By Nick Stolle
In 1964, after being notified of his selection as the winner of the Guggenheim International Award, Asger Jorn sent the following telegram to Harry Guggenheim:
‘GO TO HELL WITH YOUR MONEY BASTARD –STOP- REFUSE PRICE –STOP- NEVER ASKED FOR IT –STOP- AGAINST ALL DECENCY MIX ARTIST AGAINST HIS WILL IN YOUR PUBLICITY –STOP- I WANT PUBLIC CONFIRMATION NOT TO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN YOUR RIDICULOUS GAME –STOP-‘
Very sporting, then, of the museum to include Jorn in their recently closed wide-sweeping survey of international abstraction from 1949-1960, Art Of Another Kind. Very fortunate for patrons, as well, as the Jorns on display in the show are knockouts- ferocious, muscly, indignant howls of paintings which echo the brash poetics of the sneering telegram.
Also wonderful to see on display were the more polite, considered, dreamy takes on gestural abstraction from Japanese-American painters Kenzo Okada and Yutaka Ohashi. These pictures, for me, feel remarkably fresh, surprising even, in their lightness and uncompromised beauty.
“Art of Another Kind: International Abstraction and the Guggenheim, 1949-1960,” Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY. The exhibition closed on September 12, 2012, but the website is terrific (although sort of Flash crazy), and the a video about the exhibition is online here.
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