New York

Cy Twombly

Gagosian Gallery

The big surprise of Cy Twombly’s recent show at Gagosian Gallery was his newfound sense of scale. First, although the eight paintings in “Bacchus, Psilax, Mainomenos” are individual works, their perfect fit in the large, squarish gallery made them an environmental piece: If not executed precisely for the space, these horizontal tan canvases covered with swirling red loops were obviously created with it in mind. One sculpture (polychromed, oddly, in red and Granny Smith green) stood like a sentry in the corridor outside the main gallery, but once past the threshold, one was submerged in a sea of red. There was the rich, fully saturated red of Twombly’s painted marks, as well as the more subdued, diffuse red of their reflection in the shiny wooden floor. No one has painted redness this way since Barnett Newman in Anna’s Light, 1968.

That’s for the external scale—but there is also something

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