By Ellen H. Johnson

From the Preface:The indisputable fact that quite a bit of contemporary artwork has committed itself to the exploration and statement of its personal id is mirrored in, yet doesn't clarify, the expanding volume of writing and speaking at the a part of modern artists. quite, the entire historical past of the altering position of artwork and artists in a democratic, commercial, and technological society stands at the back of the spate of artists’ phrases and the public’s starvation for them—even many of the common public in the market past art’s little circle. Statements by means of artists attraction a little the best way drawings do: they create us, or not less than they carry the promise of bringing us, toward the artist’s suggestions and emotions and to an realizing of his or her modus operandi; they carry the keys to a mysterious realm. and infrequently they give us the sheer excitement of fine analyzing. Such is the first raison d’être of this book.Its different motivation is academic, and stems from the troublesome lack, in educating modern paintings, of any unmarried compilation of statements through American artists from 1940 to the current.

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No one in his right mind g m to an art-museum to worship anything but art, or to learn about anything else. The ane place for art-as-art is the museum of fine art, The one reason for the m u s u m of fine art is the preservatim of ancient and m d e r n art that cannot be made again and that does not have to be done again. h museum aif fine art should exdude ewxything but fine art, and be separate f r m mufeums of ethnology, gealogy, archaeology, histsry, decorative-arts, industrial-arts, military-arts, and museums of other things.

For here is a group of artists who are not abstract painters, although working in what is known as the abstract style. Mrs, Betty Parsons has organized a repres~ntativeshowing of t h i s work around the artists in her gallery who are its exponents. That all of them are associated wit h her gallery is not without significance. Barnett Newman, Reply to Glenrent Grsenberg" review in The Nation, Decsmber 6 , 1947, quoted din Thornas B, Hsss, Barnett Newman, Mew York, 196Q (Nswmank letter was not published in P " ~ B M ~ l i o n ) 16 AMERICAN ARTltSTS ON ART Newman" attempt to explain the meaning of Abstract Expressionist art is as illuminating and convincing as any subsequent critical exyjljication that I am familiar with, Its date, 1947, is just prior to his first "zip" paintings (Qnement I is 1948); had his essay been written thereafter, he would have had to get around the corner of his statement that ""A.

I permit them to play, like a seesaw. I use action and eountctraetion, like in music, all the tirne. . You add or subtract until you feel . . the form, the principle, that mmething that makes the house stand; that makes you stand. ". OTHER ART OF THE FORTIES AND FIFTIES *1C3 You see, 1 think that we have measurements in our b d i e s . Measurements in our eyes. Look, dear, we walk on two feet. So we're vertical. That doesn't mean the work has to be vertical, but it means that there is a weight within ourselves, or this Bight.

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