A Closer Look at Abstract Expressionism: Was it hazardous to the Lives of the Practicing Artists?
Several of the artists painting in this style in New York City (Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock) became alcoholics. Others committed suicide. Nervous breakdowns and depression were common amongst this group of painters. Was there a link between the style and these health issues? What was it about the style that may have encouraged physical and mental decline in its practictioners? This course will explore the lives of artists practicing abstract expressionism in the 1940s and 50s. We'll study the art forms that influenced abstract expressionism and learn more about how the style differed from artist to artist. And we'll take a closer look at how the style affected the health and well-being of the painters who championed it.