Los Angeles

Barnett Newman

Nicholas Wilder Gallery

The problem of commenting on the recent Newman suite of color lithographs is that there is precious little to deal with visually. The whole exercise is about a “stance” taken by the artist in his preface, largely unsubstantiated by the work itself, while at the same time strongly implied by the sumptuousness of its presentation in hand crafted book form as a limited edition of eighteen volumes. Starting with the vellum-covered box, a faint, centered “BN” is discerned. Continuing to the red title page, with a flourish is written “18 Cantos” and the artist’s signature. Then the Preface. Then Canto I: a vellum-colored rectangular block, cleaved by a white-of-the-paper upright band that just falls short of reaching its bordering sea of like-white. Canto II: black ground with thin blue pole echoed in the now-thinned white margin. Canto III: black ground and centered white pole with expanded

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