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Home » NewsBlog » In the aftermath of WWII, Barnett Newman realized that painting…

In the aftermath of WWII, Barnett Newman realized that painting…

In the aftermath of WWII, Barnett Newman realized that painting could not adequately respond to the devastation of the Holocaust or the fear of nuclear weapons. Believing that art faced a “moral crisis,” he argued against the kind of painting that previously “was trying to make the world look beautiful.” Instead, he decided to “start from scratch as if painting didn’t exist.” His solution was to paint radically reduced, abstract compositions featuring large expanses of color. For Day One (1951–52), pictured here on the right, Newman covered the canvas with a vast field of red bordered by two thin vertical bands. He called these lines “zips,” and painted them freehand or with the help of masking tape. At close range—the distance from which the artist intended his viewers to observe his large works—the painting extends beyond the typical field of vision. Yet by invoking the shared human ability to imagine more than sight apprehends, Newman posits a metaphor for the creative process. He believed his abstractions communicated a set of moral values because they offered “an assertion of freedom” and a “denial of dogmatic principles.” Ultimately, Day One professes a new beginning, and the hope that humanity might move forward into a better era. 

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The Whitney in New York houses one of the world’s foremost collections of modern and contemporary American art.
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In the aftermath of WWII, Barnett Newman realized that painting…In the aftermath of WWII, Barnett Newman realized that painting…In the aftermath of WWII, Barnett Newman realized that painting…In the aftermath of WWII, Barnett Newman realized that painting…In the aftermath of WWII, Barnett Newman realized that painting…

In the aftermath of WWII, Barnett Newman realized that painting could not adequately respond to the devastation of the Holocaust or the fear of nuclear weapons. Believing that art faced a “moral crisis,” he argued against the kind of painting that previously “was trying to make the world look beautiful.” Instead, he decided to “start from scratch as if painting didn’t exist.” His solution was to paint radically reduced, abstract compositions featuring large expanses of color. For Day One (1951–52), pictured here on the right, Newman covered the canvas with a vast field of red bordered by two thin vertical bands. He called these lines “zips,” and painted them freehand or with the help of masking tape. At close range—the distance from which the artist intended his viewers to observe his large works—the painting extends beyond the typical field of vision. Yet by invoking the shared human ability to imagine more than sight apprehends, Newman posits a metaphor for the creative process. He believed his abstractions communicated a set of moral values because they offered “an assertion of freedom” and a “denial of dogmatic principles.” Ultimately, Day One professes a new beginning, and the hope that humanity might move forward into a better era. 

In the aftermath of WWII, Barnett Newman realized that painting could not adequately respond to the devastation of the Holocaust or the fear of nuclear weapons. Believing that art faced a “moral crisis,” he argued against the kind of painting that previously “was trying to make the world look beautiful.” Instead, he decided to “start from scratch as if painting didn’t exist.” His solution was to paint radically reduced, abstract compositions featuring large expanses of color. For Day One (1951–52), pictured here on the right, Newman covered the canvas with a vast field of red bordered by two thin vertical bands. He called these lines “zips,” and painted them freehand or with the help of masking tape. At close range—the distance from which the artist intended his viewers to observe his large works—the painting extends beyond the typical field of vision. Yet by invoking the shared human ability to imagine more than sight apprehends, Newman posits a metaphor for the creative process. He believed his abstractions communicated a set of moral values because they offered “an assertion of freedom” and a “denial of dogmatic principles.” Ultimately, Day One professes a new beginning, and the hope that humanity might move forward into a better era. 

In the aftermath of WWII, Barnett Newman realized that painting…

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2018-01-30T03:19:07+00:00January 30th, 2018|Categories: Inspiration, News|Tags: |
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