June 10, 2008

Resnick's resonance

Milton Resnick: "Art is not a learning process. It is the very reverse of learning.It is the unhinging of your soul from your sight."

In The Brooklyn Rail Tom Micchelli puts Resnick's paintings, on view at Cheim & Read, in their proper historic context. "More than a painter’s painter, Resnick (1917-2004) was an artist’s artist whose radical aesthetic drove him to extremes of spiritual purity in his work and genuine indifference, even hostility, to the makings of a career. As the youngest member of the original Abstract Expressionist vanguard, he has often been overlooked as a part of that generation—most recently, and inexplicably, by the current'Action/Abstraction' show at the Jewish Museum—even though he belonged to the 8th Street Club and worked in close contact with Willem de Kooning, Philip Pavia, Franz Kline and others during the late 1940s and early 1950s....A fundamental difference becomes apparent between Resnick’s achievement and that of his AbEx peers. His paintings never reach a point of classical resolution (like de Kooning, Rothko or Newman) or a sensation of release (like Pollock, Kline or Still); rather, they feel suspended in a condition of precarious vulnerability. Their embrace of instability and their undertow of harrowing randomness (even at their most joyously colored) feel as contemporary as the Deconstructivist designs of Coop Himmelb(l)au and Peter Eisenman. The first artist I thought of when I saw the epic “Swan” (1961; from the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth) was not de Kooning, Pollock or Kline, but Mark Bradford, who was born the year it was painted." Read more.

"Milton Resnick: A Question of Seeing, Paintings 1958-1963," Cheim & Read, New York, NY. Through June 20.

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