The artists in Slab City Rendezvous influenced, nurtured, collaborated with, and painted one another, merging into one big happy family.
We know how a handful of painters — Pollock, de Kooning, and company — wrested modernism from the Old World to create a new kind of art, one unmediated, enveloping, and completely frank in its making. Less well-known is the story of how another group of painters, a half-generation later, pursued with equal ardor but far less acclaim a different goal: figuration inflected by abstraction.
I was at Catching the Light, Lois Dodd’s retrospective at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the August day I got the news that critic Robert Hughes had passed away at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, New York. For many, myself included, Hughes’s prose did for art criticism what Shakespeare did for the stage. Hughes was sound and fury, speaking in a booming voice while just barely opening his mouth.