Magazine article Artforum International

Cy Twombly

Magazine article Artforum International

Cy Twombly

Article excerpt

GAGOSIAN GALLERY

Cy Twombly's Coronation of Sesostris, 2000, looks like ten paintings--a suite, perhaps, like The Four Seasons, 1993-94, which formed the coda to the artist's MOMA retrospective seven years ago--but he calls it a painting in ten parts. And aptly so: Each panel might not hold up as an individual, self-contained work, but the whole succeeds brilliantly, its throwaway eloquence burning as brightly in the breaks between canvases as in the constituent parts themselves. It may not be entirely accidental, though, that the widths of the ten panels add up to not much more than the fifty-two feet of An Untitled Painting, 1994, the last monumentally scaled work Twombly showed in New York. That huge, scroll-like painting (on three abutted canvases) felt strangely unbalanced, as though the artist, having refused to give in to any conventional sense of composition, had found no other means to sustain the viewer's attention (or his own) across its entirety.

The ambition to work on an architectural scale is not necessarily something one might have suspected of Twombly earlier in his career. The fitful, scattered composition that has long been his signature has never lent itself to the stentorian delivery of the mural--his citations of Roman antiquity abjure the rhetoric of the exemplary to present themselves as the private musings of a learned amateur--nor even to anything like the sublime ungraspability of the pictorial field in Barnett Newman's biggest paintings.

The ten parts of Coronation of Sesostris take the form of a sequence of flares, each blazing against the fading afterimage of the last. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.