Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Absence of Shadows in Art from the Nineteen Sixties

Roy Lichtenstein
Wall Explosion II
enamel on steel
Tate Gallery

Ellsworth Kelly
Yellow over Dark Blue
Tate Gallery

Patrick Caulfield
Bathroom Mirror
Tate Gallery

At the Museum of Modern Art

At the Museum of Modern Art you can sit in the lobby
on the foam-rubber couch; you can rest and smoke,
and view whatever the revolving doors express.
You don't have to go into the galleries at all.

In this arena the exhibits are free and have all
the surprises of art – besides something extra:
sensory restlessness, the play of alternation,
expectation in an incessant spray

thrown from heads, hands, the tendons of ankles.
The shifts and strollings of feet
engender compositions on the shining tiles,
and glide together and pose gambits,

gestures of design, that scatter, rearrange,
trickle into lines, and turn clicking through a wicket
into rooms where caged colors blotch the walls.
You don't have to go to the movie downstairs

to sit on red plush in the snow and fog
of old-fashioned silence. You can see contemporary
Garbos and Chaplins go by right here.
And there's a mesmeric experimental film

constantly reflected on the side of the wide
steel-plate pillar opposite the crenellated window.
Non-objective taxis surging west, on Fifty-third,
liquefy in slippery yellows, dusky crimsons,

pearly mauves – an accelerated sunset, a roiled
surf, or cloud-curls undulating – their tubular ribbons
elongations of the coils of light itself
(engine of color) and motion (motor of form).

– May Swenson, from To Mix With Time (Scribner's, 1963)

John Chamberlain
painted steel
Tate Gallery

Karel Appel
Tate Gallery

Mary Fedden
Red Still-life
oil paint on canvas
Tate Gallery

Leon Golub
Wounded Sphinx
Tate Gallery

Harold Cohen
Before the Event
oil paint and tempera on canvas
Tate Gallery

Bernard Cohen
Matter of Identity I
oil paint, tempera and metallic paint on canvas
Tate Gallery

William Gillies
Still-life with Blue Gloves
watercolour on paper
Tate Gallery

Henri Hayden
Tate Gallery

Stephen Willats
Drawing for a Project No. 12
graphite and gouache on paper
Tate Gallery

"Someone said that Brecht wanted everybody to think alike.  I want everybody to think alike.  But Brecht wanted to do it through Communism, in a way.  Russia is doing it under government.  It's happening here all by itself without being under a strict government; so if it's working without trying, why can't it work without being a Communist?  Everybody looks alike and acts alike, and we're getting more and more that way."

– Andy Warhol, from What is Pop Art? (published in ARTnews, November 1963)

E.L.T. Mesens
The Staff
watercolour and collage on board
Tate Gallery

Joseph Beuys
oil paint, watercolour and collage on card
Tate Gallery