Goodnough1

Subject Matter of the Artist: Writings of Robert Goodnough, 1950-1965

Edited by Helen A. Harrison, with a foreword by Irving Sandler

Paperback: 80 pages

Publisher: Sobercove Press (May 10, 2013)

List Price: $12.00

 

The absence of traditional subject matter was a primary issue for painters in mid-twentieth-century America whose imagery lacked representational references; it was also a problem for those struggling to understand modern art. Robert Goodnough (1917-2010), then a New York University graduate student and an artist deeply involved with these issues, responded to the situation in a 1950 research paper, "Subject Matter of the Artist: An Analysis of Contemporary Subject Matter in Painting as Derived from Interviews with Those Artists Referred to as the Intrasubjectivists." Goodnough's paper constitutes the first scholarly work on the artists who became known as the Abstract Expressionists and includes interviews with William Baziotes, Willem de Kooning, Adolph Gottlieb, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko.  Long believed lost, this previously unpublished study is presented here for the first time alongside related writings by Goodnough.

AICA-USA member HELEN A. HARRISON is an art historian, journalist, and Director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in East Hampton, NY.

AICA-USA member IRVING SANDLER is an art critic, curator, and Professor Emeritus of Visual Arts at SUNY-Purchase.

ROBERT GOODNOUGH (1917-2010) earned his BA in fine arts from Syracuse University in 1940, but became aware of modern art by reading magazines while stationed in New Guinea during World War II. In 1946 Goodnough moved to New York City and attended the Amédée Ozenfant School of Fine Arts under the G.I. Bill; he also studied at Hans Hofmann’s summer school in Provincetown, MA. In 1950 he earned an MA in art from New York University. Goodnough credited his teacher, the architect and sculptor Tony Smith, with opening the door to the New York art world. On Elaine de Kooning’s recommendation he wrote art reviews and feature articles for ARTnews from 1950 to 1957. His first one-person exhibition took place in 1950, and was shown in major solo exhibits, in group exhibitions such as MoMA's "The Art of Assemblage" and the 1970 Venice Biennale, and is in many major museum collections.


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