Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Repositioning Abstract Expressionism

Dr. Janet Burns.

Recent scholarship has reconsidered the origin and practice of Abstract Expressionism beyond its generally accepted parameters in New York as championed by Clement Greenberg. This paper adds to that argument and locates Abstract Expressionist movements originating as well as finding primary elaboration and continuity in western Europe. The paper hopes to demonstrate the importance of an art historical perspective that is inclusive rather than exclusive and international rather than national. Such a viewpoint recognizes artistic innovation and practice as much broader and variegated than nationally based art history is inclined to recognize. The analysis contributes to the discussion on the strength and veracity of global inter-cultural fields despite the totalizing language of dominant cultures, economies and technologies.


Dr. Janet Burns  (Canada)
Associate Professor of Sociology
Department of Social Science
University of New Brunswick

A professor of cultural studies and the sociology of art with a primarily specialization in artistic modernism of the early 20th century. Past publications includes works on the gendered aspects of modernism and the inter-cultural connections between Mexican muralism and the Canadian art of the same period.

  • Abstract expressionism

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)