New York

“High Times, Hard Times”

National Academy Museum & School

“I LOOKED ASKANCE at the culture of painting,” admits artist Mary Heilmann in the catalogue accompanying “High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967–1975.” “I chose it as a practice in order to have arguments with people like Robert Smithson.” Heilmann’s feisty, equivocal endorsement of her medium—specifically, of advanced anti-Greenbergian abstraction—epitomizes the era considered in curator Katy Siegel’s show, organized for Independent Curators International with David Reed as adviser. (The exhibition opened at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina, and then traveled to the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC.) Highs abounded in the then-emergent SoHo scene, with cheap lofts, cooperative galleries, and all-night talkfests at Max’s Kansas City. Painters, though, were working through hard times in an idiom that had been declared dead. Dismissal of post-Minimal painting

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