Twombly, an American artist who has lived in Italy for most of his professional life, has ridden out both the storms and the doldrums of critical reception and rejection in his native country. Now, as part of a major retrospective held at the Museum of Modern Art, the most comprehensive monograph yet on Twombly and his work has been published, and it will do much to secure his place in the annals of American art. Painting with purpose by the time he was 12, Twombly attended Black Mountain College with such peers as Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns but ended up making work far more elusive and puzzling than their radical but graspable creations. Twombly never made figurative or pop images but, rather, developed an energetically linear and most often monochromatic visual vocabulary. Varnedoe carefully and astutely identifies Twombly's influences, which include primitive as well as classical art, but, for the most part, Twombly's paintings and drawings seem primarily to mirror the nervousness and obsession of thought and rumination. Twombly's work is all about light and movement, concealment and erasure, the passage of time, and the urge to record the flicker and flash of emotion, memory, and dream. Donna SeamanFrom Library Journal:
This catalog, published in conjunction with the major retrospective of Twombly's career at the Museum of Modern Art, provides context for the re-evaluation of the artist's long career. Curator Varnedoe traces Twombly's early career in Virginia, his studies in Boston and New York and at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, and his eventual move to Italy. Twombly's canvases are at times both hieratic and childlike; the numerous color and black-and-white illustrations complement Varnedoe's at times enigmatic commentary, which cuold have provided more interpretation. Varnedoe will not convert unbelievers in Twombly's work. Recommended for larger collections of art or for those who do not invest in the ongoing catalogue raisonne series prepared by Heiner Bastian (Cy Twombly: Catalogue Raisonne of the Paintings, 1992+).
Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Inst. Lib., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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