Advanced and Irascible: Abstract Expressionism exhibit at the Georgia Museum of Art

The Georgia Museum of Art presents Advance and Irascible: Abstract Expressionism from the Collection of Jeanne and Caroll Berry

artGuide art news blog presents information about the Advance and Irascible: Abstract Expressionism from the Collection of Jeanne and Carroll Berry in the Georgia Museum of Art. As one of the top art museums in Georgia and the Southeast this exhibition brings the top works of abstract art from many world renowned artists.

Richard Pousette-Dart (American, 1916-1992) Cereulean Garden, 1945, watercolor on paper, 11"x14" Collection of Jeanne and Carroll Berry 

Athens, GA — The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will show the work of well-known abstract expressionist artists in the exhibition “Advanced and Irascible: Abstract Expressionism from the Collection of Jeanne and Carroll Berry,” on view January 14 to April 30, 2017.

The exhibition, organized by the museum’s curator of American art Sarah Kate Gillespie, showcases Jeanne and Carroll Berry’s efforts to gather one work by each of the so-called “Irascible” painters of abstract expressionism. The Irascibles earned their nickname after sending a signed, open letter to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to protest the lack of what they called “advanced” art in its exhibition of contemporary artists in 1950. A photograph of them that appeared in Life magazine in 1951 became the defining image of the abstract expressionists for the remainder of the 20th century.

In their letter, the artists wrote, “for roughly a hundred years, only advanced art has made any consequential contribution to civilization.” This collection of works embodies what they thought of as contributing to the advancement of art.

Adolph Gottlieb (American, 1903-1974) #30, 1970, acrylic on paper, 23 3/4"x18 3/4" Collection of Jeanne and Carroll Berry 

“Advanced and Irascible” includes 19 works by 18 different artists, all borrowed from the Berrys’ collection. Artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, Willem de Kooning, Hedda Sterne and Ad Reinhardt are represented. Characterized by large, gestural paintings, this group of painters defined the abstract expressionist movement and influenced the trajectory of modern art. This exhibition includes mostly smaller works, many of which are on paper, as well as a charcoal drawing by Armenian artist Arshile Gorky, who was not a member of the Irascibles but was a strong influence on the group.

Gillespie will also teach a split-level undergraduate and graduate art history course on abstract expressionism at the Lamar Dodd School of Art this spring semester. The class will make heavy use of both “Advanced and Irascible” and its companion exhibition “Artists of the New York School,” allowing students to study original works of art in person, rather than reproduced in a textbook.

Related events include a film series beginning January 26; a gallery discussion with associate curator of education Callan Steinmann on February 8 at 2 p.m.; 90 Carlton: Winter, the museum’s quarterly reception (free for members, $5 non-members) on February 10 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; a Family Day focused on abstract valentines on February 11 from 10 a.m. to noon; and a public tour with Gillespie February 22 at 2 p.m. All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated.