new-york

Larry Poons

Andre Emmerich Gallery

Larry Poons’ status as the last certified modernist painter interests me, independently of any particular painting. In 1972 Michael Fried considered it a matter of “conviction” that Poons’ thick, dense, poured paintings were the authentic successors to the school of Olitski. Poons’ work is crude, not lyrical; gloppy rather than slick; clotted and clogged rather than sensual and efficient. Looking back over the ’70s, Poons acts as a barometer of change in the look of a lot of abstract painting—a look which Ralph Humphrey, Ron Gorchov, and even artists like Rodney Ripps share, even though they could not be termed modernist in the Friedian sense. For me, the change ii; sensibility has come to a head in Barbara Rose’s “Painting of the ’80s” show, a change from the rigor of Newman to the emotional messiness of Still. Poons’ paintings look more and more like Still’s in their sluggishness, and

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