New York

Willem de Kooning

Gagosian Gallery (21)

Willem de Kooning once said, “I never made a Cubist painting.” I believe that this is an honest self-appraisal, but there are many who consider it inaccurate. The '50s and early '60s were dominated by formalist critics who grouped together most of that period's generation of abstract painters under the rubric of Abstract Expressionism and interpreted their work in terms of Cubist principles. Although there were many painters and sculptors who consciously aligned themselves with this school of thought, and with its ideology of progressive Modernism, de Kooning's approach to painting was and is very different.

De Kooning made the six paintings and one work on paper in this exhibition between 1955 and '61, a period when he was moving faster than anyone around him. Interchange, 1955, and The Time of the Fire, 1956, are superficially similar, with strokes and planes that bend, twist, or suddenly

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