Monday, January 8, 2024

the last book I ever read (The Slip: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Forever, excerpt ten)

from The Slip: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Forever by Prudence Peiffer:

The summer before the Youngermans arrived in New York, in August 1956, Jackson Pollock drove his Oldsmobile into a tree in Springs, on the East End of Long Island, killing himself and one of the two women in the car with him. This tragedy launched Abstract Expressionism from art world prominence to market dominance. The Museum of Modern Art, which had been raising funds to buy his landmark painting Autumn Rhythm for $8,000 just before Pollock died, suddenly found that his widow, the artist Lee Krasner, had raised the price to $30,000. The Metropolitan Museum of Art swooped in and bought it instead. It was the end of a certain optimistic innocence for the nascent postwar art boom in the States.

When Youngerman settled at the Slip, he didn’t go to Tenth Street meetings of the Abstract Expressionist crowd at the Club. The group at the Slip didn’t socialize in the same raucous, bellicose way. As Youngerman explained, “There was no Cedar Bar for us. Happily, because the Cedar Bar was the last of the whiskey and cigarettes, all of whom died young except for de Kooning. That was the end of that particular era of living.” Or, put yet another way, “We were all a bunch of Protestants from the hinterlands, as opposed to warm New York Jewish people, like Rothko and Newman.”

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