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Richard Diebenkorn: Cloudy Skies over Ocean Park

THE RECENT ABSTRACTIONS THAT Richard Diebenkorn showed at Marlborough are far from outstanding, and if you had expected much from them you would have had to find them disappointing, but they were worth seeing and thinking about all the same. As things go today, Diebenkorn is a curious phenomenon—an artist who has made the big time in spite of the fact that he has never tried to make the “scene.” He is, on the contrary, intentionally provincial and, insofar as his work depends for its substance on the place where he lives, he is even a regional artist as they were in the ’30s. What is perhaps even more anomalous is the fact that he has been content to work always on the same problems. It is true that the “look” of his paintings has changed a couple of times—first when he went from abstraction to representation, then when he went back again—but the change had nothing to do with an awareness

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