"Pictures must be miraculous." - Mark Rothko

Catalans vote to split from Spain amid violent crackdowns at the polls
Jean Dubuffet, Wall With Inscriptions, 1945.











Mark Rothko, Seagram Murals, 1958 - 1960.











Simon Schama's The Power of Art - Rothko











Rothko Chapel

Mark Rothko, Paintings inside the Rothko Chapel, 1964.











Barnett Newman, Broken Obelisk outside the Rothko Chapel (one of four), 1963 - 1967.


"Meditation and Modern Art Meet in the Rothko Chapel"

More on the Rothko Trial





















Historic Context
1950 - 1953 Korean War - America combats the global expansion of Communism with inconclusive results

Joseph McCarthy

1950 - 1957 "McCarthy Era" - Senator Joseph Mc Carthy leads wide scale attack hoping to reveal and discredit Communists in America
1951 J.D. Salinger publishes The Catcher in the Rye
1952 Arthur Miller's The Crucible
1952 - 1960 "Eisenhower Era"
1954 William Golding publishes The Lord of the Flies
1954 - 1955 J. R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series published
1955 Polio vaccine introduced to the public
  Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus for a white man
Library of Congress, Senator Joseph McCarthy, 1954.
1957 Soviet Union launches first artificial satelite, Sputnik into space
1958 - 1960
The Great Leap Forward, an attempt by Mao Zedong to stimulate China's economic development with the creation of huge rural communes was a failure and was partially responsible for an enormous famine in which several million people died.
1959 Fidel Castro overthrows Batista's regime in Cuba and establishes communist government
  Vietnam War begins











L'art Informel
a.k.a. Tachisme = french for stain
It's All in the City
Characterized by:
Spontaneous brushwork, drips, blobs and
calligraphic scribbling
Suggested the body, or the presence of it
Existential consciousness
American critics saw European art of the 40s and 50s as bound and restricted by the tradition of belle peinture = the idea of the painting as being a beautiful and luxurious object, a bed of delight for the senses
Wols, It's All Over the City,  1947.











Wols, Blue Phantom, 1951.











l'informe = anti form


  • Bataille called for the embrace of the repellent, the excessive and the bodily in art
  • Countered the idealism he saw in Cubism and Surrealism
"Man goes constantly in fear of himself. His erotic urges terrify him." - Georges Bataille
Georges Bataille











Large Sooty Nude

L'art brut, a.k.a. Art Brut = art in the raw
Art made by untrained people
Mentally ill, children, amateurs, graffiti artists

"The female body…has long…been associated with a very specious [false or phony] notion of beauty which I find miserable and most depressing. Surely I am for beauty, but not that one…I intend to sweep away everything we have been taught to consider-without question- as grace and beauty [and to] substitute another and vaster beauty, touching all objects and beings, not excluding the most despised." - Jean Dubuffet

Jean Dubuffet, Large Sooty Nude, 1944.











La Metafisyx
Jean Dubuffet, La Metafisyx, 1950.
Jean Dubuffet, Childbirth, 1944.











Alberto Burri, Sacco H8, 1953.










Sacco 5P

Alberto Burri, Composizione, 1953.

Alberto Burri, Sacco 5P, 1953.











Lucio Fontana, Spatial Concept, 1949 - 1950.










Concetto Spaziale

Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale, 1959 - 1960.











Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale (Waiting), 1960.