Artistic Engagement as Experimentalism in CoBrA's Abstract Expressionism

By Janet M. C. Burns and Rene DeTroye.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The art of engagement fundamentally describes the artistic experimentalism of CoBrA. This art movement explicitly defines artistic practice as continual experimentation that must be connected to and informed by historical, social and political relevance. Through a discussion on the paintings and writings of these artists, as well as an examination of the scholarly and art historical documents this thesis will be defended by an examination of how and why the central premise of the CoBrA lies in the possibility of an alliance between “the people” and art, and presupposes that men and women can, through radically different collective practice - organic and experimental cooperation - unlearn the language, concepts and images that sustain advanced capitalist societies. For CoBrA artistic practice involves the ongoing dialectical creation of an art that will show the world, not as an object of domination, but as a subject of transcendence and liberation.

Keywords: CoBrA, Artistic Engagement, Experimentalism, Abstract Expressionism, Sociology of Art

The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 1, Issue 6, pp.137-152. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.541MB).

Dr. Janet M. C. Burns

Professor, University of New Brunswick, Saint John, Canada

Rene DeTroye

Independent Scholar, Montreal, QC, Canada

Independent Scholar, Canada and the Netherlands

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