new-york

Jules Olitski

Andre Emmerich Gallery

Until now, the times have always been slightly out of joint for Jules Olitski. To have been exploring “the painterly (or ‘das Malerische’) during the sixties,” as Kenworth Moffett put it in 1972, to have reintroduced the traditional “dramatic imbalance and marked variation and hierarchies of accent” of the easel picture, was to be a shady character during that decade.

These recent paintings, however, without presenting any radical departures, fit into such topical, even tired, issues as, say, the poststructuralist concept of absence, the hollow core of culture. Olitski’s work has always consisted of echoes (layers and transparencies), but unlike Sarrasine’s filched effects (according to Roland Barthes’ analysis in S/Z), his echoes echoed themselves. Or as Joseph Masheck put it in 1973, referring to Olitski’s double edges of paint and canvas, “sometimes the work barely stops short of the

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