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At the time of Ad Reinhardts 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.
Im not a theoretician and Im not a historian and Ive never spoken about someone who was dead before.
Postcards from Ad Reinhardt to Mark Rothko, 196556. Courtesy James E.B. Breslin Research Archive on Mark Rothko, 1940-93, Getty Research Institute, Research Library.
Ad Reinhardts tongue in cheek statement that he went beyond Mondrian is rarely taken at face value.
In a note to Betty Parsons, Reinhardt mused about his upcoming exhibition at Virginia Dwans Westwood gallery, his very first solo show in Los Angeles, while highlighting its seemingly apocalyptic timing.
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 schools humor magazine.
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? Its nine oclock on a Sunday.
The title caption is inscribed on the back of the painting in Reinhardt's own hand, "Abstract Painting Number 87."
Despite Reinhardts 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.
Heres 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?
If Ad Reinhardt had not made the black paintings would we be here today?
Ad Reinhardts series of black paintings far predate Kaufmans vertical hold (and its later Carrey incarnation) but fundamentally share in its desire for content to foil its mediation.
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 Pavias term for de Koonings coterie, condemned by Ad as impure.
Dont 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 Reinhardts proposed leaflet for an art-strike in 1961 showcases the painters Rabelaisian affection for lists, as well as a vivid sample of the artists disaffection with the art world.
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.
As early as 1963, Ad Reinhardt had been flagged as the intellectual pivot of the new art that did, in fact, follow.
An acknowledged pioneer in American abstract painting, in the mid-1940s Ad Reinhardt was also a journalist.
Ad Reinhardt would willingly agree: it is easier to talk about his paintings in negatives than in positives.
Reinhardts 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 convergence of the death of Arthur Danto, the invitation to write something for the Rail on the 100th anniversary of Ad Reinhardts birth, and the first anniversary of Superstorm Sandy has set me thinking about Ends.
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 stunning extremism of Reinhardts late work signifies a radical attenuation of the pictorial and material means of post-Cubist abstraction.
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 worlds appearances.
As an historian of Chinese art, I find it hard to know just how to respond to Ad Reinhardts essays on the subject.