The New York School was an informal group of American poets, painters, dancers, and musicians active in the 1950s and 1960s in New York City. They often drew inspiration from surrealism and the contemporary avant-garde art movements, in particular action painting, abstract expressionism, jazz, improvisational theater, experimental music, and the interaction of friends in the New York City art world's vanguard circle.
Frank O'Hara was at the center of the group before his death in 1966. Because of his numerous friendships and his post as a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, he provided connections between the poets and painters such as Jane Freilicher, Fairfield Porter, and Larry Rivers (who was O'Hara's lover). There were many joint works and collaborations, particularly between poets such as O'Hara, Kenneth Koch, John Ashbery, and James Schuyler: Rivers inspired a play by Koch, Koch and Ashbery together wrote the poem "A Postcard to Popeye", Ashbery and Schuyler wrote the novel A Nest of Ninnies, and Schuyler collaborated on an ode with O'Hara, whose portrait was painted by Rivers.
Ron Padgett, Dick Gallup, Joe Brainard, and Ted Berrigan came to the group from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Koch, O'Hara, Schuyler, and Ashbery were quite different as poets, but they admired each other and had much in common personally:
All four were inspired by French Surrealists such as Raymond Roussel, Pierre Reverdy, and Guillaume Apollinaire. David Lehman, in his book on the New York poets, wrote: "They favored wit, humor and the advanced irony of the blague (that is, the insolent prank or jest) in ways more suggestive of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg than of the New York School abstract expressionist painters after whom they were named."
Concerning the New York School poets, critics argued that their work was a reaction to the Confessionalist movement in Contemporary Poetry. Their poetic subject matter was often light, violent, or observational, while their writing style was often described as cosmopolitan and world-traveled.
The poets often wrote in an immediate and spontaneous manner reminiscent of stream of consciousness writing, often using vivid imagery. They drew on inspiration from Surrealism and the contemporary avant-garde art movements, in particular the action painting of their friends in the New York City art world circle such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.
Poets often associated with the New York School include John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, Joe Brainard, Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, Barbara Guest, Ted Berrigan, Bernadette Mayer, Alice Notley, Tom Clark, Clark Coolidge, David Shapiro, Lorenzo Thomas, Ted Greenwald, Eileen Myles, Kenward Elmslie, John Giorno, Barbara Barg, Jerome Sala, Elaine Equi, Frank Lima, Ron Padgett, Lewis Warsh, Tom Savage and Joseph Ceravolo.
The New York School which represented the New York abstract expressionists of the 1950s was documented through a series of artists' committee invitational exhibitions commencing with the 9th Street Art Exhibition in 1951 and followed by consecutive exhibitions at the Stable Gallery, NYC: Second Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, 1953;Third Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, 1954; Fourth Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture, 1955; Fifth Annual Exhibitions of Painting and Sculpture, 1956 and Sixth New York Artists’ Annual Exhibition, 1957.
Included in the New York School were Bradley Walker Tomlin, Robert Goodnough, Rosemarie Beck,Joan Mitchell, and Philip Guston.
Other New York School artists, including those of the 1960s, have included painters Richard Pousette-Dart, Cecile Gray Bazelon, William Baziotes, Nell Blaine, Seymour Boardman, Ilya Bolotowsky, Ernest Briggs, Peter Busa,Lawrence Calcagno, Nicolas Carone, Nanno de Groot, Beauford Delaney, Lynne Mapp Drexler, Edward Dugmore, Amaranth Ehrenhalt, John Ferren, Perle Fine, Karl Hagedorn, John Hultberg, Albert Kotin, Clarence Major, Knox Martin, Hugh Mesibov, Ray Parker, Misha Reznikoff, William Scharf, Ethel Schwabacher, Kendall Shaw, Gloria Shapiro, Thomas Sills, Merton Simpson, Hedda Sterne, and Jack Stewart. In addition, painter/sculptors Karel Appel, Claire Falkenstein, Betty Parsons, and Antoni Tàpies are known as members of the New York School.
The Anita Shapolsky Gallery in New York City specializes in 1950s and 1960s New York School art, and exhibits expressionism, geometric abstraction, and painterly abstraction.It most frequently exhibits works in oil and acrylic, as well as sculpture. The Tibor de Nagy Gallery and Stable Gallery have also exhibited New York School art, and in 1998, the Gagosian Gallery also in New York City presented an exhibit of New York School art.
The term also refers to a circle of composers in the 1950s which included John Cage, Morton Feldman, Earle Brown and Christian Wolff.Their music influenced the music and events of the Fluxus group, and drew its name from the Abstract Expressionist painters above.
During the 1960s the Judson Dance Theater located at the Judson Memorial Church, New York City, revolutionized Modern dance. Combining in new ways the idea of Performance art, radical and new Choreography, sound from avant-garde composers, and dancers in collaboration with several New York School Visual artists.
The group of artists that formed Judson Dance Theater are considered the founders of Postmodern dance. The theater grew out of a dance composition class taught by Robert Dunn, a musician who had studied with John Cage. The artists involved with Judson Dance Theater were avant-garde experimenatalists who rejected the confines of ballet technique, vocabulary and theory.
The first Judson concert took place on July 6, 1962, with dance works presented by Steve Paxton, Freddie Herko, David Gordon, Alex and Deborah Hay, Yvonne Rainer, Elaine Summers, William Davis, and Ruth Emerson. Seminal dance artists that were a part of the Judson Dance Theater include: David Gordon, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Deborah Hay, Elaine Summers, Sally Gross, Aileen Passloff, and Meredith Monk. The years 1962 to 1964 are considered the golden age of the Judson Dance Theater.
During the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s New York School artists collaborated with several other choreographer / dancers including: Simone Forti, Anna Halprin, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, and Paul Taylor.
Abstract expressionism is a post–World War II art movement in American painting, developed in New York City in the 1940s. It was the first specifically American movement to achieve international influence and put New York at the center of the Western art world, a role formerly filled by Paris.
Franz Kline was an American painter. He is associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1940s and 1950s. Kline, along with other action painters like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, John Ferren, and Lee Krasner, as well as local poets, dancers, and musicians came to be known as the informal group, the New York School. Although he explored the same innovations to painting as the other artists in this group, Kline's work is distinct in itself and has been revered since the 1950s.
Elaine Marie Catherine de Kooning was an Abstract Expressionist and Figurative Expressionist painter in the post-World War II era. She wrote extensively on the art of the period and was an editorial associate for Art News magazine.
Albert Kotin belonged to the early generation of New York School Abstract Expressionist artists whose artistic innovation by the 1950s had been recognized across the Atlantic, including in Paris. The New York School Abstract Expressionism, represented by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and others became a leading art movement of the post-World War II era.
The 9th Street Art Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture is the official title artist Franz Kline hand-lettered onto the poster he designed for the Ninth Street Show. Now considered historic, the artist-led exhibition marked the formal debut of Abstract Expressionism, and the first American art movement with international influence. The School of Paris, long the headquarters of the global art market, typically launched new movements, so there was both financial and cultural fall-out when all the excitement was suddenly emanating from New York. The post-war New York avant-garde, artists like Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, would soon become "art stars," commanding large sums and international attention. The Ninth Street Show marked their "stepping-out," and that of nearly 75 other artists, including Harry Jackson, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Grace Hartigan, Robert De Niro Sr., Philip Guston, Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Franz Kline, Ad Reinhardt, David Smith, Milton Resnick, Joop Sanders, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman and many others who were then mostly unknown to an art establishment that ignored experimental art without a ready market.
Theodoros Stamos was a Greek-American painter. He is one of the youngest painters of the original group of abstract expressionist painters, which included Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko. His later years were negatively affected by his involvement with the Rothko case.
In the visual arts, late modernism encompasses the overall production of most recent art made between the aftermath of World War II and the early years of the 21st century. The terminology often points to similarities between late modernism and post-modernism although there are differences. The predominant term for art produced since the 1950s is contemporary art. Not all art labelled as contemporary art is modernist or post-modern, and the broader term encompasses both artists who continue to work in modern and late modernist traditions, as well as artists who reject modernism for post-modernism or other reasons. Arthur Danto argues explicitly in After the End of Art that contemporaneity was the broader term, and that postmodern objects represent a subsector of the contemporary movement which replaced modernity and modernism, while other notable critics: Hilton Kramer, Robert C. Morgan, Kirk Varnedoe, Jean-François Lyotard and others have argued that postmodern objects are at best relative to modernist works.
Jan Müller was a New York-based figurative expressionist artist of the 1950s. According to art critic Carter Ratcliff, "His paintings usually erect a visual architecture sturdy enough to support an array of standing, riding, levitating figures. Gravity is absent, banished by an indifference to ordinary experience." According to the poet John Ashbery, Müller "brings a medieval sensibility to neo-Expressionist paintings."
Nicolas Carone belonged to the early generation of New York School Abstract Expressionist artists. Their artistic innovation by the 1950s had been recognized internationally, including in London and Paris. New York School Abstract Expressionism, represented by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Conrad Marca-Relli and others, became a leading art movement of the postwar era.
Madison Fred Mitchell belonged to the New York School Abstract Expressionist artists whose influence and artistic innovation by the 1950s had been recognized around the world. New York School Abstract Expressionism, represented by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and others became a leading art movement of the post-World War II era.
Ernest P. Briggs Jr. (1923–1984) was a second-generation Abstract Expressionist painter known for his expressive, sometimes calligraphic brushwork, his geometric compositions, and revolution in abstract painting that secured New York City's position as the art capital of the world in the post-World War II period.
Alfred Leslie is an American artist and filmmaker. He first achieved success as an Abstract Expressionist painter, but changed course in the early 1960s and became a painter of realistic figurative paintings.
Perle Fine (1905–1988) was an American Abstract expressionist painter. Fine was most known by her combination of fluid and brushy rendering of the materials and her use of biomorphic forms encased and intertwined with irregular geometric shapes.
Earl Cavis Kerkam, was an American painter. According to Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, Mark Rothko, George Spaventa and Esteban Vicente, he “was one of the finest painters to come out of America.” Gerald Norland wrote at the Earl Kerkam Memorial Exhibition in 1966:
Grace Hartigan was an American Abstract Expressionist painter and a significant member of the vibrant New York School of the 1950s and 1960s. Her circle of friends, who frequently inspired one another in their artistic endeavors, included Jackson Pollock, Larry Rivers, Helen Frankenthaler, Willem and Elaine de Kooning and Frank O'Hara. Her paintings are held by numerous major institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. As director of the Maryland Institute College of Art's Hoffberger School of Painting, she influenced numerous young artists.
Robert Goodnough was an American abstract expressionist painter. A veteran of World War II, Goodnough was one of the last of the original generation of the New York School;, even though he began exhibiting his work in galleries in New York City in the early 1950s. Robert Goodnough was among the 24 artists from the total of 256 participants who were included in the famous 9th Street Art Exhibition, (1951) and in all the following New York Painting and Sculpture Annuals from 1953 to 1957. These Annuals were important because the participants were chosen by the artists themselves. Early in his career starting in 1950 he showed his paintings at the Wittenborn Gallery, NYC. He had shown at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York City from 1952 to 1970 and again from 1984 to 1986. In 1960 and 1961 he had solo exhibitions at The Art Institute of Chicago. A veteran of scores of solo exhibitions and hundreds of group exhibitions in the United States and abroad, Goodnough also had solo exhibitions in 1969 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. A major work by Goodnough is included in The Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza Art Collection in Albany, NY. In later years his paintings were also associated with the Color Field movement.
Nanno de Groot was a self-taught artist. He belonged to the group of New York School Abstract expressionist artists of the 1950s. He wrote:
In moments of clarity of thought I can sustain the idea that everything on earth is nature, including that which springs forth from a man's mind, and hand. A Franz Kline is nature as much as a zinnia.
Ezio Martinelli was an American artist who belonged to the New York School Abstract Expressionist artists, a leading art movement of the post-World War II era.
Jane Freilicher was an American representational painter of urban and country scenes from her homes in lower Manhattan and Water Mill, Long Island. She was a member of the informal New York School beginning in the 1950s, and a muse to several of its poets and writers.
Amaranth Roslyn Ehrenhalt was an American painter, sculptor, and writer, who spent the majority of her career living and working in Paris, France before returning to New York City.