Eastern Art Beyond Agitprop

Featuring little-known paintings from Eastern Europe

The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in Springs will open a new show today featuring artists who managed to transcend totalitarianism to pursue pure abstraction in defiance of Communist Party doctrine during the Cold War.

“Abstract Expressionism Behind the Iron Curtain,” organized by Helen A. Harrison, the director of the center, will feature little-known paintings from Eastern Europe. Ms. Harrison worked with Joana Grevers, a Munich scholar and specialist in Romanian art, to show that the influence of the New York School of abstraction extended far beyond what even international art historians have assumed.

Artists from Slovenia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Croatia, and Romania, who became aware of the development of Abstract Expressionism through travel, contact with artist friends, and international exhibitions, will be featured. Inspired by the breakthroughs taking place in midcentury Modernism, they risked punishment for pursuing a personal vision outside of the sanctioned norms.

The works will illustrate how they adapted the fundamentals of the period: spontaneous gesture, subjective imagery, and emotional content. The paintings will come from institutions and private collections in the same countries where they were created.

“Behind the Iron Curtain” will remain on view through Oct. 28.