New York

“Abstract Expressionism: A World Elsewhere”

Haunch of Venison

This sweeping show of Abstract Expressionism, organized by the British art historian and critic David Anfam, was long on firsthand pleasures, and offered room to reflect on what abstract meant initially and what it means now—not simply “a world elsewhere,” but worlds that seem a trillion miles apart.

There were sixty-two works on view by AbEx’s main protagonists and a handful of artists that Anfam meant to wedge into the canon. In place of a strict historical narrative, his exhibition was propelled by his sheer visual confidence, beginning with starker works and opening out into loosely syncopated installations of canvases and works on paper with lush distributions of looping, dribbled, and jotted brushwork by de Kooning, Krasner, Tobey, Mitchell, Newman, Reinhardt, and Tworkov, among others, along with sculptures by David Smith. Anfam choreographed scale well, juxtaposing grand gestures

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