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View of “Yanyan Huang,” 2016.

Yanyan Huang

Tomorrow

View of “Yanyan Huang,” 2016.

Some seventy or so years after its heroic American heyday, Abstract Expressionism has seen a lot, having been debased, parodied, subverted, enshrined, disavowed, mocked, and reinvented a thousand times by as many artists to as many different ends. An indelible metonym for modernism, it is, as they say, overdetermined, so much so that to make a gestural mark today is to court a certain generic quality—and the nagging sense that whatever you’re doing has, regrettably, been done before.

Which is not to say the weight of history dooms gestural abstraction to cliché; to the contrary, its legacy can be wielded as a feature, not a bug. A case in point is the work of the Los Angeles– , China-, and Italy-based artist Yanyan Huang, who, even as she earnestly and skillfully inhabits AbEx’s traditions and tropes, is also strategically self-aware about its past and how that might be

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