Abstract Expressionism, Royal Academy, 11 November 2016

Abstract Expressionist Gromit
Abstract Expressionist Gromit

We’d both been really looking forward to seeing this exhibition, without quite getting around to seeing it; prioritising other “more urgent” things, as th Abstract Expressionism is running until January and as a member Janie can get us in any time.

We had booked out the time to see the exhibition on this day and were quite determined to see it, although with Janie feeling poorly the day before, I was half expecting us to defer the visit yet again.

But Janie woke up on this Friday feeling better and was keen to go ahead with the visit after getting some other bits and pieces out of the way.

Naturally, it was quite late by the time we set off for the Royal Academy, which actually worked out well with the late night opening. No congestion charge, no parking charges and a reasonably clear run around Mayfair/Piccadilly.

The Royal Academy has a good resource on this show with some very good examples – click here.

We both really liked the show, without necessarily liking all the work. Barnett Newman has always left me cold and I was not so impressed by the David Smith sculptures. This is big, “wall space” art in truth.

Reviews are a little mixed:

We thought the show worked very well as a whole. Very colourful. Also very interesting, as we were familiar with some of the works and artists but not really on the Abstract Expressionists as a school. We suspect that many non-expert visitors shared our sense of enjoyment along with the sense that we learnt something too.

Janie was convinced that Cy Twombly should have been in there, even asking one of the shop attendants to look Cy up for her and then explain why Cy was absent. It transpires that Twombly’s work is later, modern romantic symbolism, not abstract expressionism. Bad call, Janie.

Romantic Symbolist Madonna and Child
Romantic Symbolist Madonna and Child

2 thoughts on “Abstract Expressionism, Royal Academy, 11 November 2016”

  1. Mandy and I went a couple of weeks back and were so blown away by the exhibition I bought the catalogue in the gift shop; something I have only done once before and also this year at the Georgia O’Keefe exhibition. Both were fabulous events. The only problem I had with the Expressionism exhibition as with so many RA blockbusters there are simply too many people in the rooms. Particularly with expressionism you have to sit (or stand) with the work so you can imbibe its physical and sensual presence in order to fully appreciate it (well I have to anyway). No more so than with the Rothkos which are moods layered upon moods opening windows of rich and comforting/discomforting insight into one’s emotional responses. I particularly like the Franz Kline and Clifford Still. Simple, seemingly random, haphazard concoctions yet deeply evocative. Apparently Kline planned his sparse wide brushstrokes meticulously.

Comments on Ogblog pieces are always welcome - please write something below if you wish.