Brice Marden

Sperone Westwater Fischer

Brice Marden was discovered just when many were saying that painting seemed to be on its last leg. A certain rescue strategy was initiated that magnetized his work, attracting every possible influence and predecessor of the last 400 years. This made Marden seem to be the apotheosis of it all, the crowning glory, the last gasp, not just of the endangered species—painting—but Western Art and Culture itself. To me, this is undoubtedly the worst thing short of utter neglect that can happen to a painter and his art. These canvases exist solely as vehicles for critics to exercise their ability to explain them—not in the interest of the work itself, but in order to create an instant, synthetic history. The problem with approaching Marden’s new work is that we can’t really see it. The extraneous critical/historical support sprouts up like weeds, obscuring the objects and estranging our experience

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