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Epic Abstraction (Met)


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At least it isn’t “Epic Abstraction!” like “Armenia!” although it might as well have the extra oomph. As the curators honestly admit, it’s “big” abstraction; there is no subtle argument about the epic versus the lyrical here.

 

And yet it isn’t even that. The one David Smith sculpture, the Barnett Newman paintings, were conceived, and remain, related to the stature of the viewer, and there are many medium-sized canvases.

 

Yes, there are a couple of hulking Pollocks, and a huge free-standing... well, hut, I suppose, by Louise Nevelson, which is the least abstract thing I’ve seen all week.

 

The Met does have Rothkos and Stills, and these were being used, quite disgracefully, as backdrops for selfies and group photos by tourists. That practice should simply be prohibited. It’s contemptible.

 

If the works are mostly AbEx, the curators cheerfully fill the gaps with abstract or not really works from artists who have nothing to do with that tradition. Twombly is thrown in because it’s a big canvas, but how is his work “abstract”? It’s something else.

 

Anyway, a good reason to go is a magnificent DeKooning, “Easter Monday,” which fits the show’s concept, and is also a wonderful painting.

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Haven't been yet, but it certainly got slammed by Smith in the Times.

 

 This show creates the impression that despite the Met’s expertise in every other area of art, it frequently seems clueless and guided more by fashion than imagination when it comes to its collecting of postwar art.

 

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Haven't been yet, but it certainly got slammed by Smith in the Times.

 

 This show creates the impression that despite the Met’s expertise in every other area of art, it frequently seems clueless and guided more by fashion than imagination when it comes to its collecting of postwar art.

 

 

which war???

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