New York

Norman Bluhm

Washburn Gallery

Norman Bluhm is undoubtedly one of the most underrated artists of his generation. Shortly before this exhibition opened—Bluhm’s first solo show in New York in more than a decade—an exhibition of Kenneth Noland’s work closed. It was one of those timely coincidences worth pointing out. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that a large part of the art world was busy celebrating the rigidly formalist (formulaic?) work of Noland (born 1924) for being radical, innovative, and chic, while deriding or ignoring Bluhm (born 1920) for being derivative. Now, more than 25 years after Noland first exhibited his targets and chevrons (which at best codified the compositions of Jasper Johns and Frank Stella) and Bluhm was evolving out of Abstract Expressionism, it is obvious that the former never developed, while the latter has found a way to both extend and transform his origins. Aesop’s fable “The Tortoise

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