spirit of innovation of the time, the term, which had obtained some currency in the 1960s, was gradually supplanted by minimalism, hard-edge painting, lyrical abstraction, and color field painting.

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