New York

Ad Reinhardt

MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

As it has been a quarter of a century since we last had the opportunity to view such a concentration of Ad Reinhardt’s work, this retrospective of the paintings of this celebrated iconoclast could not have been anticipated more optimistically. The curators unfortunately did not rise to the occasion: what we got was a replay of the fairly conventional story of Reinhardt-the-painter, with little more than lip-service paid the larger and more important story of Reinhardt-the-artist.

Ad Reinhardt idealized his abstract art in scores of texts written over a period of more than two decades, culminating in his autonomination as the creator of “the last painting.” Whether or not we credit Reinhardt with launching the final, decisive assault upon figuration, it is difficult not to be struck by his rhetoric demanding of painting an autonomy of the most stringent kind. Reinhardt’s legacy is encapsulated

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