Susan Rothenberg, Mondrian Dancing,1985, Oil on canvas, 78 1/4 x 91", Collection Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri Funds given by the Shoenberg Foundation, Inc.,© Susan Rothenberg / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY
So many of us are thinking about the art that has informed us, moved us and had great meaning to us during these times. In this issue, TAS presents articles about the personal connections that help us to understand an artist. How artists live, work, and think, their friendships and histories all contribute to our understanding of their lives and work. The three 20th century artists presented in this issue have had a lasting impact on the art world.
While in conversation with Nicholas Fox Weber about his forthcoming biography on Piet Mondrian, I learned that the artist, who was mostly a solitary figure, spent his time in the studio but also wrote many letters and founded a magazine with his friend Theo Van Doesburg (De Stijl). Mondrian was loved and revered by many artists, particularly the Abstract Expressionists, who held him in high regard when he moved to New York City in 1940. Mondrian loved to go dancing at Roseland; his favorite dance partner was the artist Lee Krasner. I enjoy thinking about these two painters dancing to jazz, being in the moment and one with the music. Or how Susan Rothenberg, an artist whose painting vocabulary could not be more different from Mondrian’s, came to make a series of works in homage to him in the mid-1980s.
I am certainly looking forward to reading NFW’s biography when it is available.
Daryl Chin, a multimedia artist, critic and curator writes about his friendship with the great playwright Edward Albee. Daryl has been part of the downtown New York film and performance communities in New York since the 1970’s. With Larry Qualls, he created more than 30 theater/performance pieces from 1975 to 1985. I am more than elated to present his first-hand recollections of Albee, one of the greatest American playwrights of the 20th century. If you have not recently read The Zoo Story, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, or one of my favorite plays, The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? from 2002 (which I saw with Bill Irwin and Sally Field) it is time to read them again. Or better yet, when the pandemic is over, try to see a live production or at least Mike Nichols’s 1962 film of Virginia Woolf. This film was Nichols’s directorial debut and starred Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal and Sandy Dennis.
The artist and poet Nicolette Reim has been in New York during this past year and professed her admiration for the building that the artist Donald Judd lived and worked in from 1965 until his death in 1994.101 Spring Street is a cast iron loft building that dates from 1870 that is now the home of the Judd Foundation. The interior is filled with more than 200 works of art: paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by Jean Arp, Larry Bell, John Chamberlain, Honoré Daumier, Stuart Davis, Marcel Duchamp, Dan Flavin, David Novros, Claes Oldenburg,
Ad Reinhardt, Lucas Samaras, Frank Stella, and H.C. Westermann. Judd created a space specifically for his work and his art collection. He understood that context and placement are essential to the proper viewing and understanding of art.
Looking forward to seeing the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Please stay well and get your vaccine. Art will get us through.
All my very best,
The Art Section
Deanna Sirlin is an artist and writer from Brooklyn, New York currently living and working outside of Atlanta, Georgia.