New York

Wallace Putnam

Lerner-Heller Gallery

Admittedly, the human problem of the veteran painter is painful, and paradoxically oddly redemptive. Assuming that my theoretical position were even remotely true, how then does one perceive with generosity the continued elaboration of a long devotion to a set of manual and mechanical principles thrown awry and subverted by the epistemic concerns of the late ’60s and ’70s? The answer, I believe, lies not in the works produced by these artists, but in the moral examples the artists provide in terms of a devotion to morphologies whose anachronism they could scarcely have anticipated. Wallace Putnam, in his seventies, elicited this curious sympathy from me—not so much as a painter, but as a survivor. The artist’s curriculum vitae includes such tantalizing facts as, for example, his inclusion in the 1926 Société Anonyme International Exhibition of Modern Art, and Alfred Barr’s watershed

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