Painting the Abstract Environment: Abstract Murals in New York, 1935-55


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Art History

Named Award

Ellen Holtzman Fellow named award


This dissertation examines the abstract mural as it was redefined by a range of artists in New York in the decades before and after World War II. Following a resurgence of interest in the mural, several artists expanded abstract compositions to mural scale. The abstract mural promised collective engagement at the same time that its potential kinship with decoration stoked anxieties. This dissertation approaches these issues as posed in several sites in and around New York City, sites that ranged from public to private to complex hybrids of the two. Through close analysis of works by Stuart Davis, Ilya Bolotowsky, Jackson Pollock, and others, the project offers an alternative account of midcentury art and its publics.