WALTHAM, Mass — The new exhibition at the Rose Museum, Painting Paintings (David Reed) 1975, is old. In fact, it’s a reprisal of a show that first appeared in New York in 1975 at the Susan Caldwell Gallery, now slightly rearranged and accompanied by historical photos. The new show was curated by Katy Siegel and Christopher Wool, and Reed’s collected paintings emanate with a sense of importance. The artist is known for his lively vertical or horizontal brushwork, which he pushed across a wet surface, leaving, with the help of gravity’s pull, the paint to sag and spread out upon his narrow joined canvases. For a conceptually minded painter like Reed, these individual strokes were part of a larger idea. Working during a period when it was proclaimed from every quarter that painting was dead, Reed and a sizable New York cohort of like-minded artists carried on below the fray.
Reed and Siegel have collaborated before: They joined forces, with Reed in an advisory role, to present High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967–1975 at the National Academy Museum in 2007. That show was one of the most notable in New York that year, despite a rather tepid and somewhat pesky review by Roberta Smith in the New York Times, who claimed that the show “passe[d] over the artists who dominated painting” at the time, and that the project felt “a bit hollow at the center, like a time capsule from a time that didn’t quite exist.” Looking back, what she glossed over was the sheer vitality of the work, which was created in an ever-shifting and transient moment in regard to what and how to paint. That Reed worked through that snippy cauldron of critique and continued to redefine what a painting could be — despite the almost vacuum-like absence of critical interest — is in itself a remarkable feat.
Given their past histories, it’s no surprise that Siegel and Reed, along with Christopher Wool, who actually saw the original exhibition, have come full circle to revisit it some 40 years later. Interestingly, what’s still apparent is that these paintings are part of a larger trajectory of experimentation. Looked at individually, the work presents the distinct imprimatur of a simplified palette and a repeated reliance upon a nominally altered pattern of single brush strokes swiped across a wet ground. Reed is fully confident in letting go, allowing the wet surface of the paintings to droop and sag. But it’s the repetitiveness of his technique that is hypnotic. No single painting hovers above the rest; rather they all seem to glide into each other while also breaking apart. Reed used thin, joined canvases that could technically stretch into infinity, and the addition and subtraction of panels propels the work back and forth in accordion-like fashion. That’s not to say that the individual paintings aren’t themselves interesting — they are. Gravity pulls the paint down into odd, sloping-yet-assertive dripping patterns, and dammed-up hummocks of color sit like the edge of a glacier, frozen in place.
But it’s better to think of the current show as an installation of Reed’s work rather than as a simple exhibition of his paintings. Looking at a single work of his is, to a degree, missing the point. The exhibition title here is the key: Painting Paintings connotes a series of actions informed by conceptual ideas, rather than a singular result. And what unfolds is almost like a durational performance. It’s a series of blunt-looking paintings, very much in line with other process-based work of the time, except, somewhat unexpectedly, they were painted, and painted again… As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
Painting Paintings (David Reed) 1975 continues at The Rose Museum @ Brandeis University, Gerald S. and Sandra Fineberg Gallery (415 South St Waltham MA) through December 11.
We are fighting for ourselves and the working standards we deserve, but we are also fighting for the heart and future of the institution.
The 65-year-old man was reportedly angry that he was not granted a meeting with the Pope.
Inspired by the creation story of DeFeo’s monumental artwork “The Rose,” Lyn’s musical piece debuts at the New York City venue this October.
This week: New York’s disappearing alleys, Wolfgang Tillmans’s fading star, Velma Dinkley is gay, and more.
The technology isn’t available for public use, but Meta (formerly Facebook) released a series of eerie sample clips based on prompts like “cat watching TV” and “spaceship landing.”
This free online event celebrates Sánchez, the recipient of the Artists’ Legacy Foundation’s 2022 Artist Award, and his decades-long multimedia practice rooted in activism.
There’s high demand in the country for the nostalgia-soaked Instagram videos of sister duo Zainab and Sakina Sabunwala.
Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion transforms a historic bank in Manhattan into the unlikely setting of an immersive art experience one visitor called “mesmerizing.”
Fall shows at the Chicago art space explore how same-sex desire became the basis for a new identity category and celebrate the cosmic work of an acclaimed Chicago-based artist.
Masterworks of American Landscape Painting at the Center for Figurative Painting makes clear that the term “landscape” has been widely interpreted.
The artist’s work quietly asks: How do we read and write the world we live in?
Warsaw Gallery Weekend and Fringe Warszawa hope to offer long-term solutions for a thriving art scene in Warsaw when skyrocketing inflation and a lack of affordable studio spaces have become the new norm.