Comments on: Re-View: Onnasch Collection http://abstractcritical.com/article/re-view-onnasch-collection/ Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: John Link http://abstractcritical.com/article/re-view-onnasch-collection/#comment-344524 Sun, 22 Dec 2013 02:08:04 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7640#comment-344524 I congratulate David Sweet and his eye for seeing the difference between the two Morris Louis pictures. Myself, I would be harder on GAMMA IOTA than he was, but what the heck. It is rare to find such discrimination that goes to specific work, rather than type.

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By: Sam http://abstractcritical.com/article/re-view-onnasch-collection/#comment-300027 Thu, 14 Nov 2013 08:13:01 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7640#comment-300027 I enjoyed that Patrick! (but are you sure you meant John Maine?)

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By: John Bunker http://abstractcritical.com/article/re-view-onnasch-collection/#comment-299662 Thu, 14 Nov 2013 01:18:01 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7640#comment-299662 Best art history lesson I’ve had in years! Uplifting stuff Patrick!
Cheers!

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/article/re-view-onnasch-collection/#comment-299497 Wed, 13 Nov 2013 21:31:27 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7640#comment-299497 Well said, Patrick; and a few points taken.

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By: Patrick Jones http://abstractcritical.com/article/re-view-onnasch-collection/#comment-299440 Wed, 13 Nov 2013 20:12:31 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7640#comment-299440 Well yes,Ill have a punt.I always sit down for these dreary discourses.Hopefully your readers at Abstract Critical are too young to remember the ghastly state of British Art before the 60s revolution,particularly in Sculpture I might add ,but painting was not much better.Im thinking of Ralph Brown,John Maine,Reg Butler etc.All the corduroy jacketed ,pipe smoking ,leather patched pious-keepers of the national morality loved talking about content in the same tone of”IM better than you” ism that is lurking in the dark corridors of this website.No wonder that Tony Caro went off to America to get a bigger perspective,found your two dimensional David Smith.Despite his lack of 3d vision ,I still get a huge amount of enjoyment and succour from his life and work,just as I do from Louis,of whom little is known personally.I have spent my life fighting off the depressingly puritan hair shirt philosophy of English Art to embrace something more international,universal and fun.Which is why I miss John Hoyland so much for he could be wickedly funny about the academy ,wherever it happened to appear,not just in Piccadilly.American Art from the 60s broke a number of shackles and opened the eyes of Hoyland and Caro.Altho essentially eutopian in envisaging a better world,it remained for me a model of positivety and adventure,just as Paris gave scholarly legitimacy to the invention of late cubist Picasso ,Braque ,Miro ,which I also cannot envisage living,or painting without.

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By: Robin Greenwood http://abstractcritical.com/article/re-view-onnasch-collection/#comment-297233 Mon, 11 Nov 2013 22:17:13 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7640#comment-297233 John B. has elsewhere chided me for throwing stones in the glasshouse that is modernist abstract painting, but – better sit down Patrick – here’s a big fat brick. The two Morris Louis paintings in this show are good examples of beautiful sixties American consumer-objects-of-desire for the high-paid Mad-man (these days for the super-rich oligarch) who knows nothing about art, but knows what he likes in his deep-pile penthouse, and will pay way over the odds for it; a luxury goods item of high-exclusivity (the highest, if your artist goes and dies young); and, no matter Louis’s integrity of purpose and originality, and the high-minded romantic myth-making of his supporters, and, yes, the sheer beauty of his huge empty canvasses, he is nevertheless at the cold, cold heart of a big hollow empty resounding “clang” of content-free sixties designer-aesthetics emanating from Hauser and Wirth.

There are moments of respite, but brief ones; the colour in the big Frank Stella, despite the vapidity of the geometry, has a sniff of freedom about it (yes, more so than the ever-so-tasteful Louis). It’s badly painted and looking very grubby these days, if not positively seedy, but you can almost imagine on Franks behalf the rather charming desperation of having to mix up so many different colours for every goddamn shape. Tough call, eh, Frank; harder than filling them all in with black. And the colour ends up genuinely spatial, unlike the Louis.

The best bit of painting in the whole show, for me, comes from Rauschenberg’s “Pilgrim”, an early “combine” from 1960 that, were you to remove the chair and crop the top, would stand a half-decent chance of being good. I’ve always thought Robert Rauschenberg, out of all that generation, had one of the best talents, and it’s a shame he got caught up in the general Dada nonsense doing the rounds at Black Mountain College.

Better pass over the David Smith sculpture, which is easily mistaken in the photo for a painting, and never even engages first gear as anything remotely three-dimensional.

Lots of artists of my generation and a bit older have hankered after this period in the late fifties to sixties, seeing it as a golden age of abstract art tragically missed out on, over before they could get on board. But maybe they were lucky not to have gotten signed up for that particular trip, in the light of what now looks to be a decade characterised by easy-come aesthetics over content, and where quite a few high-profile artists seemed unable to sustain an ongoing career of discovery and renewal without either coming off the rails completely (Stella), getting stuck in a hit-and-miss signature style of far too limited a scope (Still), or driving themselves into a minimalist oblivion (Rothko). I exaggerate, as usual, but none of the work here really “does” anything very much. The two Nolands are dreadful. The two Stills are interesting only in so far as they demonstrate completely the maxim of “style over substance”. And so it was with so many artists from this period. They often did make limpidly beautiful works – go see the two Louis paintings down the road at Sprueth Magers; one a very, very boring “Veil”; the other – a “Gamma” – is the epitome of perfectly-judged cropping and tasteful colour coordination, a sublime object guaranteed to make you drool with envy for the age of such minimalist perfection. Yes, Louis is a minimalist, no question. But they all were, in a way. It’s a kind of death.

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By: Patrick Jones http://abstractcritical.com/article/re-view-onnasch-collection/#comment-294164 Sat, 09 Nov 2013 14:08:07 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7640#comment-294164 I feel sorry for David Sweet,that he should see such a galaxy of great art and derive such little visceral pleasure from it.The Louis,s alone would give me such delight,without Clifford Still ,Noland and Stella,let alone the David Smith which gets only a passing mention.I was nourished by such fare in the late 60s at the old Kasmin space as a student/ budding painter and unless the photos lie,Im bound to be wowed all over again.

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