From its inception American Abstract Artists has been dedicated to promoting the exposure and understanding of abstract and non-objective art. Its General Prospectus, issued in 1937, stated that the most direct approach to achieving this objective was through the exhibition of artwork. To date American Abstract Artists has produced over 120 exhibitions of its members and guest exhibitors. AAA exhibitions have been held at galleries and museums thoughout the United States and abroad.
Anniversary and Annual Exhibitions
American Abstract Artists has marked its Anniversaries with exhibitions. In its early years AAA regularly held Annual Exhibits of the membership at the Riverside Museum in New York City.
Exhibitions for the 75th Anniversary of American Abstract Artists, in 2011, were held at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Center for the Arts Gallery, Towson University, Towson, MD; Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS (curated from their permanent collection) Galerie oqbo and Deutscher Künstlerbund, Berlin, Germany; OK Harris Works of Art in New York City; Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, Wilmington, DE; The Icebox and Grey Area, Crane Arts, Philadelphia, PA; and at ParisCONCRET, Paris, France in 2012.
The 70th Anniversary exhibition took place at St Peter’s College Art Gallery, Jersey City, NJ.
In 1996, 60th Anniversary Exhibitions were held at Sidney Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College, New York, NY and the James Howe Fine Arts Gallery, Kean College, Union, NJ.
American Abstract Artists celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 1986, with exhibitions at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY and at Hillwood Art Gallery, Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus, NY. There were also four exhibitions of the 50th Anniversary Print Portfolio in 1987 at City Gallery, Department of Cultural Affairs, New York City; James Howe Fine Arts Gallery, Kean College, Union, NJ; Condeso/Lawler Gallery, New York City; and New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ. The New Jersey State Museum exhibit also included work by past and present AAA Members from the Museum Collection.
From 1939 – 1968 AAA Annual Exhibitions regularly took place at the now defunct Riverside Museum. The Riverside Museum was located at 103rd Street and Riverside Drive in New York City.
American Abstract Artists has had a tradition of inviting non-member artists to participate in exhibitions. In 2011 Guest exhibitors were invited to participate in ABSTRACTION∞ (Abstraction to the Power of Infinity), The Icebox and Grey Area, Crane Arts, Philadelphia, PA; American Abstract Artists International / 75th Anniversary at Galerie oqbo and Deutscher Künstlerbund, Berlin, Germany; in the American Abstract Artists International: L’astrazione vista da un cosmopolita at the Aragonese Castle of Otranto, Otranto, Italy, 2010.
Guest artists were invited to show in the AAA membership exhibition Optical Simulations in 2005 at Yellow Bird Gallery, Newburgh, NY. Yellow Bird Gallery, now closed, was an important venue for exhibiting large-scale works outside of New York City. The former furniture factory was converted into a three floor gallery with 10,000 square feet of exhibition space, a high-ceilinged main gallery, and a glass wall facing the Hudson River.
In 1956, the Painters Eleven of Canada were included in the 20th Annual Exhibition. The Painters Eleven were an abstract artists group formed in 1953 in Oshawa, Ontario. They held their first exhibition in Toronto at Roberts Gallery in February 1954, with 33 works shown. This was the second group of Canadian artists to exhibit in New York City.
In 1954 for the 18th Annual Exhibit, AAA invited abstract artists from Japan to exhibit in the annual. This was the first broad selection of non-figurative work from Asia to be shown in the United States. AAA also presented a symposium, Abstract Art Around the World Today at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City on March 16, 1954. Panel members included Josef Albers, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Saburo Hasegawa, Franz Kline, George L. K. Morris, and Aline Saarinen with Henry Botkin as moderator. A tape recording and transcript are in the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.
During the 1950s AAA invited artists from other countries exhibit in their Annuals. In 1951 for the 15th Anniversary Exhibition, Danish and British Artists were invited to participate. This was the first large display of abstract work from these respective countries to be shown in the United States.
In 1949 over half of the artists included in the 13th Annual Exhibition at the Riverside Museum were guest exhibitors.