From Brad Holland’s helpful glossary of art terms
After the Second World War the United States emerged as the world’s superpower. American companies like Cities Service and Esso, which had once been regional businesses, became international corporations. They adopted abstract names like Citgo and Exxon to give themselves world-class status. Since multinational giants couldn’t have little pictures of red barns or weeping clowns in the lobbies of their Bauhaus buildings, Abstract Expressionism emerged as the world’s most prized form of interior decoration.