new-york

Hilary Harnischfeger

Rachel Uffner Gallery

Writing about the fallout from Frank Stella’s seminal “Black Paintings,” Michael Fried charged that he and Carl Andre had been “fighting for [Stella’s] soul.” For Fried, Stella’s paintings were an apotheosis of Greenbergian modernism; for Andre, harbingers of Minimalist object production. In effect, however, the contest (more camp than metaphysics) unwittingly rendered Stella’s nonrepresentational surfaces—which protruded off the wall so as to insistently occupy, even swallow up space—mere heuristic props. If such art-historical prehistory seems, at best, tangential to Hilary Harnischfeger’s concerns, the debate nonetheless resonates because questions of medium (and that old chestnut, medium-specificity) lurk in her work, as exemplified in the six predominantly small-scale wall-mounted abstractions—painted reliefs as much as sculptural paintings, drawings, or collages, made up of such

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