Richard Diebenkorn

Gagosian | 522 West 21st Street

Ultimately, Richard Diebenkorn’s reputation depends on the “Ocean Park Series,” 1967–88, of which this exhibition gave us 11 paintings selected from at least 150 works. Begun in 1967, the same year Robert Motherwell began his “Open” paintings—and apparently catalyzed by two, virtually objectless, grandly rectangular 1914 paintings by Henri Matisse, Open Window, Collioure and View of Nôtre Dame, depicting interiors with aborted exterior views—the works in this series depict a similar oscillating space. In general, Diebenkorn’s paintings summarize and refine the modern tradition of spatial handling that extends from Cubist to Color Field painting, a tradition in which positive and negative space appear seamlessly to merge.

The question is whether they do so in an anticlimactic way, their indebtedness effacing their achievement, or whether they establish their own particularity, reaching a

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