American Painting In The New Age Of Anxiety Essay

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American Painting in the [new] Age of Anxiety Vernon Peck Page 1 American Painting in the [new] Age of Anxiety Summary under-represented American painters in a salon-style group exhibition. The exhibition focuses on the dynamic, “post-conceptual” virility of American painting produced specifically since 2005 in a nation embroiled in war, embattled by divisive perspectives, unparalleled economic growth and precipitous decline, and an art market that appeared to be irrepressible. The exhibition highlights the contributions of both female and male painters during this period of turmoil, exploring abstraction and, to a lesser extent, figuration. The emphasis is on the artists’ practices, not as a response to this turmoil, but in spite of it and decreased opportunities to exhibit their work, both in solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad, particularly in major European markets, dominated by a predilection for regional artists. The [new] Age of Anxiety The Anglo-American poet W. H. Auden (1907-1973) documented the modernist journey for self-actualization in the post-WWII United States in his Pulitzer Prize (1948) winning poem The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue. 2 Auden examined man's quest to find substance, identity, and fulfillment in a shifting and increasingly industrialized world. The [new] Age of Anxiety is a particularly apt title to describe the dyspeptic climate that emerged and persists in the United States after the controversial Bush v. Gore election of 2000, the expansion of two major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, multiple corporate scandals and implosions, the global economic crisis that began in September 2008 and, most recently, the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. 3 (See Appendix A.) The age of anxiety is a common title, appearing in the titles of 92 media contained in the U.S. Library of Congress, ranging from

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