I’m in New York this weekend, and having a number of strong experiences with art. Titles are still in the forefront after I saw Gareth James’ show at Miguel Abreu, but must swerve away from that topic to respond to the De Kooning retrospective at MoMA.
I first saw examples of De Kooning’s late painting in Portland in 1997, when I was there for a show of my Mt. Baker works. Kitty Scott, Judith Mastai and I visited the Portland art museum. There were three pictures, and they played a major role in my return to painting later that year. What I saw in those works was the fearless creation of a new idiom, and also how each piece achieved its own feeling and thoughts, entirely abstractly. The last room in the MoMA De Kooning show had plenty of diversity, but the effect I’m describing was the stronger in Portland in that the three works seemed quite similar to each other. In any case, since then I have only been interested in De Kooning post 1980, until now.
I went to this show only expecting to take an interest in the late works, but alas!…they looked weak.