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Abstract Art

May 2024
1min read


In his article on the New York art scene (“The Artistic Triumph of New York,” September), David Lehman claims—with no apparent humor or irony—that American art before the Abstract Expressionists was nothing but Grant Wood and Socialist Realism. Besides trashing the underrated Wood, he leaves out (and this is a very truncated list) Stuart Davis, Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Dorothea Tanning, Lyonel Feininger, Agnes Pelton, Charles Demuth, Peter Blume, Loïs Mailou Jones, and a lot of great painters who worked in, yes, “realist” styles.

Lehman detects paranoia in Tom Wolfe’s justly celebrated The Painted Word , but his own essay belies that charge. Pollock, de Kooning, and their ilk still enjoy better critical reviews.

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