“Morris Louis Now: An American Master Revisited,” Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC. Through Jan. 6. Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, Feb. 17–May 6, 2007.
Back in the sixties, Morris Louis developed an innovative method of painting by “staining” his unprimed canvases with thinned washes of acrylic pigments, and was one of the founders of the DC-based Color Field movement. This exhibition is the first retrospective of his work since 1986. Blake Gopnik reports in the Washington Post that “Louis is catching up, after decades of neglect. The Hirshhorn retrospective makes a case for Louis as an even better artist than we knew. The paintings in the show are good enough, at first gawk, to get us looking. At second, third . . . 100th look, they continue to pan out. It’s not only that they’re better abstractions than we might have imagined. They actually make us realize that many of our notions about abstract art are wrong. The ideas that abstraction first came packaged with may be tired, but the works — like all really good art — are strong enough to make us think again.” Read more.