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Art as Act and Thought 

Abstract, yet affecting

After World War II, American artists emerged as leaders of a new direction in art, not followers of the old ways. Painters such as Pollock and de Kooning gained prominence not just for the protean work they created, but because rival art critics Harold Rosenberg and Clement Greenberg argued furiously in print about what the work meant and why it mattered. Rosenberg championed the importance of the act of creation; Greenberg advocated a focus on "pure" aesthetics — eschewing elements such as subject matter, definite brushstrokes or any connection with the artist. These opposing viewpoints drive Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning and American Art, 1940-1976, the new exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0072 or More than 50 thematically displayed works explore the development and legacy of abstract expressionism. Admission to Action/Abstraction is $4 to $6 and free on Friday. The exhibit remains up through Sunday, January 11, and the museum is open every day except Monday. Lee Krasner, American, 1908–1984; Blue and Black, 1951–1953; oil on canvas; 57 3/4 x 82 1/2 inches; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Gift of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation; © 2008 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 19. Continues through Jan. 11, 2008

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