Thursday, January 7, 2010


Abstract Painting Ad Reinhardt (American, 1913-1967)

In the last ten years of his life, Reinhardt focused solely on square, black paintings. In his unpublished writings, the artist indicates that these pictures relate aesthetically to monotonal Chinese paintings rather than Western painting's concepts of light and dark. These canvases are intentionally enigmatic, painted to resist interpretation and to represent the beginning of a new way of seeing and thinking about art. In 1961, Reinhardt described them thus:

A square (neutral, shapeless) canvas, five feet wide, five feet high, as high as a man, as wide as a man's outstretched arms (not large, not small, sizeless), trisected (no composition), one horizontal form negating one vertical form (formless, no top, no bottom, directionless), three (more or less) dark (lightless) no–contrasting (colorless) colors, brushwork brushed out to remove brushwork, a matte, flat, free–hand, painted surface (glossless, textureless, non–linear, no hard-edge, no soft edge) which does not reflect its surroundings—a pure, abstract, non–objective, timeless, spaceless, changeless, relationless, disinterested painting—an object that is self–conscious (no unconsciousness) ideal, transcendent, aware of no thing but art (absolutely no anti–art). (moma)

Filzanzug (Felt Suit) Joseph Beuys (German, 1921-1986)

(1970). Multiple of felt, Overall: 69 7/8 x 28 1/8 x 5 5/16" (177.5 x 71.5 x 13.5 cm) (irreg.) a: 31 1/2 (from top of collar to bottom of right sleeve) x 27" variable (elbow to elbow); b: 44 3/4 (along right left outer seam) x 23 1/2" variable (from bottom of left pant leg to bottom of right pant leg)

Reducing painting to the bare minimum (white paint, a square, and metal fastenings) Ryman pursues infinite subtle variations. Here he has applied oil pastel to the textured and slightly translucent surface of sandblasted plexiglass. The visible fastenings together with the ruled pencil lines expose the typically hidden apparatus that holds paintings to the wall. In making this work and the others on view here, Ryman was much more interested in what he calls the “how” of painting—the physical object itself—than the “what”—the image, the story, the symbolism” that convey meaning outside the work. (m0ma)

This is the first of thirty–nine "monuments" to the Russian artist Vladimir Tatlin (1885–1953) that Flavin created between 1964 and 1990. The stepped arrangement of white fluorescent tubes evokes Tatlin’s colossal Monument to the Third International (1920), a soaring tower intended to support Lenin’s Plan for Monumental Propaganda. Tatlin's ambitious but unrealized project to unite art and technology was of particular interest to Flavin. Although the utopian goals of the Russian Constructivists were never fulfilled, their art and philosophy were of great interest to artists of the 1960s. (m0ma)

Yes those are bricks and that's a giant rubberband on the wall at the back.

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