University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
College of Fine and Applied Arts
500 E Peabody Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820
March 2-July 8, 2017
Main Level, West Gallery
Curated by Kathryn Koca Polite
In 1936, several artists in New York City, who grew tired of the lack of exhibiting opportunities for abstract artists, convened to discuss ways to promote and further the works of abstraction. The American Abstract Artists (AAA) emerged as a diverse group who engaged in various applications of abstraction: dynamic, clear geometry; abstraction influenced by surrealism and expressionism, often with biomorphic elements; and abstraction informed by the natural landscape. Overlooked during the 1930s and 1940s by major institutions, such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, the AAA aggressively protested these institutions and instead held their own exhibitions and forums to help garner acceptance of abstract art. The AAA can be seen as a predecessor to the New York School and abstract expressionism.
This exhibition features works from past members of the AAA, including Josef Albers, Mel Bochner, Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Corazzo, Sidney Gordin, Balcomb Greene, Gertrude Greene, Carl Holty, Karl Knaths, Sol LeWitt, George L. K. Morris, Louise Nevelson, Irene Rice Peirera, Judith Rothschild, Louis Schanker, Charles Green Shaw, Esphyr Slobodkina, David Smith, and Jean Xceron.
Sponsored in part by Fred and Donna Giertz