Americans in Paris Exhibition Review:
“When Paris Was the Center of New York’s Art World”
Hyperallergic, April 10, 2024

A bronze and brass sculpture of expressive, intertwined abstract forms referencing Billie Holiday's music. A round photo of Billie Holiday is located at the top left of the sculpture.

Americans in Paris at the Grey Art Museum highlights the vibrancy and openness of the Paris scene for Americans.

By John Yau

What does it mean to be an American artist or poet? In recent years, I have seen two group shows focusing on artist communities that addressed this question, both at the Grey Art Gallery (now the Grey Art Museum). The first was Semina Culture: Wallace Berman & His Circle in 2007, curated by Michael Duncan and Kristine McKenna. Centering on the nine issues of Berman’s avant-garde magazine, Semina (1957–64), the curators brought together work by a diverse group of mostly West Coast artists and poets who had published in it (John Altoon, Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, and others). Duncan and McKenna reminded viewers that this loosely affiliated, anti-establishment group represented a viable alternative to the dominance of the New York art world and the rise of Pop art and Minimalism, and what many saw as the commercialization of art.

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Image: Shinkichi Tajiri, Lament for Lady (for Billie Holiday), 1953. Brass, bronze, and photograph, 24 x 33 x 13 3/8 in. Collection of Giotta Tajiri and Ryu Tajiri, Baarlo, Netherlands. © 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / c/o Pictoright Amsterdam