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Noland’s New Paintings

MOST OF THE BEST RECENT painting is abstract, and we are asked to accept as high art configurations of simple things which retain their identity because they are not subordinated to depiction. One obstacle to the proper reception of what is wrongly called “formalist” art writing is its insistence on mere visual fact: a line, a colored patch, a smooth surface, the edge of a rectangle. These things are not intrinsically interesting, and when they come up in art writing their newfound weight can seem dumbfounding or silly. But there are those who should know better, members of the art public who are committed to abstract art but pin the “Ivory Tower” label on any art writer who tries to come to literal terms with abstract painting. They belittle the importance given innocent facts and changes which have nothing to do with the “real world,” and they long for noble and heroic attributes to

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