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Letter from the Editors

At the time of Ad Reinhardt’s early death in 1967 he was best known for his seminal black paintings, which had become recognized as forerunners of new artistic developments of the moment, such as Minimalism and Conceptualism. It is only now that the many and varied aspects of his career and life are becoming the focus of intense scrutiny and debate.

“Thou Shall Not”

I’m not a theoretician and I’m not a historian and I’ve never spoken about someone who was dead before.

Mark Rothko

Postcards from Ad Reinhardt to Mark Rothko, 1965–56. Courtesy James E.B. Breslin Research Archive on Mark Rothko, 1940-93, Getty Research Institute, Research Library.

Reinhardt, Mondrian, and Color

Ad Reinhardt’s tongue in cheek statement that he went “beyond Mondrian” is rarely taken at face value.

Ad Reinhardt in Los Angeles

In a note to Betty Parsons, Reinhardt mused about his upcoming exhibition at Virginia Dwan’s Westwood gallery, his very first solo show in Los Angeles, while highlighting its seemingly apocalyptic timing.

Ad Reinhardt and the Via Negativa

Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968), Robert Lax (1915 – 2000) and Ad Reinhardt (1913 – 1967), who became lifelong friends, met in 1935 at Columbia University while working for the Jester, the school’s humor magazine.

Maybe I’m Just Simple, Real, and Human After All

My title is a sentence Ad Reinhardt wrote toward the end of one of his writings called “The Artist in Search of an Academy, Part Two: Who are the Artists?” It’s nine o’clock on a Sunday.

On a Painting by Ad Reinhardt

The title caption is inscribed on the back of the painting in Reinhardt's own hand, "Abstract Painting Number 87."

Time is (Not) Money

Despite Reinhardt’s own celebrations of timelessness, critics recognized the importance of time to looking at his paintings. It takes time for the subtle differences of the black paintings in particular to emerge.

Donald Judd

Here’s a speech I made last week in a Michigan museum, last month in a Wisconsin art center, last spring in a California museum and last year in two places in New Jersey. You know anything about New Jersey?

How to Ride a Spiral

If Ad Reinhardt had not made the black paintings would we be here today?

On Demand

Ad Reinhardt’s series of black paintings far predate Kaufman’s vertical hold (and its later Carrey incarnation) but fundamentally share in its desire for content to foil its mediation.

Ad Reinhardt: My gadfly and my friend

Ad Reinhardt was my personal gadfly, and he had much to goad, since I was an avid devotee of Abstract Expressionism and a member in good standing of “the boys,” Philip Pavia’s term for de Kooning’s coterie, condemned by Ad as “impure.”

Ping/Pong: Lucy Lippard and Barbara Rose talk about Reinhardt

Don’t you find it odd that two very young women did the first serious writing about Reinhardt? My explanation is that he managed to be so far outside the accepted New York School macho man stereotype that he made no gender distinctions, just intellectual and moral distinctions, which is one reason I was drawn to his writing and personality.

Ad Locum: Reinhardt’s Negative Politics of Place

Ad Reinhardt’s proposed leaflet for an art-strike in 1961 showcases the painter’s Rabelaisian affection for lists, as well as a vivid sample of the artist’s disaffection with the art world.

Ad Reinhardt in Print

A typical Reinhardt-Hess office conversation, easygoing at first, would accelerate to a flurry of pronouncements, rebuttals, and arguments centering on one or another recent art event.

Ad Reinhardt / Sol Lewitt

As early as 1963, Ad Reinhardt had been flagged as “the intellectual pivot of the new art” that did, in fact, follow.

Ad Reinhardt’s PM Work

An acknowledged pioneer in American abstract painting, in the mid-1940s Ad Reinhardt was also a journalist.

Attention: Fragile

Ad Reinhardt would willingly agree: it is easier to talk about his paintings in negatives than in positives.

Existententialist Negation

Reinhardt’s paintings do not stand apart from the history of art by the fact of their nihilations but only by the sheer quantity of those.

The Sense of an Ending

The convergence of the death of Arthur Danto, the invitation to write something for the Rail on the 100th anniversary of Ad Reinhardt’s birth, and the first anniversary of Superstorm Sandy has set me thinking about Ends.

Reading Ad Reinhardt

In the last years of his life, Ad Reinhardt ceaselessly repainted the same painting, adopting the same structure and applying shades of the same color on the same surface.

The Radicality of Reinhardt

The stunning extremism of Reinhardt’s late work signifies a radical attenuation of the pictorial and material means of post-Cubist abstraction.

Ad Reinhardt and the Whiteness of the Whale

In Chapter 42 of Moby Dick, Ishmael arrives by apprehensive steps at a disquieting thought: “the whiteness of the whale” makes tangible the deathly void that lurks beneath the world’s appearances.

Learning about Asian Art from Ad Reinhardt

As an historian of Chinese art, I find it hard to know just how to respond to Ad Reinhardt’s essays on the subject.


Table of Contents

Artists on Ad

Ad and Artists

Ad's Thoughts and Practices

Ad Around the World

Ad and Spirituality

Black Paintings


The Brooklyn Rail


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