The Great Graphic Boom

The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo 
– 28 May 2017

In the United States of America, the decades following the Second World War were characterised by tension. Political events such as the Vietnam War, protest movements and the Watergate Affair rocked the country. Nevertheless, the cultural scene blossomed and, thanks to its originality, received worldwide recognition. In its exhibition “The Great Graphic Boom”, the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo is currently focusing on one aspect of this breakthrough, namely the enormous interest in printmaking that emerged in the 1960s.

The political climate in Europe had caused many artists to emigrate to the US in the 1930s and 1940s with the result that New York City was soon host to a vibrant art scene. Vivacious brushstrokes and vibrant fields of colour dominated the abstract Expressionism of the New York School, a term coined by Robert Coates, the art critic, in 1946. In the 1960s, many artists distanced themselves from Expressionism and began working with professional printing houses. Whilst Pop Art made use of popular culture and consumer goods, Minimalism reduced everything to abstract, repetitive shapes. 


“The Great Graphic Boom” displays work in four rooms by 23 artists who were key players in the various art trends that emerged at this time. Prominent examples of Expressionism are on display such as “Cantos Serie” by Barnett Newman (1963) and works from the Pop Art era, such as Roy Lichtenstein’s “Brushstroke” (1965) and Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans” (1962). Other highlights include works by Lee Bontecou, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg and Helen Frankenthaler.


From 4 to 6.45 p.m. every Tuesday, there is an open printmaking workshop. The exhibition is staged in collaboration with the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. An overview of dates of other exhibitions at the National Museum is available online.


Nº 273
Designing Protest

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