In conversation a few years ago, Richard Serra and the art historian Hal Foster spoke about the psychological effect of the sculpture that Serra had been making since the first torqued ellipses.
As Mary Heilmanns retrospective has traveled around the country (the New Museum is its fourth venue), certain facts and telling details have merged into a nearly universal characterization. Heilmann has been painting geometric abstract canvases for about forty years.
Forty-one-year-old Anne Truitt had worked for about ten years as a figurative, expressionist sculptor in eclectic media when, in 1961, she had her first encounter with the paintings of Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt. From that point on she focused on painted wood sculpture, attempting to make three-dimensional her experience of color from her earlier paintings.
No building is more organic than this inverse digestive tract, Robert Smithson wrote of the Guggenheim Museum in 1966. The ambulatories are metaphorically intestines. It is a concrete stomach. Smithson meant this diagnosis to sound graveprobably deadlyand he may have been willing to risk hyperbole to get his point across. No doubt Frank Lloyd Wright built with an organic metaphor in mind, but this metaphor was not as specific as Smithson would have it, nor were Wrights results so visceral.
One of the most continuous experiences a New Yorker can have of a natural feature of the landscape is on a train going up the Hudson to Albany-Rensselaer, the station closest to the Center for Land Use Interpretation’s east-coast outpost in Troy.