In the Tower: Barnett Newman at the National Gallery of Art

"First Station" by Barnett Newman, 1958

“First Station” by Barnett Newman, 1958 (via technart)

 

Itching to get to D.C. for this Barnett Newman show before it closes in February 2013.

Newman was one of the major abstract expressionists and color field painters. He’s probably best known for his “zips,” thin vertical lines that separate single-hue sections of color, a trademark of his work from the mid-1940s on. As the National Gallery notes, though, Newman did not see the lines as division: “I feel that my zip does not divide my paintings. I feel it does the exact opposite.”

Newman’s ambitious 14-piece “Stations of the Cross” series serves as the centerpiece of the National Gallery exhibit. While other works of art that reference the same subject tend to be narrative-driven, Newman’s paintings are all abstract, aiming not to tell a story but rather to embody an expression “of each man’s agony.” They strive to address a moral crisis that Newman believed artists faced after World War II: “What are we going to paint?”

Judging by this collection of gorgeous 6-1/2′ x 5′ paintings, it seems Newman managed to produce a powerful answer to that question.

Comments

One Response to “In the Tower: Barnett Newman at the National Gallery of Art”

  1. Hello Paul,
    I am very excited to hear that Barnett Newman is being showed again, at the Tower Gallery.
    I love Newman’s work, to which I have been exposed as a graduate student of art, in Cal. State University / Northridge in the 80′s.
    Newman was the center of a reseach I did in my studies. I have a big catalogue of his work that was published some years ago, in Philadelphia at a retrospective on him. I have been thinking a lot about these Stations, their origin and dedication. I think I developed a special understanding for him and his work,
    Please note the verbal inrtoduction to the exhibition.

    If we meet again sometime, I’d love to talk to you about Barnett Newman

    Enjoy the exhibition
    Havi from Israel

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