Anita Shapolsky Gallery, 152 East 65th Street, NYC | New York School Artists
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New York School Artists

August 2012 – January 12, 2013

Peter Agostini, Alcopley, Edward Avedisian, Seymour Boardman, Ilya Bolotowsky, Norman Bluhm, Ernest Briggs, Gandy Brodie, James Brooks, Peter Busa, Lawrence Calcagno, Herman Cherry, Friedel Dzubas, Jimmy Ernst, John Hultberg, Ruben Kadish, Aristodimos Kaldis, Frederick Kiesler, Albert Kotin, Ibram Lassaw, Michael Loew, Joan Mitchell, Louise Nevelson, Claes Oldenburg, Philip Pavia, Joe Stefanelli, Taro Yamamoto & Wilfrid Zogbaum

“The Artist’s World”, softcover edition, $20.00 +shipping
“The Artist’s World”, hardcover edition, $25.00 +shipping

This exhibition is based on the photo classic book, “The Artist’s World”, by Fred W. McDarrah and with text by Gloria S. McDarrah, which documents the New York School Action painters (which included all the avant guard creative, artistic people) in their environs. The first edition was published in 1961. The second edition, published in 1988, was dedicated “to the Artists and to Anita Shapolsky who made this edition possible”. There is an illuminating introduction by Thomas Hess (Art News).

Since I began my gallery in 1982, the older artists I met carried dog-eared copies of the original black and white covered book, which they constantly reminisced about in discussions. It’s a simply written book with three parts and sub-chapters: (1) A Way of Life, (2) Achieving Status and (3) A Definite Stand. The photographs of the artists living quarters, partying, drinking at the Cedar tavern, at the Club with guru Philip Pavia and mentor William Littlefield. This doesn’t make it an “art book” but a chronicle of the reality of the times these artists lived in (late 40′s/50′s). It showed many artistic people who were on the scene, struggling in a society that neglected and negated their efforts. Changes were evident in different areas that strengthened their resolve–Freud, jazz, poetry, criticism. The individual was respected by his peer group. These artists sustained each other and formed what we today call “support groups”.

Over the years, I have exhibited works of most of these artists and knew many of them. In the 80′s the avant guard artists were underground because galleries since the 60′s were exhibiting minimal, pop art, experiments with junk, and happenings due to societal changes–the commercial growth and greed of America, the Vietnam war and loss of faith.

Growing up with Abstract Expressionism, I elected to focus my gallery on these under-represented artists and Voilá!–they had a rebirth and are still being collected, studied and are competitive on the global scene. We also exhibited women artists who were rejected by their male counterparts and gallerists, as well as Latino and African American artists who faced the same treatment. I understood the soul (in the spirit of Martha Jackson and Betty Parsons) of Abstract Expressionism which came from the Depression, WWII and the anger towards society. That is why these artists kept away from political art, and searched within themselves. The artist was art.

The artists selected for this exhibition are not all “big” names, they are an interesting cross-section of the art world as pictured in the book.

The new vigorous movements of the contemporary art world are trying to express their feelings about the world they live in today. There is a coming together in many communities, that give young artists peer support and experience. Countries are also sharing their borders with new ideas from younger artists.

These artists hopefully will appreciate the trials and tribulations of the often rejected New York School Artists who created a great art movement–possibly the greatest. History will tell.


July 1, 2015


Past Exhibitions