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schools The New School for Social Research

The New School for Social Research


The New School for Social Research is not, nor ever was, an art school in the traditional sense. Its importance during the post-World War I years up to and beyond the Abstract Expressionist period was as a haven for artists and intellectuals of all disciplines to gather and discuss controversial matters without fear of political censure. Specializing mostly in adult and continuing education programs, The New School for Social Research has frequently hosted lectures and forums, many of which were attended by important Abstract Expressionist artists and theorists. Much like schools such as the Art Students League and Black Mountain College where abstractionists and other artists learned to master their craft, The New School was where many of them acquired the ideas and philosophies (such as Freudian psychoanalysis, Existentialism, and Marxist aesthetics) that informed their art.

Founding Principles

The New School was founded as an institution where intellectuals and artists could openly exchange ideas and theories, free from censure or political pressure. The school's founders believed that in a world engulfed by political turmoil and modern warfare, the free exchange of different ideas regarding politics, aesthetics and other intellectual pursuits was key to ensuring a just and sane world.
The founders based the structure of The New School on the German Volkshochschulen, a school model that stressed the importance of adult education and a diversity of intellectual and interdisciplinary pursuits.
Since its inception, The New School has maintained close ties with European ideas and philosophies of Rousseau, Kant, Goethe, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, among many others.


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