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Looking for my photography blog?

If you are looking for my photography blog (tenpairoduckies) you can find it here. My apologies; I was maintaining two blogs for a while, and this one is still associated with my email address.

Of course you’re welcome to browse through this blog, a journal from a trip to New York last fall. Lots of pictures!

-Joseph

11/15/2011: Montauk

Downtown Montauk, in atmospheric sepia and panoramic camera distortion

I needed a break from my frantic, activity-filled days in New York, so an overnight trip to Montauk at the east end of Long Island seemed like just the ticket. A train ticket, to be exact. So I booked a room at a B & B about a mile from downtown Montauk, on the old highway and just across the road from the dunes and the beach, hopped on the train yesterday (Monday) morning, and three hours (or a hundred miles) later there I was.

Montauk is the end of the Long Island Railroad, and as you can imagine not too many people were heading that way on a Monday in the off season. So it was a quiet train ride, once the irritating cell phone user got off at Babylon, near Fire Island. (Yes, I was on the train to Babylon. That’s sort of like being on the bus to Mycenae, except I suppose that that would be the real Mycenae. So OK, maybe not quite the same.) Glimpses of the ocean here and there as we got closer to Montauk, between shrubs and woods.

Montauk traditionally has been the tamer, more working-class resort, compared to the nearby Hamptons. Much more to my taste, thank you very much. And speaking of taste I was definitely getting hungry. Since the tourist season had just ended, the restaurant next door to the B & B had just closed for the season, and the nearest places to eat were on Main Street, about a mile away. Thankfully I’m used to walking everywhere, and a mile was just a short hike.

I ended up having lunch at Mr. John’s Pancake House, which makes what I think must be the best Reuben sandwich anywhere. Interestingly, the menu only listed a Smoked Turkey Reuben, which I ordered, only to be told that they were out of turkey and would I mind pastrami. Mind? Of course I wouldn’t mind, especially since that’s the only way to make a Reuben! But I was happy, and I even went back today for a second round.

Here’s a panoramic photo of the diner:

Mr. John’s Pancake House, home of the best Reuben ANYWHERE

The B & B, Sunrise Guesthouse, was sweet and comfortable, but the greatest thing about being up there was the beach. The Atlantic, roaring outside your bedroom window. And lapping at your feet, if you took a walk on the sandy beach, which of course I did yesterday and this morning. Here are some photos of the dunes, taken on Monday afternoon:

Dunes in the afternoon
More dunes in the afternoon
Duuuuuunes.

And some of the photos I took this morning.

Sky, sea, sand. And vice versa.
Surf’s up.
Ditto.

And to conclude, some sand art:

Sand, pebbles, wind, and sun.
Wood, fire, wind, and sand.

All right, that’s all for today! I’m back in Brooklyn now, ready to resume my frenetic schedule.

11/12/2011: Week in review

A quick list of what else I did this past week.

First, a visit to the Print Fair at the Park Avenue Armory on Sunday, with two friends visiting from New Jersey (you know who you are). Some lovely prints there, including beauties by Richard Diebenkorn. Speaking of prints, I should also mention the show at IPCNY (International Print Center New York), which includes a piece by Seattle’s own Nick Brown. Congratulations Nick!

Next on the agenda: two Kandinsky shows at the Guggenheim: Kandinsky at the Bauhaus (1922-1933) and Painting with White Border at the Guggenheim. The Painting with White Border show is a collection of studies (drawings and paintings) that Kandinsky made on his way to the final painting. Great presentation of an artist’s exploration of a composition and his struggle with it until the work assumed a form that worked for him (the white border did that).

Maurizio Cattelan: All at the Guggenheim. The artist’s entire output, hung from the Guggenheim’s dome. Apparently Cattelan is retiring from making art; what’s he going to do next?

Note to Guggenheim visitors: the espresso drinks at their café are single-shot drinks. Everywhere else in town they’re double shots. Cheapskates.

Homage to Lucian Freud at the Metropolitan (following the artist’s death in July 2011). Luscious Lucian flesh.

Sol LeWitt: Structures (link includes slide show) at City Hall Park, as part of New York City’s Art in the Parks program. Ah, to be in a city with lots of money in the bank.

Louise Nevelson Plaza in the financial district. A small forest of Nevelson sculptures, in a recently renovated outdoor plaza.

David Smith: Cubes and Anarchy at the Whitney. I was smitten by how David Smith’s sculptures became almost two-dimensional without losing their sense of volume. You can see images from the show here. Also included in the exhibition were several drawings as well as a couple of the artist’s sketchbooks. One of the sketchbooks includes a photograph of a violinist playing, well, the violin, followed by a couple of drawings by the artist where he works out the steps to transforming the image into an abstract sculpture.

Sherri Levine kind-of-retrospective at the Whitney.

(Un)Still Life at the Brooklyn Central Library. I was especially drawn to the work of Justine Reyes, whose photographs echo early still life paintings – as well as the paintings of Raphaelle Peale, the early 19th C. American still life painter.

I also took the train up to Dia:Beacon. $31 gets you a roundtrip train ticket as well as discounted admission to the site. Beautiful, 90-minute train ride along the Hudson. And an exhibition space in a former Nabisco printing plant, transformed into enormous, well-lit gallery spaces. Work by the pantheon of (mostly American) artists from the late 1950s to the present: Agnes Martin, Robert Ryman, On Kawara, John Chamberlain, Richard Serra, Louise Lawler, Joseph Beuys, Robert Smithso, Donald Judd, Blinky Palermo, Michael Heizer, Fred Sandback, Bruce Nauman, Sol LeWitt, Dan Flavin, Blinky Palermo – and a gallery of 18 Louise Bourgeois sculptures. My modernist heart was all aflutter. Exuberance, experimentation, and the desire to push the limits of materials, ideas, and content. And gorgeous installations of the work. Absolutely worth a day trip if you’re ever out this way.

And don’t forget the music while you’re here. As an alternative to Broadway musicals, which I must be the only person having zero interest in, try the concerts at the 92nd Street Y (I heard the Tokyo String Quartet in a program of Bartók, Haydn, and Schumann); the ARTEK Wednesday afternoon midtown concerts (free!), and the concerts by the Saint Andrew Music Society, on Madison Avenue a couple of blocks south of the Whitney Museum. Just the tip of the iceberg, of course – these are just the concerts I went to.

Whew. Busy week!

11/9/2011: Roberto Matta at Pace Gallery

2011 marks the centennial of the birth of Chilean surrealist painter Roberto Matta (1911-2002). Pace Gallery has mounted an exhibition of some of Matta’s work which includes paintings from the 1980s and 1990s, but also a couple of pieces from the 1970s. Matta’s work is about psychological complexity as well as the complexity of ideas, all presented with humor and visual panache; his vocabulary consists of biomorphic shapes floating in, or emerging from, a background of complex areas of color. The shapes in the foreground, as well as the colors in the background, move and lead the viewer’s eye all over the large canvases.

As surrealists often did, Matta chose titles that had the reality-twisting structure of puns and verbal humor. Take the 1975 painting below, which has the French title L’homme descend du signe (“Man comes from the sign”). That can be interpreted as a nod to semiotics, the study of symbols, reference, language, and communication, which was something of central concern to surrealists. I noticed, however, that the title has another layer: the word signe (“sign”) is also an anagram for singe (“monkey”), so with just a quick mental twist the title becomes “Man comes from the monkey”:

Roberto Matta, L’homme descend du signe, 1975

What exactly the connection is between the title and the painting is of course something left to the viewer, and can have as many interpretations as there are viewers. Formally, limbs and other biomorphic shapes interact with more mechanical, man-made forms, and the focus of the painting is the triangular tool-like shape to the right of center, which is echoed by two smaller shapes vanishing to its right. The tools are the only ones with blue surfaces, which sets them apart from the conversation on the rest of the canvas. Man as a tool-maker, set against a field of naturalistic forms: ideas arranged on a two-dimensional surface , itself a set of signs.

All that made me smile; very clever, Mr. Matta.

Here’s another painting, this one from 1999 and titled Architecture du temps (un point sait tout). The title translates as “Architecture of time (a point knows it all)”. Hmm, you say; what on earth could that mean? Well, it turns out that un point sait tout (“a point knows it all”) sounds just like the common expression un point, c’est tout, which translates roughly as “that’s it, period,” or “end of conversation.”  So the title can be about a point in time can contain all time, and so know everything; but it’s also the artist’s comment on the first part of the title, “architecture of time.” That’s all, he says, period; just look at the painting – I’m not going to tell you more about it in the title.

Roberto Matta, Architecture du temps (un point sait tout), 1999

And of course there is a very large dot (a point) in the painting towards which all the forms seem to converge, or which they all seem to emanate from). Just like time, knowledge, and so on. Nice.

One final example, titled M’onde, dated 1989. Onde in French means “wave,” so I think that this can be taken as a reference to electromagnetic (EM) waves. And of course if you remove the apostrophe the result is Monde, “world.”

Roberto Matta, M’onde, 1989

Yep, the world is nothing but electromagnetic radiation.

And puns. Who knew.

11/5/2011: Coney Island


One of the Coney Island rides, in the usual atmospheric sepia

 

A trip to New York and Brooklyn would not be complete without a visit to the beach and boardwalk at Coney Island. Coney Island is only about five miles from where I’m staying, and the country’s first bike path, created in 1894 by Olmsted and Co., would get me there. (Actually, what happened in 1894 was that the pedestrian path, created along Ocean Parkway in 1880, was split into two lanes, one for walkers and one for bikes; probably the result of advocacy by cyclists at the time.)

First, I have to say that riding on a bike path that had been around for over a hundred years was extremely cool. However, after a couple of blocks of experiencing history I had had it; not only is the path pretty bumpy, and pretty busy with walkers and kids in strollers, it’s also in places an annex site of Tacoma’s Museum of Glass. Of Broken Glass, to be exact. So I got onto the street that runs next to the bike path, away from the Parkway. Pretty decent pavement, mostly, but I had to stop at every cross street, of which there was one at every block (huh – interesting fact). And there were many, many blocks. You can see a graph of the effect that had on my speed on the Garmin site; scroll down under the map and you will see how it was just stop-and-go.

Then the city ended, and I was on the beach. The ramp from the road up to the boardwalk was half-covered in sand, itself an unexpected sight and one that made me smile (and made the bike cringe.) Sand! Beach! Sun! Hanging out on the beach is my idea of nothing to do, to quote Cole Porter, but this was a beach in New York City, and if you turned your back to the city you could be in Santa Monica. Or somewhere else beachy and sandy and oceany.

Here’s a view looking south from the boardwalk:
Beach at Coney Island

 

And a view of the boardwalk and the amusement park:

Coney Island boardwalk and amusement park

 

The boardwalk goes on for about a mile, and it’s wide enough to accommodate bikes and walkers, although I can imagine that in the summer it’s wall-to-wall people. People discussing everything under the sun, as it were, a lot of them in Russian, by the way; sweet. So if you’re ever in New York and have some time on your hands, take the F train to Coney Island and join them. You’ll be in a different world; New-York-By-The-Sea.

11/4/2011: “Burning, Bright: A Short History of the Light Bulb” at Pace Gallery

I popped in at several galleries in Chelsea on Friday. The most lovely in the lot was Burning, Bright: A Short History of the Light Bulb at Pace Gallery’s West 22nd Street location. In this group exhibition, organized by Pace London, the soon-to-be-retired incandescent light bulb is the subject of works by many twentieth and twenty-first century artists, among them Francis Bacon, Joseph Beuys, Jim Dine, Philip Guston, Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, and many others. You can see some of the pieces in the show here.

Thematically organized group shows are hard to pull off, since the connection between the theme and the works in the show can often be pretty elusive. In this case, though, the curator hit pay dirt: the theme of the exhibition is about as straightforward as they come, and its subject appears directly and unambiguously in each piece (although each piece is not necessarily about the light bulb).  The result is a richly textured variations-on-a-theme show, and, given the history and the impending demise of the light bulb, a tender look at the inspiration the bulb provided for so many artists, and a sweet farewell as well.

By the way, if you can’t see the pages on the Pace website (for some reason their response time is extraordinarily slow), you can read a review of the show here and here.

The show will be up until Nov. 26th.

11/4/2011 People-watching on the High Line

A short (3min) video of people coming and going up on the High Line. With Alicia De Larrocha playing Mozart (without permission).

11/3/2011: Riding the Manhattan Greenway

A few days ago I discovered that there was a bike loop around Manhattan, so naturally I had to do it (map). There are about  1,456,500 blog posts on this ride by other cyclists, so by writing about it here I’ll save you the trouble of having to wade through all that. You’re welcome.

The weather has been spectacular in New York so far (well, except for that little unpleasantness last weekend); temps in the 50s and 60s and sunny sunny sunny. Yesterday was no exception, so after coffee and breakfast the bike and I were on our way. Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan is cool: the promenade (pedestrian and bike deck above the car deck) is mobbed with, well, pedestrians and bikes, but even though the respective lanes are pretty narrow they manage to stay out of each other’s way. There are actually traffic cops on the promenade, to help prevent pileups and other mayhem. That was cool; thank you NYPD.

My plan was to cross Manhattan and start the ride at the south end of the greenway, as they call the pedestrian/bike path, on the Hudson River side. Helpfully, there are many bike route signs to the Hudson, so before long I found myself looking at the river and New Jersey (or just “Jersey,” as they say here), through the eyes of the panorama photo app on my phone:

South end of Hudson River greenway, looking west

The path north was smooth asphalt, and there were very few walkers and riders on it, so the ride was spirited and fun. (Favorite sign on the path: “Go slow; respect others.” Oh, all right; no thirty-mile-per-hour riding for me.) Near the north end I stopped to take a picture of this building; I found the vertical and horizontal lines in the image pretty compelling:

Compelling building

Here’s a closeup in atmospheric sepia:

Closer look, in atmospheric sepia

The Hudson River portion of the greenway ends north near the George Washington Bridge (GWB – no, not that GWB), which connects Manhattan to Jersey [sic]. Here’s another panoramic view; the GWB is on the right, its rightmost tower disappearing into the mist of the photo app software, thanks to my moving it a bit too fast:

George Washington Bridge with vanishing tower

A closeup of the bridge, with leaning towers:

George Washington Bridge with leaning towers

Until that point the ride was flat as could be; since I ride a single-speed bike, with only one gear, I was grateful. But all that was to end: the neighborhood where the trail ends is not called Washington Heights for nothing; at 265 feet elevation it’s the highest point in Manhattan. Which would be fine – I mean, Capitol Hill back home in Seattle is at around 500 ft and I can easily get up there on my single-speed bike. The difference here is that the climb to the top here is very short and steep, and my 42/16 was too hard a gear for me, so I had to walk the bike a couple of places. Thankfully nobody saw me, so my reputation with the locals remains untarnished. The bike, however, looked at me with contempt and refused to talk to me for at least a half hour.

I got to the top, in what was a dense urban neighborhood. Here’s a panorama of a major intersection, at 181st and Broadway, this time complete with Cheshire cars (no, not a typo):

Cheshire cars at 181st and Broadway

An unbelievably wild and busy intersection; I loved it. And I also got lost; I needed to find my way to the bike route and down to the greenway along the East River, which would take me back to the Brooklyn Bridge, completing the loop. How hard can this be? I thought. Just go east and you’ll get there. What I hadn’t noticed on the map was the bit about there being no access points to the East River leg of the greenway until 120th street (and I was at 181st). So I shared the road with buses and cars for a while, and finally I just had to get out my phone and figure out where the hell I was and how the hell I was supposed to get back to the waterfront, which I couldn’t even see at this point.

The phone rolled its eyes, the bike glared at me (still peeved at being walked up the hill), but in the end I got it and I was on my way. The bike was happy to have a plan again (how did I end up with a bike with an attitude?), and finally got to 120th, crossed over the freeway on a footbridge (yes, I walked the thing again, to teach it a lesson), and we were back on the greenway.

Except that, where the section along the Hudson was asphalt, this one was mostly cobblestone and brick. With pretty big gaps between the cobbles and the bricks. So the riding was slow, but the views again were lovely, and they included a tugboat:

Tug!

Nice, I thought. I wonder what other adorable things I’ll see as I ride south along the river. Not many, as it turned out: the greenway was closed at around 80th St. Oops. I ran into another rider coming north, who said that I could get back on at 34th. So I ended up heading west to 2nd Avenue and riding south on that. In the middle of the day. With buses, cabs, trucks, cars, and an unbelievable number of cyclists coming from all directions. It was actually sort of fun, and, it turns out, pretty safe because traffic moved so slowly: those of us on bikes were the fastest moving vehicles there. (Incidentally, that portion of the ride confirmed my impression of New York drivers: they are courteous and always yield to bikes, regardless of what stupid things those of us on bikes do. My theory is that drivers are used to sharing the road with pedestrians, who will cross at intersections whenever there is the slightest break in traffic; bikes belong to the same category of Things On The Road I Shouldn’t Hit.)

After having inhaled about a hundred tons of car exhaust I was back on the greenway. A stretch of mostly cracked pavement and then the path turned into this lovely bit, between the Manhattan and the Brooklyn bridge(s):

Manhattan Bridge on the left, Brooklyn Bridge on the right, in the sun

The ride was almost over. I got lost a bit again trying to get back on the Brooklyn Bridge to head home, but eventually I got there. I felt like a pro, having negotiated Manhattan traffic with such success, so once I got into Brooklyn I thought I’d stay on the main street (Flatbush Ave) instead of going my normal way, on streets with less traffic. Bad idea: not only is Flatbush the main thoroughfare for every truck and semi in the known universe, it also has bike-eating storm drains, with holes parallel to the road. We Eat Bikes, they said. Go Away. So I decided to put an end to that experiment and quickly retreated to the side streets:

All in all, a great ride, and one I’m happy to have done (note to Tom: you’re right). A little bit of everything, and on a perfect fall day. Thank you, New York, for making it possible.

Total miles roundtrip from Brooklyn: 37.88. Here is the ride, recorded on the Garmin GPS.

Brooklyn galleries: Muriel Guépin Gallery

I went to see a group show at this lovely gallery last week. Two of the artists in the show, Audrey Stone and Robert Walden, are exhibiting works on paper. Here are some of my responses to their work.

Audrey’s drawings are made up of lines created with ink (or graphite) and with thread, in a subtle 2D-to-3D conversation. If you get up close to the drawings you will notice the interplay between the two components and the way that one takes over from the other. Here’s what the artist says about her work on her website:

In 2007 I began this series of drawings to explore what defines a line. I became interested in using a checkerboard/grid as a format to explore pattern, line, and drawing and to engage the viewer in the visual game that is played as the viewer moves around the pieces. From one perspective the lines appear uniform and make it hard to distinguish which line is thread and which is ink or graphite. From another angle the pattern of the grid comes to the foreground. With these drawings I invite the viewer to compare the lines. Is the drawn line a representation of the thread, a kind of virtual line when compared to the three dimensions of the thread? Is the thread by its nature a craft while the drawn line art? And does the material by which a line is crafted push the line into a male or female language historically?

Music to my line-obsessed ears.

Here is an example of Audrey’s work; you can see more on her website.

Audrey Stone, “#1,” ink and thread on paper, 17″ x 24, 2007

Robert Walden’s Ontological Road Maps are laboriously created drawings interpreting ontologies (the system of concepts which, when interconnected, define knowledge) as maps. The maps are not visualisations of actual ontologies, of course; rather, they are visual metaphors for ontological representations. In each drawing there is a dense nucleus of interactions which then expands outwards into looser and less connected areas, much like a map of an urban core and its outward-looking periphery. There is a tension between the way the areas near the center seem to converge towards the core and the way the periphery wants to move away from the core, even while still connected to it.

At least that’s my take on the work; here’s what the artist says about it in his statement:

Ontology is a central theme throughout my work because it deals with the nature of existence or being by analyzing concepts about essence, substance, time, location, space, and identity. My work addresses these ideas by building upon physical, temporal, and literal metaphors that are often used to convey ideas about a process as well as a product. For instance, each drawing is not only a finished work that represents a place, but it is also a reflection of the hand of the artist, the act of making lines. Each of these drawings involves a labor-intensive process where much time is needed for construction and development. Once the drawing is complete, it is a picture of time. That is, each drawing reveals the time it takes to make a road map and then each finished drawing actually represents that time. All along, there is a literal play on mapping. Each drawing represents a process (of mapmaking, of creating roads) and a place (a representation of existence that can be either real or imagined).

Nice. And needless to say, Robert’s focus on process and on creating labor-intensive work that can be “a picture of time” is something I understand and have explored myself, so it was a tremendous treat seeing the work.

Robert Walden, “Ontological Road Map 010811,” ink on paper, 30″x30″, 2011

Incidentally, photos of the work of both artists can only capture a sense of the subtlety of their work; I know that limitation well myself… So you just need to stop at the gallery and see the exhibition in person; the show comes down on November 1, 2011. If you do, you will also be able to see the beautiful gestural paintings by James Greco and the mixed media work of Holly Miller, which I didn’t discuss in this post. Holly Miller’s work, by the way, is also about lines, which she creates by stringing thread over canvas; check out her work here, and click on Drawings to see some images. Her work is reminiscent of that of Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt), in particular Gego’s Dibujos sin papel (Drawings without Paper), grids and other constructions created with wire and hung to project linear shadows on the wall behind them. You can see some images here.

All in all, a terrific and very satisfying show. And I know what you think I’m thinking; I can only wish.

de Kooning at MoMA – part 1

Willem de Kooning, “Attic,” 1949; oil, enamel, and newspaper transfer on canvas

 

Reams have been written about Willem de Kooning’s work and his influence on the movement that came to be called Abstract Expressionism. Here is a good piece, and of course the obligatory Wikipedia entry. So in this post I’ll just put up a few images shamelessly appropriated from various sites, and I’ll sprinkle in bits about his life and some of my responses to the show and the work.

De Kooning, who died in 1997 in East Hampton, NY, was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands in 1904. He studied at the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts and Techniques for eight years, apprenticed and worked as a commercial artist in Rotterdam, and in 1926 left for the US, hiding as a stowaway in the engine room of freighter (!). In New York he met Arshile Gorky, and was soon part of the New York art scene.

The exhibition at MoMA starts with some early, traditional still lifes dating from his years in Rotterdam and traces his work until his final years in East Hampton. The show includes paintings and drawings and, starting in the 1970s, sculptures and prints.

De Kooning’s work always straddled figuration and abstraction; he talked about how “even abstract shapes must have a likeness.” In Fire Island (1946) there are recognizable biomorphic shapes, all floating in abstract space:

“Fire Island,” 1946, oil on paper, 20″x27″

By the way, here is a painting by Arshile Gorky, also at MoMA, from roughly the same time (1947); the image can also be found on MoMA’s site. Similar shapes, but the space Gorky creates is much more spare than in de Kooning’s piece. And of course de Kooning’s use of color really jumps at you when you compare the two works.

Arshile Gorky, “Summation,” 1947; pencil, pastel and charcoal on paper, 6′ 7″ x 8′ 5″

De Kooning said that he wanted to put as much in a painting as he could. Attic, shown at the top of this post, illustrates that: marks and shapes fill the space. Excavation (1950), his largest painting to that time, is another good example. Think of it as the site of an archeological dig:

“Excavation,” 1950; oil on canvas, 81″ x 100″

 

And yes, the all-overness of the composition that would become the hallmark of the work by other abstract expressionists is already there.

Pink Angels (1945) is considered the start of de Kooning’s figurative paintings, the focus of his work for a decade. What draws me to this body of work is not just the composition (shapes, color, arrangement), but also the use of charcoal and pencil marks onto to the painted surface. Not only do those marks make the image vibrate, they also break up the space and emphasize the continuity between figure and ground. Later paintings used the same idea, but the lines and marks were created with the brush. Are these paintings, or drawings, or both?

This exploration continued for him through his drawings and paintings in the Woman series in the early fifties; it was gone by the mid fifties, to be replaced by his large, gestural paintings that had collectors tripping all over themselves. For me, however, that is the point in the exhibition where the work became uninteresting. Beautiful, but uninteresting. The anxious, frantic, active mark-making, which unified the painting and penetrated all its layers, was gone.

“Pink Angels,” c. 1945; oil and charcoal on canvas, 52″x40″

 

In Pink Angels the lines don’t just serve as outlines; they’re starting to define, break up space and unify form and ground. This became much more prominent in the Woman series; here is an example:

“Woman with a Bicycle,” 1953, oil on canvas, 6′ 4″ x 4′ 1″

 

A lot has been written about the psychological content of the Woman series, and the work certainly shocked the New York public when it was exhibited. Fine. But what interests me more is de Kooning’s use of lines and painted shapes, the seeming jumble of lines crossing in and out of painted shapes, breaking them up and helping define them. Yep, drawing.

Starting in the mid to late fifties de Kooning’s interest shifted to large-scale landscapes, and his mark-making changed. Expansive brush strokes create equally expansive shapes, as in Park Rosenberg (1957) and Door to the River (1960) below (images from this website):

“Park Rosenberg,” 1957; oil on canvas, 80″x70″
“Door to the River,” 1960, oil on canvas, 80″x70″

 

I’ll continue this in another post; but I’d like to quote this paragraph from this site about de Kooning’s legacy:

Although undoubtedly an equal of Jackson Pollock in talent and achievement, de Kooning’s work has proved less influential. His achievement was to blend Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism, and he did so with astonishing power throughout a career remarkable for its consistent high quality. Yet as artists’ concerns moved away from those of modernism, his work seemed less relevant, and for a generation of less macho, more Pop-influenced artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, de Kooning represented the epitome of the grand heroics they distrusted. Rauschenberg himself would express their distance from him most powerfully – and famously – when he purchased a drawing by de Kooning, erased it, and exhibited the result as his own artwork (Erased de Kooning Drawing, (1953)).

To be continued.