new-york

Cy Twombly

Gagosian Gallery

What I like about Cy Twombly’s sculptures is the way they subvert all the clichés about his paintings. An original one—if a cliché can be called “original”—is Roland Barthes’ notion that the canvases are a kind of writing manqué; more ordinary is Arthur Danto’s remark that the paintings are “dense with classical allusions” while remaining an “anthology of [abstract expressionist] marks.” Peter Selz contradicts both, maintaining that Twombly’s “scrawls carry no linguistic meaning” but rather “combine decisive gesture and indeterminate action.” I suppose one sees what one is predisposed to see, but looking at Twombly’s bronze sculptures one can’t help but notice their patina, and realize the extent to which time has been his theme all along, regardless of medium. Twombly’s art marks time at its most “primitive”—“duration experienced in the course of action,” as Jean Piaget says in another

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