New York

Brice Marden

Mary Boone Gallery | Uptown

Since Brice Marden first started exhibiting in the mid ’60s, it has been clear that he never felt comfortable with Modernism as it was defined and codified by formalist criticism and theory. Whereas Modernism started out as a search for symbols and an expression of faith, formalism dismissed this desire to reach the ineffable in favor of something concrete and verifiable—which, while it made the job of making art easier and safer, celebrated the triumph of the secular world over the spiritual realm. Consequently, the vulnerable, questioning approach of Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian was replaced by the materialist presentations and dogmatic stance of Donald Judd, Frank Stella, and a generation of critics influenced by Clement Greenberg.

To his credit, Marden found a way to undermine formalism’s positivist attitudes while seemingly accepting its proscriptions against drawing and

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