The showcase features more than fifty works from The Met collection, besides a selection of loans, gifts and new acquisitions, to investigate large-scale abstract painting, sculpture and assemblage from the 1940s.
“Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera” collects iconic works such as Jackson Pollock‘s “drip” painting “Autumn Rhythm” (1950) and Louise Nevelson‘s monumental “Mrs. N’s Palace” (1964–77), along with works by international artists, such as Japanese painter Kazuo Shiraga and the Hungarian artist Ilona Keserü.
The exhibition illustrates the artists’ need in the 1940s to defy traditional figurative art, in the wake of the unprecedented devastation brought by World War II. A group of them, reunited in the so-called New York School, came to believe that figurative artworks could not represent anymore the human condition; on the other hand, they begun experimenting with new abstract styles, which better evoked their state of mind. The pieces they produced were often in significant formats, not just to better experiment with the aesthetic elements of line, color, shape, and texture, but also to evoke a sense of epic, connected with the topics they wanted to investigate through the new form of art, such as time, history, nature, the body, and existential concerns of the self.