11 April 2019

II Cycle Talks in the Library

Joana Cunha Leal comments “Defense of Abstract Expressionism” by T. J. Clark published in Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism (1999)

Joana Cunha Leal
Joana Cunha LealTalks in the Library

The second talk of the second cycle Talks in the Library happens on April 16, Tuesday, between 17:30 and 18:30, in the Library Atrium. The entrance is free.



“Defense of Abstract Expressionism” closes T.J. Clark’s monumental book – Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism – published 1999. The text follows a further (long) chapter dedicated to the work of Jackson Pollock and both are revealing of the central place that the main responsible of the new social history of art attributes to American Abstract Expressionism. The defense that T.J. Clark rehearses of this episode of Modernism is striking by its terms and arguments. Almost always against the dominant narratives about triumph, and then the dispensation, of Abstract Expressionism, the historian constructs his approach from the idea of the vulgarity of the paintings that he analyzes, throwing the modernist reversibility of the negative value of the term.



Joana Cunha Leal is an assistant professor in the Art History Department at FCSH-NOVA, where she teaches theory, historiography and the history of contemporary art. She has a PHD in architecture and urban policies in the 18th and 19th centuries (2006). Since 2010, she studies the modernisms and the Iberian historical vanguards, also from the point of view of historiography. She was Fulbright Fellow in 2011 and Fellow at the Stone Summer Theory Institute (2011-2012). He was IR of the Southern Modernisms project (2015) and currently she is responsible for the Iberian Modernisms project (both financed by FCT). She is director of the Art History Institute of FCSH-NOVA.