reviews

Morris Louis

MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

This is at once a connoisseur’s selection of choice works by Morris Louis and a retrospective tracing of his development. Louis begins, in such works as Atomic Crest and Intrigue, both 1954, with paint that more or less completely covers the canvas; he ends with works, such as Hot Half and Equator, both 1962, in which the bare canvas seems as assertive—seems to exist as much for itself—as the bright color. Louis uses various strategies to achieve this result, from the relatively abrupt termination of his color before it reaches the canvas’ edge, to the sense of displacement and hovering effect the cluster of colors achieves through their concentration. In general, Louis’ basic “unit” is the color flow, which becomes increasingly differentiated and “rational” as he develops, ending in stripe paintings. In the movement from the so-called “Veils” (1954; 1958–59) to the so-called “Unfurleds”

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