Epic is a word promptly used to acknowledge something great and endurable. From myths to history, it's a description that underlines how events, achievements, actions, and people were able to transcend. Something is considered epic when it proves its universality, that has been inspiring and larger than life, driven by a high purpose. In art, epic it's much more than a genre to frame specific stories or ways to tell them. Epic art appears at the right time, in the hands of unique artists, bursting onto the scene to claim their due place in history, often transforming it. Having these premises in mind seems appropriate that the new exhibition Epic Abstractions: Pollock to Herrera at the Metropolitan Museum of Art defines with the sole title the importance of abstract art and their exponents because they revolutionized our understanding of art forever.
Carmen Herrera, Equilibrio, 2012, copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art
After abstract art becomes a legitimate artistic movement theoretically and in practice, nothing was the same. Today the discussion on abstract artwork remains complex and divisive, though even their detractors can admit that this revolution was necessary just when all roads seemed already wasted. Faster than ever, numerous artistic movements defined modern art in the early years twentieth-century. However, there were signs that stagnation in modern art will soon begin through strictness traditions newly established and tempting complacency. A quiet and comfortable world was far from over in the midst of two consecutive world wars in a space of twenty years. So many artists were aware that their work must express the reigning distress and turmoil. Abstract art detonated an explosion of colors and forms, apparently chaotic, as a translation of the imminent danger of war and their consequential horrors. Abstract artists from 1940s and henceforth painted an era of vibrant emotions and constant changes.
Jackson Pollock, Autumn Rythm, 1950, copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The aforementioned MET exhibition encompasses the scope and scale of a revolutionary and transformative art with works dated from immediately after World War II-era to the dawn of our current century. Among the artists and works exhibited, you will find a rich showcase that includes Autumn Rhythm (1950) by Jackson Pollock, No 3 by Mark Rothko (1953), Mrs. N Palace by Louise Nevelson (1964-77) and Equilibrio (2012) by Carmen Herrera.
Mark Rothko, No 3, 1953, copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art
This miscellaneous presentation of artists from different countries and eras emphasize the epic character that gives name to the exhibition. On their behalf, it's an honorable gesture that Epic Abstractions: Pollock to Herrera delineate its trajectory starting with an American icon like Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) and flow into the work of a semi-unknown artist like Carmen Herrera (1915-), a Cuban painter recognized later in life this century, still alive at 104. This is a dynamic journey that transcends time and bridge gaps proving that abstract art is a mighty and pulsating force still alive and kicking.
Louise Nevelson, Mrs. Ns Palace, 1964/77, copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art