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Frank O'Hara NowNew Essays on the New York Poet$
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Robert Hampson and Will Montgomery

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781846312311

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846316067

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Gesture in 1960: Toward Literal Situations

Gesture in 1960: Toward Literal Situations

(p.29) Gesture in 1960: Toward Literal Situations
Frank O'Hara Now
Lytle Shaw
Liverpool University Press

This chapter addresses the crisis in ‘gestural’ painting of the late 1950s in the context of O'Hara's collaboration with Norman Bluhm: the Poem-Paintings. It places these works provocatively alongside the gestural aesthetics of Situationism, arguing that the ‘realization of gesture in urban situations’ practised by the Situationists in Europe was analogous to O'Hara's practice of ‘productively debasing poetry’. It also reconsiders O'Hara's relationship to Abstract Expressionism, particularly the influential conservative version advanced by professional art critics.

Keywords:   Frank O'Hara, gestural painting, Norman Bluhm, Poem-Paintings, Situationism, poetry, Abstract Expressionism

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