Molly Warnock


    LUC TUYMANS’S BLOODSTAINS, 1993, is one of the Belgian artist’s more allover compositions. Purplish-red discs rimmed with vermilion float within a rectangular format, accompanied by a smattering of smaller black dots. Erratically spaced, these circular forms drift indifferently toward all four edges and are in places cropped by them. Look a bit longer, and the picture splits, roughly, along an imaginary line running diagonally from the lower left corner to the upper right. To one side of that demarcation, the spots swell with life—white highlights imply glossy membranes, and a few well-placed


    Curated by Anna Katz with Rebecca Lowery

    Pattern and Decoration is often cast as a hedonistic countercurrent to Minimalism and Conceptualism, one that eschewed cool industrial surfaces and cerebral text-based strategies for a staggering panoply of craft processes, globally sourced motifs, and vibrant colors. Deliberately heterogeneous since its inception, the movement has remained largely marginal to narratives of postwar art. Its adept manipulation of received—and historically gendered—hierarchies nonetheless looks newly fresh in the current craftivist moment. Featuring nearly one hundred objects


    AT FIRST, it looks like an enormous beetle, this mysterious form mostly submerged in water. Two tubular ears, antennae-like, swivel in opposite directions, while the stump of an amputated horn rises above the preternaturally still pool. A rhinoceros. Stripped of narrative context and confined, like the picture as a whole, to the narrowest of chromatic ranges, the unblinking beast resides in a perpetual present, monumental and unyielding. The brushstrokes are opaque yet utterly devoid of painterly bravado: Drab brown and gray daubs denote a mottled hide; creamy strokes suggest ribs beneath the


    Curated by Wallace Whitney

    Supports/Surfaces has generally appeared a grand adventure in creative misreading: Within a France still largely hostile to postwar American abstraction, a handful of artists in Paris and Nice eagerly appropriated seemingly incompatible practices from abroad, freely mixing Color Field tendencies and post-Minimalist provocations. Long neglected on this side of the Atlantic, their determined “deconstruction” of painting has met recently with a slow but steady increase in interest, as artists and critics look beyond the battle lines established in the 1960s. Bringing

  • Daniel Dezeuze

    One can’t help but smile at Daniel Dezeuze’s “Objets de cueillette”(Gathering Objects), 1992–95. Delicate, gently bowed branches or stalks of bamboo adorned with brightly colored bulbs and funnels and bits of mesh, and displayed leaning against the gallery walls, these improvised forms with found objects suggest fantastical fishing poles or butterfly nets. Clustered at the midpoint of this brilliantly selected and beautifully installed retrospective—the artist’s first comprehensive showing since a 2009 survey at the Musée Fabre in Montpellier, France—they offered a witty send-up of


    Consigned in the 1960s to that most damning of dustbins—the seemingly exhausted history of “European painting”—the expansive, endlessly experimental oeuvre of François Morellet (who died last year at the age of ninety) has received relatively little attention in the US. This focused presentation, the French artist’s first full-career survey on American shores, could prove a game changer. Bringing together nearly fifty works spanning seven decades, the show places a particular emphasis on Morellet’s abstract geometric paintings of the ’


    PIETER SCHOOLWERTH has always played around with words, and the title of his current project is no exception. As the artist readily acknowledges, “Model as Painting,” 2016–, immediately conjures Painting as Model, Yve-Alain Bois’s classic 1990 collection of essays on modern and primarily abstract exemplars of the medium. Yet true to the painter’s subcultural allegiances (he was for many years the animating spirit behind New York’s Wierd Records and the label’s legendary weekly party), it turns that rubric on its head. This reversal, Schoolwerth notes, is keyed to the rapid proliferation of “

  • Molly Warnock

    Yve-Alain Bois, Ellsworth Kelly: Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings, Reliefs, and Sculpture, Volume One, 1940–1953. Paris: Cahiers d’Art, 2015. 383 pages.

    LIKE MOST READERS, presumably, I come to this impressive tome—Yve-Alain Bois’s first installment in what promises to be a six-volume set—already in the author’s debt. For nearly a quarter century, beginning with his 1992 essay “Ellsworth Kelly in France: Anti-Composition in Its Many Guises,” the esteemed art historian has set the standard for scholarship on Kelly’s expansive oeuvre. Focusing in particular on the artist’s decisive early

  • Niele Toroni

    CHUTES, 2000, a little-known work by legendary Swiss artist Niele Toroni, consists of four pennant-like fragments of blue, red, pink, and black paper marked according to the method he adopted in 1966: by pressing the bristles of a no. 50 brush—first one side, then the other—to a given support to produce squarish daubs of color (in this case, orange) at regular thirty-centimeter intervals. In the original French, the title suggests the shapes are the material scraps or cast-off bits of something else, but in the hands of a painter famously prone to puns, it also begs for other, less

  • Giorgio Griffa

    IT HAS BEEN more than fifty years since Donald Judd famously declared “European art” over and done with. The American artist’s pronouncement, voiced in an oft-cited 1964 conversation with Bruce Glaser and Frank Stella and grounded in his perception that the work of the Continent’s painters was woefully mired in the past, marks a particular tipping point in transatlantic rivalries; until recently, a similar bias tended to color most accounts of art since Minimalism. Artists abroad, it was often suggested, simply missed the developments of the 1960s—not least by continuing to paint. Yet the

  • Simon Hantaï

    This posthumous solo show, Simon Hantaï’s first at Mnuchin Gallery, offered a clear indication of the Hungarian-born French painter’s growing status in New York. Cocurated by Alfred Pacquement—the former Musée National d’Art Moderne director who previously helped organize the artist’s 2013 retrospective at the Centre Pompidou—and uniting fourteen large-format paintings, the exhibition tracked Hantaï’s production in the crucial years 1960–71, when he developed his signature practice of pliage: painting variously crumpled or knotted canvases and then subsequently unfolding and stretching

  • “What We Call Love: From Surrealism To Now”

    Wittgenstein famously noted that love is not a sensation but a disposition; it is “put to the test” in ways that the feeling of pain, for instance, is not. This sweeping survey proposes to further probe the shifting and often elusive grammar of love, as figured in nearly two hundred artworks (dating from the 1920s to the present, and including several new commissions) in various media. The sixty-odd featured creators range from canonical Surrealists and fellow travelers (Marcel Duchamp, Alberto Giacometti, Méret Oppenheim) to a diverse group of more

  • Molly Warnock

    WRITING IN 1966, Ann Wilson noted the ways in which Agnes Martin’s paintings “seem to grow out of the fabric” of the underlying support. The critic meant to stress the extent to which artistic process appears effaced, aesthetic subjectivity suppressed, in Martin’s impersonal-looking works. I recently found myself reconsidering these claims, standing before two roughly contemporaneous paintings currently on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. Both pictures draw impetus from the distinctly taupe-colored canvas that recurs throughout the artist’s defining New

  • James Bishop

    This thoughtfully selected, beautifully installed show of James Bishop’s work—his first solo exhibition in New York since 1987—opened with four small paintings, all from 2012, of the sort to which the eighty-seven-year-old artist has devoted himself exclusively since 1986: compositions in oil and crayon on modest paper supports, in this case, surfaces in the vicinity of five by four and a half inches. Three rework the same basic form, a post-and-lintel structure reduced to pale, gleaming lines within a deep-blue field. As is true within many of the bodies of work produced by the artist,


    AT FIRST GLANCE, they seem self-evident: The best-known works of the French painter Michel Parmentier appear so clear, so direct, so whole, as to be their own last word. The artist began making these impassive horizontally striped paintings in late 1965, first on a stretcher and then through a process of folding that derived from the pliage method Simon Hantaï had been developing since 1960—the crumpling or knotting of a support before brushing it with paint—even as it refused what Parmentier saw as the seductive nature of the elder man’s famously variable results, rendering the practice


    BY HIS OWN ESTIMATION, the American painter James Bishop never could do a “sixties painting in the Greenbergian sense.”1 Yet in the late 1960s and ’70s, when Bishop was living in France at midcareer, his work offered a central reference for the reception of Clement Greenberg’s writings in that country. It is surprising that Bishop’s work should assume this role, not only because of his professed inability to hew to a Greenbergian line but also because of the apparent unlikeliness of a resurgence of Greenberg’s ideas at that moment. The years following the 1960 publication of his now-canonical

  • Simon Hantaï

    SIMON HANTAÏ IS OFTEN PRESENTED as Europe’s answer to Jackson Pollock: The Hungarian-born French painter was among the first on the Continent to notice and take seriously Pollock’s painting, and the abstract canvases he produced over a period of twenty-two years, from 1960 to 1982—in the medium that he called pliage, or “folding”—are also seen as a precedent for the variously “deconstructive” or “analytic” tendencies associated with a host of younger figures, including Daniel Buren and the painters of Supports/Surfaces. Yet Hantaï’s pliage works, widely exhibited in France during the

  • Simon HantaÏ

    At the time of his death, Hungarian-born French painter Simon Hantaï (1922–2008) left behind one of the most challenging, diverse, and—as he emphasized—willfully “impure” oeuvres in later twentieth-century art. This comprehensive exhibition, the first full-career survey of the artist’s work, brings together more than 130 paintings made between 1949 and the mid-1990s, from the voracious experimentation of Hantaï’s early years in Paris through the justly renowned abstract canvases he began producing in 1960 in


    AUTOMATIC WRITING: That’s one name, if not the least tendentious, one might consider for the fine lines that appear here and there in the whites of Simon Hantaï’s Étude, a stunning painting of 1969 that has just entered the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Made, like almost all of the French artist’s work between 1960 and 1982, via what he called le pliage comme méthode, or “folding as method,” Étude bears multiple traces of the working process that produced it, and that Hantaï modified continually from one series to the next. In this case, the canvas appears to have

  • “Displace, Disclose, Discover: Acts of Painting, 1960–1999”

    “THE FRENCH TALKED SUCH NONSENSE.” This is Clement Greenberg in 1968, as interviewed by Edward Lucie-Smith. The remark comes among a set of judgments about the international reception of postwar American painting: Although the first to pay it serious attention were the French, Greenberg claims, the responses of these key continental tastemakers—painter Georges Mathieu, critic Michel Tapié, dealer Paul Facchetti—essentially baffled critical understanding. It was an old point for Greenberg, who had earlier decried a creeping tendency in the Paris art scene toward privileging “acts” of