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Posted inArt

Stanley Whitney Reclaims His History

Happily, for those who are curious about what came next in Whitney’s evolution, they need only to go uptown and see the artist’s first museum exhibition in New York, Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange at the Studio Museum in Harlem, which contains a selection of twenty-nine paintings and works on paper the artist made between 2008 and 2015.

Posted inArt

Stanley Whitney in the 1990s

Years ago I saw a drawing in a modest exhibition at the Centre Pompidou that Picasso made on a sheet of stiff cardboard while he was on a picnic with his friends, Michel and Louise Leiris. Not one to waste space, Picasso divided the surface into a grid, and in each small square he made a quick contour drawing of his longtime friends.

Posted inArt

Paintings on Paper, Abstract and Effervescent

For his solo show at Pace Gallery in 2010, Thomas Nozkowski made the decision to hang his work in pairs, with an oil painting on canvas board or panel alongside a related work on paper, setting up a contrast between density and light, slow and fast, rumination and riff. This comparison came to mind repeatedly while wandering through Paintings on Paper, the effervescent summer exhibition at David Zwirner.

Posted inArt

Who’s Afraid of Hot Pink, Canary Yellow, and Midnight Blue?

Color is frightening. From the color of one’s skin to the color of a painting, it can stir up unlikely obsessions: all kinds of irrational responses tend to explode without provocation. Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko have two things in common: wide expanses of color and the proclivity for people to deface their paintings more than any other Abstract Expressionist work.

Posted inArt

Open Secret

Stanley Whitney is in his mid-sixties. By his own account, he struggled in the studio from the early 70s to the late 80s, “just trying to make work.” The issue was to make something that was his, rather than to make something that was the right or approved of thing to do. Although it is seldom discussed publicly, this is the dilemma facing every African-American artist. You must be a spokesperson who produces testimony that can be regarded as representative of Black culture — the “I” speaking for the “we.” (Even after the death of the author, it seems that there is at least one “we” that must be spoken for in this postmodern world.)