In 1967, the angel of ambiguity rescued Al Held from the burly heaviness of his body and the formalist ideology of his thinking.
The inaugural exhibition at the new Whitney Museum is not perfect, but it is pretty damn good.
It didn’t. I lied. I’m sorry. But I did like these things at the Art Dealers Association of America’s (ADAA) art fair.
Years ago, Al Held invited me to his place in Boiceville, New York, to see two large paintings that he had all but completed. They were immense, brightly colored works in which geometric forms floated, weightless.
Rackstraw Downes doesn’t seem like a radical. He is an understated Englishman who paints understated American landscapes. But when you think about how much of modern and contemporary art relies on juxtaposition or exaggeration for effects, Downes’s approach begins to seem downright revolutionary. “My idea is to paint the real nature of the world, which is always a complex mixture of things,” he told a packed auditorium at the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, during a talk last month.
Abstraction is a fickle shapeshifter. Outlines of horses and bulls in caves and geometric markings on ceramic flatware were the earliest embodiment of the craft. Since then, abstraction has travelled through an unbelievable number of incarnations. James McCoy Gallery recently took on the challenge of presenting a hiccup’s worth of abstraction from the 20th Century, anticlimactically titled 70 Years of Abstract Painting: Excerpts. The showing was based on the gallery’s strong holding of abstract art, looking to “initiate an unusual dialogue” between past and present.