New American Paintings

Susan Cross

Curator, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA

Despite the stylistic diversity in the works selected for this issue of , there is a pervasive sense of detachment, unease, and disorientation. Isolated and anxious figures appear in desolate or inexplicable landscapes. Emotional and psychological intensity is conveyed by the urgent handling of paint and the contrast of vibrant off-key or acid colors and dark, muddy hues. One might conclude that the agitated mood of these “new American paintings” is a response to the “new America” in which we find ourselves. Last year’s election made many of us feel like strangers in a

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Editor’s Note
As I am writing these words, we are still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and parts of the United States are, unfortunately, heading in the wrong direction. Over the past several months, our lives have changed in ways that we could scarcely h