Art: The San Francisco Rebellion

An exhibit shows how young artists rejected a whole ethos

Abstract expressionism, that image-destroying, paint-flinging whirlwind, held sway as America's -- and modernism's -- dominant style during the 1940s and '50s. Though its base was New York City, the abstract-expressionist ethos pervaded every artistic center in the U.S., including the San Francisco Bay area. There, during the late '40s, a flourishing local school had been influenced by the forceful presence of artist-teachers Clyfford Still and Mark Rothko.

So it was a bold move that David Park, a young instructor at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, made one day in 1949. He gathered up all his abstract-expressionist canvases...

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