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On my last real cultural outing before absconding from New York to Portland, a friend of mine and I visited the MoMA QNS — the temporary gallery open to the public while the main MoMA building underwent reconstruction. I found myself utterly transfixed in front of a white on white canvas. Standing there, I felt something grasping at my throat which placed me in an almost pleasant paralysis. What I had encountered was Barnett Newman's painting The Voice.
A few months later, my friend sent me a copy of Barnett Newman, a book that includes an extensive catalogue of Newman's works as well as two essays by Ann Temkin and Richard Schiff that place Newman among his contemporaries of the New York School such as Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollack. For me, Newman's paintings, with their characteristic vertical stripe — or zip — touch upon the sublime; and musing over them I am reduced to interior movement, bereft of adequate language, I am at once stirred and calm. Although I'm grateful for the essays, what I return to in this book again and again is the meditative space that the color plates of Newman's work afford me. Indeed, in some of my darkest or most reflective times I find solace in these reproductions of 18 Cantos, The Stations of the Cross, and Vir Heroicus Sublimis, to name a few.
Synopses & Reviews
Barnett Newman (1905-1970) was one of the most profound and influential artists of the twentieth century. A master of expansive spatial effects and evocative color, he pioneered painting that was both abstract and emotive, suffused with powerful philosophical and spiritual meaning. This landmark book surveys the breadth of Newman's career from his founding role in the New York School in the 1940s to his key influence on both minimalism and conceptual art in the 1960s. Featuring more than 100 of his paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures, the book also offers significant new scholarly findings based on the archives of the Barnett Newman Foundation.
Despite the apparent simplicity of his signature, the "zip, " Newman's art is richly complicated and unexpectedly diverse. His works include such masterpieces as Onement 1 (1948), the series Stations of the Cross (1958-66), and the monumental sculpture Broken Obelisk (1967). Each work of art in this book is reproduced in full color and accompanied by its own entry. A comprehensive chronology of the artist's life based on new documentation, a selected bibliography, and a selected exhibition history complete the volume.
This landmark book surveys the breadth of artist Newman's career, from his founding role in the New York School in the 1940s to his key influence on both minimalism and conceptual art in the 1960s. 3 8-page gatefolds. Over 300 illustrations.
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