Energy Without Grandiosity

When Clement Greenberg wrote in 1947 that it is in “New York Bohemia … below 34th Street, that the fate of American art is being decided,” the influential art critic and Abstract Expressionism advocate may have spoken too soon. One year earlier, artist Richard Diebenkorn (1922-1993) had met painters David Park (1911-1960) and Elmer Bischoff (1916-1991) at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Along with artists Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920), Manuel Neri (b. 1930) and others, a tight-knit group of Bay Area painters and sculptors spent the following decades making abstract and figurative artworks that contained the energy of New York School action painting without the grandiosity, creating a contribution to American art history that has yet to be fully appreciated.

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