Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ad Reinhardt's Cartoons

Robert Boyd

Exciting news!

Ad Reinhardt, "How to Look at Modern Art in America," published in P.M., 1946

Ad Reinhardt was an abstract painter whose work was severe, serious, and minimal. He's known for paintings of three by three squares painted subtly different shades of black. But he also had a career as a cartoonist, doing political cartoons and illustrations for P..M. and other publications. Now here is the weird part--as a painter, he was always very austere and humorless. He had a credo that didn't allow him to like any but the most advanced, content-free modernist work. And at the same time, he drew humorous, clever work for publication. It apparently never occurred to him that the instincts that fed his cartoon work could have a place in his painting at all. On the contrary, this is the guy who wrote:
The one thing to say about art is that it is one thing. Art is art-as-art and everything else is everything else. Art as art is nothing but art. Art is not what is not art.
I'm excited that Zwirner is publishing Ad Reinhardt's "everything else." But why is a commercial gallery doing this and not a museum? It seems odd.


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