When John Ashbery died last year, the New York press reacted as if an epoch had come to a close. The poet is gone, but some witnesses of his generation are still with us. James Bishop is now ninety years old, and still working in the countryside outside Paris. Back in the 1960s, Ashbery succinctly nailed Bishop’s work when he described it as “Post-Painterly Quattrocentro”“Quattrocentro” because of Bishop’s fierce loyalty to oil paint and to the paradoxical possibilities of the painting as window, and “Post-Painterly” because of his immediate struggle with the work of Robert Motherwell, Ellsworth Kelly, and Ad Reinhardt, painters who formed the backdrop of his maturation as an artist. Holland Cotter has called Bishop “best known for being underknown,” and despite Cotter’s admiration, as well as considered articles by Carter Ratcliff, Molly Warnock, and others, this remains
Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.
Not registered for artforum.com?
SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*
* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.