(detail of canvas edge) Al Held, Ivan the Terrible, 1961, acrylic on canvas 144 x 114 inches (photo: Paul Behnke)
Paul Behnke blogs about the striking physicality of Al Held's Alphabet Paintings, on view at Cheim & Read, New York through April 20, 2013.
Behnke writes: "an aspect of the work that was particularly meaningful to me - the edges of the canvas where they wrap around the stretchers. These random details are important to me for a couple of reasons. First of all, the haphazard smudges and smears emphasize the painterliness of these humongous works. This was my first look at these paintings 'in the flesh' and I was surprised at the extent to which the artist's hand was evident. The sides of the canvas, along with brush marks, and the often thick, clotted, and revised surfaces force the paintings to inhabit a no - man's land between minimal, hard edged, conceptually driven work and a more improvazational approach most often associated with the New York School that brings process to the fore."
Paul Behnke photoblogs the recent exhibition The Lure of Paris at Loretta Howard Gallery, New York. The show highlights the lesser known influence of Paris on mid-century American artists and features work by Biala, Norman Bluhm, Ed Clark, Harold Cousins, Beauford Delaney, Sam Francis, Shirley Goldfarb, Cleve Gray, Al Held, Shirley Jaffe, Conrad Marca-Relli, Joan Mitchell, Jules Olitski, Milton Resnick, Jean-Paul Riopelle, George Sugarman, and Jack Youngerman.
Sol Ostrow writes in the catalogue: "In the 1950s, with the triumph of the New York School, the United States for the first time in history had produced visual art of international consequence. Yet, artists from the United States and from all over Europe continued to flock to Paris just as the center of the western art world was shifting to New York... Their reasons varied. Some saw it as an opportunity to be cosmopolitan or to satisfy their wanderlust; others may have imagined the Paris of Le Jazz Hot, café society, and the romance of the pre-war avant-garde, or the chance to see works by Vuillard, Bonnard, Matisse, etc., that they knew only from black and white reproductions. In most cases the women artists had accompanied their significant others, while like the generation before them, the Afro-American artists, sought to escape the racism that was endemic in the States."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.