Paintings from America's most innovative art movement now on display at the Tampa Museum of Art

The Tampa Museum of Art's 'Abstract Expressionism: A Social Revolution' borrows 25 impressively large works of abstract art from Preston Haskell's collection.

click to enlarge Women viewing Joan Mitchell's "Aires pour Marion" at the Tampa Museum of Art (a photographic tribute to Norman Rockwell - see Rockwell's "The Connoisseur"). - Jennifer Ring
Jennifer Ring
Women viewing Joan Mitchell's "Aires pour Marion" at the Tampa Museum of Art (a photographic tribute to Norman Rockwell - see Rockwell's "The Connoisseur").

If you aren’t familiar with abstract expressionism, then you really need to see Abstract Expressionism: A Social Revolution at the Tampa Museum of Art. And if you are familiar with abstract expressionism, then this show is probably already on your list.

For the uninitiated, the abstract expressionism movement is known for its mural-size paintings and lack of obvious subject matter. These two elements combined make for a unique viewing experience.

You step into the artists’ world when you stand before these large canvases, but there is nothing to grab on to. Without a clear subject matter, you wander through bold brush strokes, aggressive knife scrapes, and stained canvas searching for meaning. But all you have to draw on are your own experiences. In the end, these paintings force you to look inside yourself.

Abstract Expressionism: A Social Revolution presents 25 abstract expressionist works from Preston Haskell’s collection. The Jacksonville collector has one of the most impressive abstract art collections in the United States. We’re talking over 300 works of art between his architecture & engineering firm and his private home. Haskell doesn’t think about the art after a building goes up. He designs the building around the art.

For Haskell, art is essential to fostering creativity. And creativity is essential for the success of an architecture and engineering firm like Haskell Company. It’s a synergistic relationship we all get to benefit from now that Haskell has loaned these 25 works of art to TMA.

The works chosen include paintings by Josef Albers, Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Franz Kline, and Hans Hofmann. They are some of the finest works of abstract expressionism you will ever lay eyes on. And almost all the heavy hitters are represented.

The one that’s missing: Jackson Pollock. But who the hell can afford a Pollock these days? The last time Haskell was offered a Pollock, it cost $15 million and it was small, he tells me.

Altogether, Haskell’s collection of abstract expressionist works represent an exciting chapter in art history. Experience it at the Tampa Museum of Art this summer.

Want to know more about abstract expressionism before your visit? Check out our 3-part series: The Stories of Abstract Expressionism.

Tampa Museum of Art, 120 W. Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa | Through Aug. 11: Fri.-Wed., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. | $15; $7.50, seniors, military, Florida educators; $5, students; and free for members, college students and kids 6 and under | 813-274-8130 | tampamuseum.org

About The Author

Jennifer Ring

Jennifer studied biology for six years, planning for a career in science, but the Universe had other plans. In 2011, Jen was diagnosed with a rare lung disease that sidelined her from scientific research. Her immune system, plagued by Scleroderma, had attacked her lungs to the point of no return. She now required...
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