The Absolute and the Cold War

Discourses of Abstract Expressionism

by Justyna Wierzchowska (Author)
©2011 Thesis XII, 184 Pages


This book analyzes art criticism on Abstract Expressionism, lauded as «the triumph of American painting.» It traces the ways in which the movement’s meaning has been construed and constructed in reference to the changing cultural and political framework. Starting from the purely formal analyses of the 1950s and early 1960s, through the radical political statements of the late 1960s and early 1970s, until the later interpretations inspired mainly by gender and postcolonial studies, this book cuts across the domains of politics, philosophy and art criticism. The question of whether Abstract Expressionism was a «path to the Absolute» or a «weapon of the Cold War» is inscribed into the larger debate concerning the links between culture and politics.


XII, 184
ISBN (Hardcover)
American painting New York School Art Art criticism
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2011. XII, 184 pp.

Biographical notes

Justyna Wierzchowska (Author)

Justyna Wierzchowska, Assistant Professor at the Institute of English Studies, Warsaw University, holds a double MA in American studies and philosophy. In 2008, she defended her PhD in which she analyzed discourses on Abstract Expressionism produced during and after the Cold War. She has participated in numerous American Studies conferences and published in Poland and abroad. She translates into Polish American modern fiction and art-related books.


Title: The Absolute and the Cold War