new-york

Ree Morton

The Drawing Center

As well deserved as the recent attention to the artist Ree Morton is, we should not overlook the critical or curatorial coaxing necessary to bring a neglected figure such as this one back onto the scene. Only a little digging makes it clear that prior to her death in 1977—at the age of forty, in a car crash—Morton had achieved notable success (showing work regularly in both gallery and museum exhibitions) and had fully installed herself within a vibrant artistic community; yet, for as engaged and present a figure as Morton would seem in retrospect, we must remind ourselves that until a few years ago many of us didn’t know her name.

That artists who die young—and thus who have had short careers—are often lost to the history books is in itself not surprising. But nevertheless, in some cases (Robert Smithson, Gordon Matta-Clark, et al.) the brevity of a career only underscores its importance,

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