ArtExhibitionsPoetry in Motion
Special Installation

Poetry in Motion

Saturday, December 16, 2017 - Sunday, June 10, 2018 Located in The Hub: The James K. Ballinger Interactive Gallery

Abstract art may look “easy,” but the artists who pursued it gained strong technical skills from their academic training, which they rejected in favor of art that was not “of” anything. So what is abstraction? In the 1900s, experimental artists in Europe reacted against what they thought was an outdated visual language that had changed little since the Renaissance. Instead of directly representing reality, these artists used line, color, shape, and form as expressive elements that evoked personal, often poetic reflections of the world around them.


Some artists abstracted from objects, people, and places that inspired them. Others composed pictures of formal elements only. With no recognizable connection to the real world, these works are known as non-objective art. Think of this type of art as the equivalent to music. Although early abstract artists were met with criticism, they spearheaded a revolution in the visual arts that developed and influenced artists throughout Europe, America, and Latin America.

This exhibition presents a range of abstract possibilities, from the biomorphic (abstraction reminiscent of living forms) to the geometric, demonstrating the many variants of abstract printmaking throughout the Americas in the 20th century. Some works include figurative elements, but they are portrayed in imaginative rather than literal ways. Strong, energetic line and gesture are key elements that unite these artworks across geographies and over time.

Poetry in Motion is organized by Phoenix Art Museum. It is made possible through the generosity of donors to the Museum’s annual fund.


Clinton Adams, Second Hand Store II (Tienda de segunda mano II) (detail), 1953. Lithograph. Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, Purchased with funds provided by R. and G. Miller.


On view for a limited time, exhibitions present art from across the centuries and the globe, from iconic fashion to Old Master paintings, contemporary photography to historical objects of Asia.


Discover the biographies, histories, and works of featured artists in the Phoenix Art Museum Collection.


Featuring more than 20,000 objects in nine collecting areas, the collection spans many cultures and periods, bringing the world to our city, and our city to the world.


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