new-york

Robert Ryman

Pace Wildenstein

In the catalogue accompanying Robert Ryman’s show of recent paintings is a photograph of the artist’s studio: pristine, with paints, brushes, palette knives, solvents, and tools resting on two small carts and a stool, his signature white paintings hanging salon style on walls that are also painted white. Finished paintings wrapped in plastic stand propped in the corners. White paint, ready for use, waits on carts. Oh, and the floor is white, too.

On the next page, an essay by art historian Yve-Alain Bois opens with a quotation by Barnett Newman describing art of the first half of the twentieth century as “the search for something to paint.” Bois name-checks Monet, Matisse, Renoir, Bonnard, Braque, Picasso, Fautrier, and Warhol, then concludes by saying that Ryman, with his pasty brushstroke, “allows us the pleasure of intoxication knowing full well that in our day and age, this represents

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