New York

R. H. Quaytman

Miguel Abreu Gallery | Orchard Street

Most twentieth-century art dismissed by modernist gatekeepers—late Picabia, the most flagrantly commercial of Picasso’s and Warhol’s works, even Pattern and Decoration—has proven assimilable by now. Op, not so much. The movement made iconic by Bridget Riley’s trippily pulsating paintings was vilified in the Swinging ’60s as capricious flower-child art lite. The swirls and whorls of Op were not only suspected drug references, they ended up emblazoning miniskirts too; in the end, Pop posed the more formidable challenge to the presumption that art should be indifferent to pop culture. Despite intermittent rehabilitations, including a cover feature in this magazine a couple years ago, Op remains fringy stuff, having never totally recovered from pans like Max Kozloff’s, in a 1965 issue of The Nation, in which he claimed Op reduced viewers to “a helpless scoreboard of sensations.”

R. H. Quaytman’s

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