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View of “Yanyan Huang,” 2016.

View of “Yanyan Huang,” 2016.

Yanyan Huang


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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