new-york

Robert Ryman

MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

It’s all in the name—the stubborn consistency of tact, vision, and method, the economy of means, the paradoxically anti-systematic system of repetitions, the governing law of tautology. Moving through over thirty years of Robert Ryman’s production in this show was akin to taking the same commuter train over and over again but never having the same experience twice—and never actually reaching a destination. This work thumbs its nose at the protocol of formal progression articulated in Modernist rhetoric while simultaneously beckoning the viewer to perform a thorough “formal” analysis.

The putative simplicity of Ryman’s work is deceptive, and this is precisely what enthralls. Unlike Donald Judd, who eventually rejected painting in favor of sculpture’s literalness, Ryman has apparently delighted in the exhaustion of abstract painting. Nothing and everything changes in this artist’s oeuvre,

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