American Modernism is at the Crane Kalman Gallery
VISUAL ARTS With Richard Ingleby
Saturday 26 October 1996
American Visions, a new eight-part television series written and narrated by Robert Hughes, promises, as Hughes puts it, "a sort of love letter to America". This giant of a series presents not just a survey of American art but a history of the United States from the Puritans onwards.
Hughes, one of the most cultured Australians ever to walk the planet, has been a US resident since 1970 and as art critic of Time has been one of the more eloquent voices of his generation; his last TV venture, The Shock of the New, was a highpoint of Eighties television. American Visions looks set to correct the misconception that modern art in America began in 1945 with abstract expressionism.
Thanks, then, to the Crane Kalman Gallery for American Modernism 1920-1945, which will allow London audiences to see a little of what Hughes is on about.
It begins with Arthur Dove whose visit to Paris in 1908 brought him into contact with the Fauves and so to his own style of landscape-based abstraction. This, and his devotion to pure colour, put him alongside the likes of Kandinsky as a pioneer of abstract painting. The need to simplify landscape was shared by Georgia O'Keeffe, who is absent from this show, as is Milton Avery and other more familiar names, in a selection aimed at exposing rarely seen talents.
Of them all Stuart Davis looks like the most major artist. His work brings the language of Braque and Gris to the brand name countenance of American culture. The Precisionist Charles Sheeler and the 1930s geometric abstractionists also feature.
By the late 1940s Abstract Expressionism had become the first home-grown American art movement. As this exhibition shows, the seeds of its flowering had been sown some time before.
EYE ON THE NEW
Britain's most famous trans- Atlantic art export, David Hockney, has postponed an exhibition of new paintings due to open next week. The show is rescheduled for next May. For now a new series of 10 prints are at the Alan Cristea Gallery until 1 Dec. From pounds 4,000. Alan Cristea Gallery, 31 Cork Street, London WI (0171-439 1866)
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 North Korean prison officers 'cooked prisoner's baby and fed it to their dogs', more horrific accounts from UN report reveal
- 3 Antonio Martin shooting: Mayor says there should be 'no comparison' to Ferguson
- 4 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Secret Cinema showed The Great Dictator at protest secret screening, following Sony's The Interview cancellation
Best underrated Christmas movies: From Trading Places to While You Were Sleeping
Cruel Woman in Black prank sees cinema-goers terrified by movie poster - watch their reactions
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Angelina Jolie 'didn't eat much' in sympathy with actors who had to lose weight for Unbroken
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever