American Abstract Artists Journal
AAA Journal No.5: On Edge, 2006
AAA began publishing the American Abstract Artists Journal in 1996. The American Abstract Artists Journals contain critical writings and reproductions of artwork contributed by artists, critics, historians, members and non-members alike. The AAA Journal acts as a forum for the presentation of ideas and topics, and to further the discussion and research into the contemporary role of abstraction.
American Abstract Artists has produced three Print Portfolios since it was founded. The first was published in 1937 for the first AAA exhibition to supplement the exhibition with artwork rather than to document it with a catalog,
Editions were published for the 50th, 60th, and 75th Anniversaries of the American Abstract Artists in 1987, 1997, and in 2012. AAA Print Portfolios are held in major collections worldwide and have been exhibited throughout the United States.
American Abstract Artists has been involved in publishing throughout its history. In addition to the AAA Journal and Print Portfolios, American Abstract Artists has published and printed Yearbooks, pamphlets, brochures and a broadside. Many American Abstract Artists exhibitions have been documented with catalogs.
AAA Broadside 1940
1937 AAA issued a General Prospectus outlining the purpose of the organization and its structure. It emphasized promoting the growth and acceptance of abstract art in the United States.
In the 1930s and early 1940s abstraction and the American Abstract Artists were met with hostility by critics and the public. The AAA 1938 Yearbook, a broadside and pamphlet were used to counter such attacks.
In 1940, AAA printed How Modern is the Museum of Modern Art?, a one-page broadside with eight different typefaces designed by Ad Reinhardt. It was distrubuted on April 15, 1940, at the picketing of the Museum of Modern Art for its exhibition policies.
The same year AAA printed The Art Critics — ! How Do They Serve the Public? What Do They Say? How Much Do They Know? Let’s Look at the Record! The pamphlet contained excerpts from New York newspapers and art publications showing misstatements and contradictions of critics about abstract art. The excerpts were selected by Ad Reinhardt, Balcomb Greene and several other members of AAA.  The pamphlet was also designed by Ad Reinhardt. It was distrubuted at American Abstract Artists Fourth Annual Exhibition in 1940.  Both the broadside and pamphlet are in the collection of the Archives of American Art.
AAA Yearbooks 1939 (right) and 1946 (left)
AAA published the first two of its three Yearbooks.
The 1938 Yearbook contains eleven essays which included those by Charles Shaw, Albert Swiden, Alice Mason, Ibram Lassaw and George L.K Morris. This Yearbook addressed criticisms leveled at AAA and abstract art by the critics and the public. It also contained essays which focused on the principles and practice of abstract art, giving abstraction theoretical support.
The 1939 Yearbook contained a prospectus and history of AAA written by George L.K. Morris. It focused on the individual members. The Yearbok had a brief biography and a reproduction of work by each artist participating in the 1939 annual exhibition.
The 1946 Yearbook contained seven essays and numerous illustrations. The essays were by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Karl Knaths, George L.K. Morris, Fernand Leger, A. E. Gallatin, Piet Mondrian (his last essay), and Josef Albers. It was printed by Ram Press and distributed by Wittenborn and Company, New York, 1946.
The three Yearbooks were reprinted in hardcover as American Abstract Artists: Three Yearbooks (1938, 1939, 1946), Arno Series of Contemporary Art, no. 23, New York: Arno Press, 1969.
The World of Abstract Art
AAA conceived and edited The World of Abstract Art, New York: George Wittenborn Inc., 1957. It was also published in London the same year. The previous Yearbooks contained essays written by members. For this anthology of critical essays, member and non-member artists from different parts of the world wrote about abstract art in their respective countries. This anthology also contains reproductions of artwork and minature color plates of the 20th Annual AAA Exhibition at the Riverside Museum throughout the edition.
American Abstract Artists 1936 – 1966
American Abstract Artists 1936 – 1966 was published to mark the 30th anniversary of the group. It includes an introduction by Leo Rabkin and an essay on the history of AAA by Ruth Gurin. The selection of work reproduced in this publication was left up to each individual artist. No medium, size or period was specified. It was published to coincide with the 30th Annual Exhibition, Yesterday and Today 1936 – 1966, at the Riverside Museum in New York City. American Abstract Artists 1936 – 1966 was printed by Ram Press, New York, NY, 1966 and was distributed by Wittenborn and Company, New York, NY.
1. Larsen, Susan C. “The American Abstract Artists: A Documentary History 1936 – 1941”, Archives of American Art Journal, Vol. 14, No. 1 (1974), p. 3.
2. Kraskin, Sandra. Pioneers of Abstract Art: American Abstract Artists, 1936 – 1996, exhibition catalog. Sidney Mishkin Gallery, Baruch College, 1996, p. 16–17.