A radical new generation of American abstract painters has emerged in the twenty-first century. Whereas their predecessors advanced abstraction in the shadow of the Cold War, this new generation arose at the cusp of the transition to the digital era and is marked by the traumatic events surrounding 9/11 and its ongoing social and political aftermath. In these shifting times the artist’s alter ego might well be the DJ—brushstrokes are replaced by "riffs" while "old school" palettes are discarded for "Teletubby purple" or "bubble gum pink". This is the age of "the remix" where raw material is downloaded and "Photoshopped". Contemporary artists have irony at their disposal and switch to tie-dye aesthetics or psychedelia as fast as they can quote Malevich. This next wave is thrilling. Painted loops, reminiscent of Jackson Pollock, are revealed to be motorcycle skid marks—bringing new meaning to Abstract Expressionism. Even though traditions are "deconstructed" and paintings can echo "grunge", historical continuity remains. As Max Henry writes in his introduction, "The American Dream does not exist any more. It is itself an abstraction." Abstract America is being published in conjunction with the opening of one of today’s most important institutions collecting and exhibiting contemporary art—the new Saatchi Gallery in London.
Publish Date: February 17, 2009
Category: Art - Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions - General