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Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, Part 6: Abstract Art Now

Kirk Varnedoe, Institute for Advanced Study. This six-part series examines abstract art over a period of fifty years, beginning with a crucial juncture in modern art in the mid-1950s, and builds a compelling argument for a history and evaluation of late twentieth-century art that challenges the distinctions between abstraction and representation, modernism and postmodernism, minimalism and pop. The accompanying publication, Pictures of Nothing: Abstract Art since Pollock, is available for purchase from the Gallery Shops. In this sixth and final lecture of the series, originally delivered at the National Gallery of Art on May 11, 2003, the distinguished art historian Kirk Varnedoe returns to a question raised in lecture one: Can an argument be made for abstraction as a legitimate part of both our cognitive process and our nature as a modern liberal society? Varnedoe leads the listener through a tour of Richard Serra's Torqued Ellipses, making an impassioned case for abstraction as an art of subjectivity- an art dependent on experience, human invention, and constant debate.