Arts MAN Is Right
posted by November 14 at 17:30 PMon
Blake Gopnik’s review of the Morris Louis retrospective at the High is terrific. Read it all the way to the end; Gopnik thoroughly wrests this fascinating painter away from the cold dead formalist hands of Clement Greenberg once and for all. He makes a case for Louis as a performer, a conceptualist, and generally an action painter unlike the others. The fact that nobody knows how the suburban Louis actually made his works is a fruitful mystery.
I’m a total Louis junkie, so I’m sympathetic. The pieces just grab me. Seattle Art Museum has a single Louis in its collection, given by (who else?!) Virginia and Bagley Wright. (They showed it at their space on Dexter a couple of years ago.) It is Alpha Mu, from 1961, the year before Louis’s untimely death, and it measures a glorious 8 1/2-by-13 1/2 feet. I don’t have an image of it, but it is one of the ones with an expanse of blank canvas at its center. Here’s another of those, and some more Louis. (And thanks, MAN.)
This is Alpha-Phi, also from 1961, at the Tate.
This is in the High show, dating the same year.