Adolph Gottlieb: End of the Underground

Adolph Gottlieb, Equinox, 1963, oil on canvas (photo: Sharon Butler, Phillips Co
Adolph Gottlieb, Equinox, 1963, oil on canvas (photo: Sharon Butler, Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.)

Sharon Butler posts thoughts from the painter Adolph Gottlieb on the loss of a "tradition of revolution in modern art."

Butler quotes an interview Gottlieb gave to the Washington Post in 1966: "The tradition of modern art is a tradition of revolution: there’s one revolution after another – for better or for worse. And I think that’s what we have today: there's been a revolution, the older Abstract Expressionists can legitimately continue working in their way, but young people have to find some other way... We felt that we were living in an underground; we felt that we were a bit outside of society and, in a sense, outcasts. If such a mood could develop among artists, this would be a good sign – but I haven’t seen any signs of it. They all want success more than achievement."