Opinion

Searching For “The Greatest Living American Abstract Painter”

Tyler announces the competiton on MAN (click to enlarge)

Modern Art Notes’ Tyler Green has a knack for wonderful ideas that create entertaining conversations about art, lest we forget his tweet that lead to the Super Bowl bet between the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Like the footbal bet, his latest idea also combines his two loves, sports and art, to create what he is calling, “The Greatest Living American Abstract Painter Tourney-ish.”

Launched last Wednesday, the competition or Tourney-ish invites people to vote for their favorites in online voting match ups. The contest has already created a number of upsets (for me, at least), including the defeat of Sarah Morris against Julie Mehretu (31% – 69%), which only goes to prove that there is no justice in the world. Other notable clashes include Cy Twombly’s defeat of Jasper Johns (54% – 46%), and Helen Frankenthaler pounding Mark Grotjahn (71% – 29%) — ouch!

Round two begins this week and the chatter online is eager to see who comes out on top.

Green has been contacted by artists both on the list and those who have been left out and fortunately, he says, most of the feedback has been “positive, amused, entertained.”

He also has some other observations about voters, “I’m also noticing how clearly the market has influenced some of our seeds and results (Mary Heilmann is lovely, but is she *that much* lovelier than Stanley Whitney?) and how it hasn’t. (I still can’t figure out how Helen Frankenthaler advanced. That’s the one that has generated the most, “Huh?”)”

The matches I’ll be watching this week are Mary Heilmann against Christopher Wool (Go, Wool!), Phillip Taafee versus Helen Frankenthaler (I’m honestly not sure who I’m supporting in this one), and Amy Sillman opposite Tom Nozkowski (I’m a big Sillman fan).

Stay tuned on Modern Art Notes for round two results and visit MAN to view the updated Tourney-ish brackets.

Full disclosure: I was asked to help to seed the event and boy was that fun.

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