Friday, April 04, 2008

"A controlled moment of light"

Jules Olitski, "Tin Lizzie Green"

“Color as Field: American Painting, 1950-1975” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum through May 26.

What a wonderful exhibition this is! The Color Field "school" was the bastard stepchild of the Abstract Expressionists and what a stepchild they were. The show includes some of the AbEx artists such as Gottleib and Motherwell who were also a part of Color Field as well as Rothko and Barnett Newman who were obvious influences. (In a nod to Karen, I will note that most Newman's are boring as hell, but his "Horizontal Light" shown in the exhibition is really wonderful.)

Jules Olitski was the great discovery for me. His pieces of monumental size just sucked me in, especially "Tin Lizzie Green" above. Morris Louis' "Floral V", Jack Bush's "need to find name in catalogue" and several of Helen Franenthaler's were other standouts.

The NYT review is quite good (except for the unfortunate Olitski is "poorly represented" comment) and the slide show is representative of the show. The title of this post is a quote from Larry Poons in this podcast from the Smithsonian page. Other podcasts are here. NPR's story is here