As David Reed says, "Hard times are good times for painting."
The exhibit High Times Hard Times New York Paintings 1967–1975 features over forty significant works by thirty artists and is on view at the National Academy Museum until April 22, 2007. Curator Katy Siegel and David Reed, who served as the exhibit’s advisor, discuss the work and artists included in this broad survey of experimental abstract painting in an encouraging interview published in the Brooklyn Rail, the magazine of art criticism and discussion by Phong Bui.
Here are a couple short excerpts:
Siegel: Even though Gerhard Richter probably didn’t see Jack Whitten’s paintings; Fabian didn’t know about Joe Overstreet. But I think what it shows you is how fresh and how relevant this painting is. Younger painters who have seen the catalogue and people who have seen the show in North Carolina and Washington are very excited to see all this work. It gives them a history to think about. And as far as painting being an ongoing dialogue, I think that’s absolutely true, especially to those who are open and receptive to new possibilities and insights. For instance, in Jessica Stockholder’s show a few years ago at Gorney Bravin Lee, where, along with her own work (part of the history of two/three dimensional playing), she included many works by her friends and artists she admired. In her show were paintings by Marilyn Minter, who makes shimmering realistic images, along with abstract paintings by David Reed and James Siena. Usually the web of connections isn’t so explicit, but they are always implicit, packed into the work itself; in Lisa Yuskavage’s or Dana Schutz’s or Carrie Moyer’s paintings, you see all kinds of historical references (whether to Piero della Francesca or Ernst Kirchner or Jules Olitski), kinship with their contemporaries, and interest in a million other images and experiences that do not belong to painting. The dialogue of painting is not the only one for these artists, just like your relationship with your father and mother isn’t just your only important relationship.
Brooklyn Rail: ... The painting in the show is not just a discourse about and among painting, per se, but painting resulting and reflecting from all mediums and fields of disciplines, including all of the things that were part of the beginning of the consuming and technological culture of the ’60s.
Siegel: So the emphatically missing word here is that it’s not “New York School” painting, it’s New York painting; that’s another important distinction.
Reed: It’s a good time for painting when it is under stress, when it is questioned and doubted, even for social and political reasons. That is when painting has to prove itself, when you get the best work. Hard times are good times for painting.
Go read the entire piece at: http://brooklynrail.org/2007-02/art/seigel-reed.
The Brooklyn Rail is always worth a read, check out their website and keep up on new and extraordinary art in NYC.