Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Best friends

I'm envious of people in New York. Not because they get to play in the snow, but because they get to see "PEARLSTEIN/HELD: Five Decades" at Betty Cunningham Gallery.

I first heard about this show when I skimmed this morning's art section in the New York Times and read "Friends for Whom Space Was the Place" by Roberta Smith.

Smith's article was fascinating and the Times' slide show of selected works from the exhibit was wonderful, despite the images being very small. (If you think art as reproduced on a computer screen can be anything more than a tease to get you to see the real thing, you're sadly mistaken, which is why I envy people in New York or those anywhere else who are rich enough to hop on a plane and fly to NYC.)

In their heyday, Al Held and Phillip Pearlstein were polar opposites. Or so it seemed back when each in his own way departed from Abstract Expressionism to paint classical studio nudes (Pearlstein) and pure geometric abstraction (Held). Today their paintings look surprisingly similar, as Smith points out and the Betty Cunningham exhibition shows. Held doing with geometry exactly what Pearlstein does with the figure.

They were best of friends, and both were giants in post-painterly art. If you can see the show, I recommend that you do so; if you can't, at least check out the links I've provided to the gallery and the Times article.

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