S.S. Shelley

While moseying around New York at the end of our Gravity tour last week I headed over to MoMA to see if I could get a peek at the new Willem de Kooning retrospective. I don't know much about him other than he was part of the New York group of painters usually lumped in with Pollock, loosely called "abstract expressionists." I've also heard rumors that this particular show is valued at $4billion (!) and I will admit, as someone who has recently learned a thing or two in museum show budgeting/insurance, I was a little intrigued by what a show worth $4billion would look like....

The answer is: AMAZING! One of the things I've learned as a part of the Nervousfilms crew is that all of the artists I come across never want things to be easy. They want things to be difficult, to be pushing the boundaries of their capabilities and to constantly be propelling forward in craft and form. I don't think I have ever seen an exhibit (except maybe the Miro one in London) that you could so visibily see the strange growth and pushing into the future that, in my opinion, is the mark of true artistic genius. With style, color, shape and layering (and the eventual pulling back of these things) you can trace the ways in which the artist was searching for a new way of expression proving that de Kooning really took painting into a whole new realm.


This is the first major retrospective of this incredible painter which I kind of can not believe?! Even his biography (coming to America from Rotterdam as a vagrant stowaway, starting his New York creative career as a sign painter & window dresser, sharing a studio with Arshile Gorky, working for the Federal Art Project, becoming a recognized member of art history) is so bouyant, an example of a creative American dream, that makes me wonder why this kind of museum validation has taken so long? Either way it is finally here in the form of a breathtaking exhibit by a real master- go see it! These poorly scanned postcards are not right to have put up here! Bah!


 

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