Michael (Corinne) West (1908-1991) was a contributor to the development of Abstract Expressionism from its origins in the early 1940s through the 1960s. Until her inclusion in the recent exhibition Women of Abstract Expressionism, the significance of her career had been largely overlooked. Our proposed booth “Michael Corinne West and the New York School” will position West within the culturally dynamic New York art scene during this pivotal period. Significant connections and influences include Hans Hofmann, with whom she studied at the Art Students League, Franz Kline, with whom West exhibited in the 1953 Stable Gallery Annual, her friendship with Richard Pousette-Dart, and her close relationship with Arshile Gorky, whom she first met in 1932-33. Gorky and West formed a creative and romantic partnership that had a powerful impact on her. Their artistic discussions included whether she should exhibit under the name Corinne and Gorky supported her decision to adopt the name Michael West. Name changing was common among the New York avant-garde, including Gorky himself, and women artists assumed male pseudonyms to gain acceptance within the male-dominated art scene. This presentation will pair paintings by West, Kline, Hofmann, and Pousette-Dart with rare archival materials including West’s poetry, photographs of West, a collection of correspondence between West and Gorky, and a special group of drawings Gorky gave to her. The booth will elucidate West’s evolution as a painter and her place within the network of the New York School.
For more information on the gallery's booth presentation please contact us at 212.628.4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.