Expatriate dreams / Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Feb 1995 / Art In America / Brooks Adams »

Cy Twombly. Venus, 1975



[1.] See Kirk Varnedoe, Cy Twombly: A Restrospective, New York, Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p. 11. [2.] Twombly owns a series of Kline drawings from 1952. See David Anfam, Franz Kline. Black & White, 1950-1961, Houston, The Mental Collection Fine Art Press, 1994, pp. 50-52. [3.] Varnedoe, Cy Twombly, p. 57, note 59. [4.] Ibid., p. 55, note 43. [5.] Ibid., p. 59, note 72. [6.] Ibid., p. 20. [7.] Ibid., p. 63, note 154. [8.] Twombly's recent press has been mixed. See, for example, Michael Kimmelman in the New York Times, Sept. 23,1994: "There is a place for Mr. Twombly in the group of America's leading postwar abstractionists, just not at the front" In New York Magazine, Oct. 3, 1994, Mark Stevens prudently compared Twombly the expatriate esthete to Whistler. In New York Magazine, Oct. 10, 1994, Stevens's article was answered by a letter from Morley Safer, co-editor of 60 Minutes, who had attacked Twombly's work in the infamous 1993 program segment on the art world. Safer asked: "Was this a review or a compulsive act of social climbing?" and went on to accuse Stevens of engaging in "some shaky art history when he suggests that Cy Twombly is the James Abbott McNeil Whistler of his day." Stevens replied by correcting Safer's spelling of "cognoscenti." In "Best & Worst, 1994," Artforum, December 1994, David Sylvester opined: "Cy Twombly's retrospective at New York's Museum of Modem Art makes it clear that he is one of the true greats of 20th-century art--in the same league among gestural painters as Pollock and de Kooning." In the same wrap-up, Klaus Kertess found the Twombly show to be both the best and worst show of the year. "Twombly may well have supplanted Jasper Johns as a paradigm for emerging painters.... So, if I now write that the Twombly exhibition was also the worst that I saw in the last year, it is to bemoan the exhibition's incompleteness. As beautifully selected as the individual paintings largerly are, I regret the sparse selection of drawings, when drawing has obviously been such a critical and beautiful part of Twombly's undertaking." [9.] Varnedoe, Cy Twombly, p. 58, note 64. [10.] See Kirk Varnedoe, "Your Kid Could Not Do This, and Other Reflections on Cy Twombly," MoMA Magazine, Fall/Winter 1994. [11.] Twombly's sculptures have particularly close affinities with works by Fausto Melotti from 1960-63. See The Italian Metamorphosis, 1943-1968, New York, Guggenheim Museum Publications, 1994, pp. 167-79. [12.] For an early appearance of the boat motif, see Heiner Bastian, Catalogue Raisonne of the Paintings, Volume I, 1948-60, Munich, Schirmer/Mosel, 1992, pp. 198-99. [13.] See James Leggio, "Robert Rauschenberg's Bed and the Symbolism of the Body," in Studies in Modem Art 2. Essays on Assemblage, New York, Museum of Modem Art, 199 2, p. 85. For the Roni Feinstein reference, see Kirk Varnedoe and Adam Gopnik, High & Low: Modem Art and Popular Culture, New York, Museum of Modern Art, 1990, p. 417, note 34. [14.] Varnedoe, Cy Twombly, p. 51.


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