The 20th-century artist and academic Josef Albers made many significant contributions to the field of geometric abstraction, though the most enduring element of his pedagogical legacy is his 1963 textbook Interaction of Color.
Josef Albers’ paintings and prints have always left me cold. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been that much of a color guy. I instinctively side with Florentine disegni over Venetian colori (though I routinely melt in front of a Titian or Tintoretto), and I would take an Analytical Cubist Braque or Picasso over a Fauvist Matisse or Derain, a Frank Stella pinstripe over a Frank Stella protractor, any day.
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.