Harold Rosenberg, "The American Action Painters
," first published in Art News 51/8 (December 1952), 22.
Sirc grounds his ideas about college writing instruction in theories and practices from the arts, including the multimedia "happenings" of Robert Raucshenberg, the aesthetics of action painters
such as Jackson Pollock, and the anti-modernism of Marcel Duchamp.
Dadaism subsequently subsumed a broad range of styles and media: Dadaists, Action painters
, Abstract Expressionists, Pop artists, and New Wave filmmakers all showed a passion for commenting on the underlying social relations and on the cynicism, ennui, and disillusionment inherent in the struggle to relate ourselves to a world of unparalleled and unchecked technological advance and information explosion and a social order still buried in barbarism and discord.
Such concerns are also evident in Harold Rosenberg's 1952 essay "The American Action Painters
," where the difficulty of the new work is not just that the canvas has become "an arena in which to act," as Rosenberg so famously puts it, but also that "the painter has become an actor," with all the ambiguity that phrase implies.
He and other pop artists - so called because they took their materials from popular culture - were reacting to the seriousness of the action painters
Unlike the action painters
, who literally jumped around the canvas in an attempt to dissolve the boundaries of their bodies and liberate them, I don't need to put force into the act of painting.
None of this work has anything to do with the Abstract Expressionist notion of the canvas as an "arena in which to act," as Harold Rosenberg put it in his 1952 article "The American Action Painters
Larry's refusal to give up linear depiction was at least as galling to the action painters
of the New York School as his admiration for narrative subject matter and his stubborn insistence on the epic ambitions of classical history painting.