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A HIDDEN RESERVE: PAINTING FROM 1958 TO 1965

IN THE LATE 1950s, painting celebrated some of the greatest triumphs in its history, grandly ordained as a universal language of subjective and historical experience in major shows and touring exhibitions. But only a short while later, its very right to exist was fundamentally questioned. Already substantially weakened by the rise of Happenings and Pop art, painting was shoved aside by art critics during the embattled ascendancy of Minimalism in the mid-’60s. Since then, painters and their champions alike have tirelessly pondered the reasons for their chosen medium’s downfall, its abandonment by advanced theoretical discourse. It is not coincidental that “Painting: The Task of Mourning” is the title of Yve-Alain Bois’s seminal 1986 essay (republished in his 1990 book Painting as Model), which remains the last ambitious attempt to outline a history of modern painting and its endgames.1 For

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