The recent exhibition at David Zwirner of twenty-seven blue paintings made by Ad Reinhardt, focusing on the period between 1950 and 1953, was a tour de force on many levels. It is doubtful that any museum could or would have assembled such a concentrated, ambitious show, since it lacks the box-office appeal of shock-and-awe sensationalism. Ironically, the gathering of such a cohesive group of paintings was shocking in its laser-like focus and awe-inspiring in the loftiness of its uncompromised aesthetic achievement. It was, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and coherent, even breathtaking, exhibitions this writer can remember.
Reinhardt, who died precipitously and prematurely in 1967 at the age of fifty-three, was a prolific writer who laid out his premises with unambiguous clarity if not dogmatism. The only member of the New York School who began as an abstract artist, he
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