Kooning


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Kooning

Willem de . 1904--97, US abstract expressionist painter, born in Holland
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There's a wonderful series of Dan Budnik photographs where de Kooning painted a picture for him in the studio and you can see he starts with a few lines, and it's a little hard to be quite sure what's going on, but then on that very basic framework de Kooning starts to lay out these big marks.
The most recent examination of these heady years is Mark Stevens's and Annalyn Swan's biography, De Kooning: An American Master, a thorough, well-written, and even-handed account that is at once an unvarnished portrait of an individual and an informative study of the New York art world that he helped to shape and that shaped him.
Students were to paint a figurative work of art using de Kooning's uninhibited method of painting.
De Kooning did not so much paint the seat, in the way that a handyman might, as put paint on it, in a way that raises issues of connoisseurship.
Vicente once shared a studio with de Kooning, and like his East Hampton neighbor, he was taken with the Long Island light and landscape.
From the choices and juxtapositions of works, to the installation and flow of the galleries, to the heavyweight and definitive catalogue, everything about this show comes together to clear the way--from here on out--for de Kooning at MoMA, with or without the likes of Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, and Clyfford Still (whose paintings were much more useful than de Kooning's for extending the museum's presentation of modernist purification--a narrative that, in the end, told only part of the story).
Willem de Kooning once pronounced that "Style is a fraud," adding, "I always felt the Greeks were hiding behind their columns." Confronted with the restless array of styles found in the twenty-seven drawings on view in this significant and wholly engrossing show, one was tempted to swivel one's head in disbelief.
"De Kooning: A Retrospective," the recently concluded exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art, organized by curator emeritus John Flderfield, avoided these mistakes.
The past twenty years have brought us major retrospectives of the work of Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko, but the last de Kooning retrospective was back in 1983, at the Whitney.
De Kooning's swaths of beloved oil, Rothko's respiring chroma, Pollock's poured arabesques--all were renounced, as if too rich for Twombly's blood.
Goldberg's series also underscores his marked shift in attitude away from the fluent blandishments of Rothko and de Kooning, and toward something irresilient, a new mode favoring the grittiness of decrepit apartment walls--those palimpsests of broad-brushed, cheap oil- and lead-based house paints that dry and flake over time, and ultimately seem to personify tenement toxicity and pervasive poverty.
Expressionism and Surrealism had already converged in Abstract Expressionism, particularly Willem de Kooning's, but Condo's integration of them produces even more absurdly (and comically) monstrous and menacing figures than de Kooning's women.