Saturday, April 16, 2011

Review: De Kooning: Paintings, 1960-1980

De Kooning: Paintings, 1960-1980De Kooning: Paintings, 1960-1980 by Willem De Kooning

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The writing is the usual put-together job in a exhibition catalog. Not terrible, just sort of "critic-y" if you get my meaning, and some of the more juicy biographical details are glossed over. I have read this book once before at some point.

There is a well-chosen selection of 84 color plates. De Kooning is a well-loved well-hated artist. He has a way of making a painting make itself happen, inviting as much chaos and unresolved visual issues and handling of paint into a painting and reworking it continuously while keeping it looking like it has been painted with no effort, and releasing it into the world at some arbitrary point: his works are always unfinished, or cannot be finished. Then again, he can pare down his expression to a few gestures austere and simple, like his black and white paintings and his late ribbon paintings. Over the years he has won me over. So I enjoyed looking at the plates. Every time I look at his work I see something new. (If he's not your cup of tea, you may find this book less interesting, or even appalling.)

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