Motherwell on abstract art

Following on from the section of ‘Black or White’ I have found another interesting piece of writing from the same book, The Writings of Robert Motherwell, Edited by Dore Ashton and Joan Banach, 2007 – ‘What Abstract Art Means to Me’ Museum of Modern Art Bulletin 18, no3(Spring 1951).

“One of the most striking aspects of abstract art’s appearance is her nakedness, an art stripped bare. How many rejections on the part of her artists! Whole worlds – the world of objects, the world of power and propaganda, the world of anecdotes, the world of fetishes and ancestor worship. One might almost legitimately receive the impression that abstract artists don’t like anything but the act of painting…

What new kind of mystique is this, one might ask. For make no mistake, abstract art is a form of mysticism.┬áStill, this is not to describe the situation very subtly. To leave out consideration of what is being put into painting, I mean. One might truthfully say that abstract art is stripped bare of other things in order to intensify it, its rhythms, spatial intervals, and colour structure.”


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