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View of “Mary Heilmann and David Reed,” 2015. From left: David Reed, #550, 2005–2006; Mary Heilmann, Yoshimi, 2004.

Mary Heilmann and David Reed

Hamburger Bahnhof

View of “Mary Heilmann and David Reed,” 2015. From left: David Reed, #550, 2005–2006; Mary Heilmann, Yoshimi, 2004.

A strict presentational concept rules “Mary Heilmann & David Reed: Two by Two,” which presents the work of two late-career American artists. Udo Kittelmann and cocurator Sophie Mattheus have chosen to display about forty paintings, ranging in date from 1973 to 2015, along with an installation and a digital projection by each artist. Every painting by Heilmann hangs directly to one by Reed, with just over four inches between them. (Only the pair at the entrance are separated by a bit more space.) The result is, in most cases, a forceful and provocative confrontation between works.

This presentation is rooted in parallel biographies. Both artists were born in the 1940s in California and spent their early years there before starting to work in New York in the late ’60s. Both retain strong connections to their West Coast roots, however: Heilmann writes that Los Angeles is a huge part

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