Kenneth Noland, Morning Span, 1964, acrylic on canvas, 8' 7“ x 12' 10”.

Kenneth Noland

Mitchell-Innes & Nash | Uptown

Kenneth Noland, Morning Span, 1964, acrylic on canvas, 8' 7“ x 12' 10”.

Once upon a time we accepted the dialectical “begats” of modernism on simple faith: how Abstract Expressionism emerged from the academic regionalism (both urban and Midwestern) of the 1930s; how the gestural Abstract Expressionism of the ’40s was replaced by the Color Fields and stains of the ’50s and ’60s; how, quickly enough, these developments led to a figurative Pop art, which, in turn, forced Minimalism and Conceptualism into bloom. By our present moment, we have come full cycle, churning out new representationalisms as if those fifty years of American abstraction had never happened. This ignorance allows us to see the works in “Kenneth Noland, Paintings, 1958–1968” afresh, free of the contextualizing buttress of the formalist criticism that once legitimized post-painterly abstraction.

So what do we see today? We see bright, optically stimulating work of often singing

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