"The Stamp of Impulse: Abstract Expressionist Prints" Comes to Amon Carter Museum as First Post-Expansion Traveling Exhibition

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Release date: 
January 29, 2002

FORT WORTH, Texas --- "The Stamp of Impulse: Abstract Expressionist Prints," the first in-depth examination of the influence of abstract expressionism on printmaking, opens at the Amon Carter Museum on March 2, 2002. This is the first traveling exhibition to be held at the museum since it reopened October 21, 2001, following its two-year, $39 million expansion. Organized by the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Judith Rothschild Foundation, the exhibition consists of 100 prints by as many artists and provides a new and comprehensive survey of the diverse stylistic and technical experimentation that revolutionized American graphic arts in the mid-20th century. The exhibition runs through May 12.

Among the pioneering abstract expressionist printmakers represented are masters of the New York School-Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Nell Blaine and Louise Nevelson. Artists working in Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco, such as Richard Diebenkorn and Claire Falkenstein, are also represented. In addition, the exhibition considers the work of the second generation of abstract expressionists, including Helen Frankenthaler, Cy Twombly and Joan Mitchell, who explored the graphic arts as an original, creative medium. The prints, drawn mostly from the Worcester Art Museum's permanent collection, represent the movement's entire stylistic range, including abstract surrealism, biomorphism, painterly gesture and calligraphic notation. Exemplifying a wide variety of printmaking media, the prints range from miniature drypoints to mural-sized screenprints.

"This is a wonderful exhibition to inaugurate our new gallery space for special exhibitions," said Amon Carter Museum Director Rick Stewart. "The works provide a stunning array of colors, lines and shapes. In addition to this exhibition, special presentations taken from the museum's extensive collection of American printmaking and photography will also provide visitors with the unique opportunity to see some very exciting comparisons."

Exhibition organizer Dr. David Acton, curator of prints, drawings and photographs at the Worcester Art Museum, adds, "Abstract expressionism is acknowledged as the leading achievement of American art in the 20th century, but its impact on the graphic arts has never been fully examined. At a time when there was no market for the graphic arts, the artists often used the tools and procedures of printmaking to explore the process of creativity. These experimental prints were produced in just a few uncirculated impressions. In the past, these rare prints have often been dismissed as anomalous. However, seen together and in context, they reveal the transforming spirit of exploration and improvisation associated with abstract expressionism."

Placing "The Stamp of Impulse: Abstract Expressionist Prints" into the context of the Carter's permanent collection are two exhibitions organized from the museum's holdings. "Abstraction in Photography," February 9--June 9, 2002, examines early 20th-century photography's move into abstraction with 48 photographs by such masters as Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. From February 23--August 18, 2002, "Revealed Treasures: Prints from the Permanent Collection" offers insight into a broad spectrum of American printmaking from the 19th and 20th centuries, with works arranged chronologically into four sections.

"The Stamp of Impulse: Abstract Expressionist Prints," is accompanied by a 296-page exhibition catalogue of the same title. Dr. Acton is the principal author of the catalogue, which features three introductory essays, 100 entries and 109 color and 43 halftone illustrations.

Related Programming

Free admission. All programs at the Amon Carter Museum.

March 3, 3-4 p.m.
Lecture: "Abstract Expressionist Prints: Paradoxes and Personalities," David Acton, Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, Worcester Art Museum, and Deborah Remington, a painter and printmaker whose work is on exhibit in "The Stamp of Impulse"

March 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Film Series: "Pull My Daisy," directed by Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie, 1959, USA, 30 minutes; "The Last Clean Shirt," directed by Alfred Leslie, 1964, USA, 38 minutes

March 10, 3-4 p.m.
An Artist's Perspective Gallery Talk: "The Private Views of a Renaissance Long Past," George Miyasaki, artist featured in the exhibition

March 21, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Film Series: "Capturing the Spirit of the Time" film series. "Painters Painting," directed by Emile de Antonio, 1972, USA, 116 minutes

March 28, 12:15-12:45 p.m.
Gallery Talk: "The Impact of Gesture," David Conn, Professor, Department of Art and Art History, Texas Christian University

For more information on any of the museum's programs, please contact Carol Noel at 817.738.1933, extension 5066, or e-mail carol.noel@cartermuseum.org.