This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features biographer and critic Mark Stevens, one of the top experts on the life and art of Willem de Kooning. Along with co-author Annalyn Swan, Stevens wrote “de Kooning: An American Master,” which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for biography. Stevens has also worked as the art critic for New York magazine.
De Kooning is currently the subject of a major Museum of Modern Art retrospective. The exhibition, on view through Jan. 9, 2012, was curated by John Elderfield. I reviewed the exhibition on MAN here and here. This week’s banner features a detail from de Kooning’s …Whose Name Was Writ in Water (1975).
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In our conversation, Stevens and I discuss:
- His thoughts on the MoMA exhibition;
- How knowing about de Kooning’s life can further appreciation and understanding of his art;
- The importance of the figure — and in particular the female figure — was to de Kooning throughout his career; and
- The several great series of Woman paintings — and how the Womans from the late 1940s may be underrated vis a vis the more famous 1950s Woman paintings.
In this week’s draft, Charlotte Eyerman joins me to discuss her Pacific Standard Time exhibition “Artistic Evolution: Southern California Artists at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.” Eyerman is the American director of the French Regional and American Museum Exchange and also works as an independent curator. She and I talk about how a many important artists, including Robert Irwin, Larry Bell and more, showed early works at the annual exhibitions of what is now the Natural History Museum, and how that work presages their more well-known art.
The Modern Art Notes Podcast is an independent production of Modern Art Notes Media. It is released under this Creative Commons license. For images of the works discussed on this week’s program, click through to the jump.
Willem de Kooning, Door to the River, 1960. Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Willem de Kooning, Asheville, 1948. Collection of The Phillips Collection, Washington.
Willem de Kooning, Woman and Bicycle, 1952-53. Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Willem de Kooning, Zurich, 1947. Collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington.
John McLaughlin, Untitled Composition, 1963.