End of the Art World, made in 1971, is a 16-mm film that documents the works of the most avant-garde artists of the 1960s. Now available on DVD, the movie ends with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the city of New York blowing up.
The film looks kitsch today, but the stories that brought the artists to New York, their influence on each other and on the art world are an important part of our art history.
Jasper Johns, who is still alive and working today, was just one of the many artists who moved to New York to work, study and pursue their careers as artists.
Johns and Robert Rauschenberg were two of the first artists who moved to Coenties Slip, a neighborhood in lower Manhattan along the East River. The old industrial buildings, where sails had been manufactured, gave the artists inexpensive spaces in which to live and work.
They encouraged each other to push back against the traditional art that had gone before, and use everyday objects and popular cultural imagery in their work.
Ellsworth Kelly, who was influenced by James Audubon’s drawings and his own experiences observing birds, created work that used bold, but minimal, colors and shapes.
Kelly inspired Robert Indiana, another Coenties Slip artist, to give up figurative painting and concentrate on geometric, hard-edge design.
James Rosenquist rented a studio in Coenties Slip in 1960 and went from billboard painter to pop artist.
Although they didn’t live in Coenties Slip, both Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein were part of the pop culture in New York that moved art in America through Minimalism and beyond, so that artists had, and have now, the ability to explore and invent their individual styles. Many were also great printmakers, which is why we value their work so highly at VFA.
Works of Modern Masters at VFA
Kelly Richman-Abdou. Discover the Eclectic Influences That Shaped Ellsworth Kelly’s Avant-Garde Art. My Modern Met. July 12, 2020.
Retrospective on Artist Jasper Johns. The Garden City News. July 23, 2020.
Christie’s. LOVE story: the many sides of Robert Indiana. February 13, 2020.
Blanton Museum of Art. Kelly & The Coenties Slip. April, 2018.