Sarah K. Rich

  • Bridget Riley, New Day, 1988, oil on linen, 63 x 89".

    Bridget Riley

    Featuring fifty-eight paintings and more than one hundred drawings that span Riley's prolific career, this retrospective will debut several recent pieces and two murals created specifically for the exhibition.

    It was not unusual for 1960s French critics to claim Bridget Riley as their own. At times maintaining that they (namely, Viktor Vasarely) spearheaded Op art, the French have extended an honorary laurel to the English artist—and are gearing up for a new opportunity to frame her practice. Featuring fifty-eight paintings and more than one hundred drawings that span Riley's prolific career, this retrospective will debut several recent pieces and two murals created specifically for the exhibition. Though curator Anne Montfort may emphasize Riley's Gallic connection (the press

  • “Be-Bomb”

    MANUEL BORJA-VILLEL AND SERGE GUILBAUT don’t want to set the world on fire, they just want to detonate a thermonuclear device in the heart of art history. Ostensibly trying to blow a hole in the more conservative habits of exhibiting institutions and scholarship on postwar art, the curators’ recent exhibition, “Be-Bomb: The Transatlantic War of Images and All That Jazz, 1946–1956,” at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, gathered a politically charged collection of artworks, documents, and artifacts of popular culture from the decade following the Crossroads nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll

  • THE RETURN OF OP

    With two major survey shows on Op art running almost concurrently in Europe and the United States, we asked contributing editor David Rimanelli and art historian Sarah K. Rich to assess the exhibitions and reflect on the resurgence of interest in—and contemporary resonance of—this long-moribund movement.

  • Sarah K. Rich

    FOR A LONG TIME OP ART has occupied a position similar to that of the bouffant hairdo. Briefly fashion-forward, it quickly became an embarrassment. Almost as soon as Op debuted, it degenerated into one of the most visibly dated features of the ’60s. Fleeting reappearances in subsequent decades took place through appropriations—both cynical and affectionate—by younger figures for whom its retro quality was the salient feature. So, with a few exceptions, paintings associated with the Op moment have languished in museum storerooms, and the various jigsaw puzzles, pot holders, and lunch boxes that

  • Jo Baer, Graph-Paper Painting, 1962–63, oil on canvas, 36 x 36".

    “Jo Baer: The Minimalist Years, 1960–1975”

    Viewed in reproduction, the early paintings of Jo Baer can make a misleading first impression. They might appear impassive, even “noncommittal,” to repeat a term used by John Ashbery when he reviewed Baer’s first solo show in 1966. Seen in person at Dia Center for the Arts’s current exhibition of Baer’s “Minimalist Years,” however, those paintings seem quite the opposite. They are grand, open, elegant things, and while these luminescent canvases are often pleasing to the eye, they are just as often satisfying to the intellect.

    Dia showcases some of Baer’s most splendid efforts from the ’60s and