Last year, âYellow Band,â the Sheldon Museum of Artâs Mark Rothko painting, traveled to England and Spain.
There it was included alongside Willem de Kooningâs âWoman II,â Jackson Pollockâs âBlue Poles,â Barnett Newmanâs âAdamâ and âEveâ and dozens of other paintings and sculptures in âAbstract Expressionism,â a survey exhibition of the post-war art movement at Londonâs Royal Academy of Arts and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao.
Returning from Spain, where he had gone in January to monitor the transfer of the Rothko to the Guggenheim and its hanging there, Sheldon director and chief curator Wally Mason was listening to jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker on his flight, thinking about âAbstract Expressionism,â âYellow Bandâ and the Sheldonâs collection of work from the movement.
âI came back from Bilbao and said to myself âWeâve got a critical mass of New York school work. We ought to get them out,â” Mason said. âThey may have been shown collectively in the past, but not properly.â
The result of Masonâs decision to show Sheldonâs abstract expressionist holdings is âNowâs The Time,â an exhibition of 39 objects, all but one from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln art museumâs collection.
A few of those objects, like the Rothko, are internationally recognized masterpieces.
Some, like Jackson Pollockâs âUntitled (Composition with Ritual Scene)â are important early works by major figures in the movement.
Some come from artists who are nearly forgotten or, as in the case of Theodoros Stamos, have, in Masonâs words, been âthrown to the ashcan of history for no good reason.â
Together, they form a strong introduction to the what scholar David Anfam, in his…