Today @ AK
Home > Calendar > Director's Lecture Series 2014–2015, Lecture 5—“New York: The New Capital of Art, 1945–1980”

Director's Lecture Series 2014–2015, Lecture 5—“New York: The New Capital of Art, 1945–1980”

By Curator Dr. Cathleen Chaffee

Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 7–8:30 pm

Cathleen Chaffee, Janne Sirén, and Joe Lin-Hill with Clyfford Still’s 1951-E, 1951 (Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Gift of the artist, 1964).

(Complete series: Tuesdays, September 16, 2014; October 14, 2014; November 11, 2014; February 3, 2015; March 10, 2015; and April 28, 2015, 7–8:30 pm)

7–8 pm, Lecture
8–8:30 pm, Conversation with Participants

Series Price:
$500 general admission
$375 for Members
$200 for students (with valid student ID)
More about Tickets and Scholarships


Many of the artists, such as Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956) and Mark Rothko (American, born Russia, 1903–1970), who contributed to what has been called the “triumph of American painting” in the 1950s had a great deal in common: they made representational painting as part of the Depression-era Work Projects Administration and they were exposed to an influx of European culture brought by artists in exile from the destruction of World War II. These artists brought their experience to bear on the development of a truly American style of abstract painting, which came to be called Abstract Expressionism. This generation of artists helped shift the center of the art world from Paris to New York City after the war. What kept New York at the apex of artistic innovation and art market success for decades afterwards was not, however, its role in the establishment of a new national school of art, but rather the way it continued to serve as a fulcrum for diverse communities of transplants and émigrés. Such increasingly international energies were often what redefined and expanded the definition of avant-garde art in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.   


Following the overwhelming success of the 2013–2014 inaugural Director’s Lecture Series, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery is pleased to introduce the 2014–2015 Director’s Lecture Series, entitled “The Birth, Rise, and Evolution of Avant-Garde Art.” Six lectures will provide a unique opportunity to learn about the eighteenth-century origins and nineteenth- and twentieth-century development of the modern definition of the artist: a figure who rejects dominant cultural mores and leads the vanguard of creative and even societal transformation. The series is designed by Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director Dr. Janne Sirén and presented by Dr. Sirén, as well as Deputy Director Dr. Joe Lin-Hill and Curator Dr. Cathleen Chaffee. Learn More