New York

Paul Mogenson

Bykert Gallery, uptown

Between 1968 and 1970, Paul Mogenson painted monochromatic rectangles that were organized upon the wall in ordered subdivisions of rational wholes. The parts were deduced from processes of regular subdivision—whole, half, quarter, eighth. They reminded me of Carl Andre’s Cuts in which the artist covered the gallery floor with bricks, wall to wall, then removed some of them, brick by brick, to create rectangular hollows.

In 1970, another principle of order emerged in Mogenson’s work, though one still based on an external icon, the target. I believe this image, codified for us in Johns’s Targets, is meant to be a prime sign of knowledge in contemporary art. Targets function as closed, self-referential systems, akin in meaning to the grids and checkerboards of Minimalism and early Conceptualism. Shortly thereafter, a new icon, the spiral, appeared, one often incorrectly construed as an outgrowth

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