September 1st 2011

MoMA’s Abstract Expressionist New York (there’s an app for that)

If you happened to check out the exhibition Abstract Expressionist New York at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City you made a great choice. From October 2010 to April 25th of this year, the MoMA featured the best of the best of NYC’s abstract expressionists, including Jackson Pollock and Barnett Newman, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner and David Smith.Now, all of this is summarized in a wonderful app.

The exhibit highlighted the achievements of a generation that brought New York City up tot the epicenter in the art world following World War II. The 1950s were home to the New York Avant-Garde, a time that left a legacy of the twentieth century’s greatest masterpieces.

Billowing with paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, films, and archival materials, a full floor of the MoMA was devoted to this single theme. This, in fact, was the first time this was ever done.

But it didn’t end there. The exhibition flowed on to the floors below, featuring all of the diverse mediums, as well as adding to a historical overview of the era and giving a sense of its great depth and complexity.

The highlights of the exhibition and the related publication now are available for your iPad. Even better, the newest MoMA App is free, and loaded with amazing images and details surrounding the exhibition (which is now on tour).

Clear and detailed high-resolution images of selected Abstract Expressionist works are found throughout, while downloaders can learn more about the artists and NYC history with a multimedia map of studios, galleries, bars, and other points of interest.

It also includes in-depth videos on key works of art, a glossary of art terms, specifics surrounding the exhibition and exhibition catalogue, among other things.


Under the Browse heading, users can explore the artists’ works by image. Clicking on one of the high resolution images tells you the artists name, the title of the artwork, the date, and includes an info button to read more. This provides the artists dates and birthplace, and the statistics of the painting. To keep going, you can read more information about the artwork, or click on Audio Guide, and listen to details about the artwork. Here you can bookmark the painting, or share it on Twitter.


Clicking on the map symbol doesn’t give you a map of the museum. It actually gives you an interactive map of where the artists lived, worked and gathered in the 1930s to the 1970s. For example, clicking on 24 University Place brings us to the Cedar Street Tavern, where the Abstract Expressionist artists frequented from the late 1940s to 1963. The site was a legendary location for artists, gallery openings, and long lasting friendships.


A section with videos features over 20 clips, including a message from the curator, details about the artists, painting techniques, art terms in action, and more. Click on palette knife to see how they are used, who used them, and why.

Art Terms

A full-fledged glossary clearing up any confusing you might have, read about terms, locations and art words surrounding the exhibit. Here you can explore the term paint, emulsion, or even The Irascibles, the label given to a group of Abstract Expressionist artists who wrote an open letter to the president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, protesting the museum’s exhibition American Painting Today 1950, which included no trace of Abstract Expressionism. The group believed that the curators of the show promoted only conservative art.

Snag the app here from the App Store.

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Andrew's Biography

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.