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Cy Twombly: Fifty Years of Works on Paper

Twombly, Cy; Schama, Simon; Barthes, Roland; Sylvester, Julie (curated by)

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ISBN 10: 0874271460 / ISBN 13: 9780874271461
Published by Whitney Museum of American Art; Schirmer/Mosel; Distributed Art Publishers, New York, 2005
Condition: Fine Soft cover
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Folio in peach and red pictorial wrappers; 160 p., 85 color plates. In English. || **A large, heavy book. Extra shipping charges may apply.**. New, fine copy still sealed in shrinkwrap. Bookseller Inventory # 84714

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Cy Twombly: Fifty Years of Works on Paper

Publisher: Whitney Museum of American Art; Schirmer/Mosel; Distributed Art Publishers, New York

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Fine

Edition: 2nd ed., rev. ed.

About this title

Synopsis:

Aggressively elegant, viscerally beautiful, Cy Twombly's work is, in the words of exhibition curator and contributing writer Julie Sylvester, "fundamentally subjective, truthful, and uncompromising." His work finds its most personal expression in his intimately sized drawings and paintings on paper. Finding inspiration as much in the forces of nature as in ancient epics and legends, and using the simplest of media--pencils, ballpoint pens, crayons, wall paint--he creates poetic and archaic worlds, usually in series and often as collages. The 84 drawings in this retrospective, organized by the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, in 2003 to mark Twombly's 75th birthday, were collected from the artist's studio, and many had not been previously exhibited. Dating between 1953 and 2002, the works embrace the entire career of one of the most important American artists alive today, from the early monotypes to the major mythological cycles of later years, revealing the many nuances of his aesthetic approach. This revised and expanded edition of the catalogue, created on the occasion of the presentation of Cy Twombly: Fifty Years of Works on Paper at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, includes an essay by Simon Schama, as well as a new text by curator Julie Sylvester. Roland Barthes's classic 1976 essay Non Multa Sed Multum: and a foreword by the Whitney's director, Adam D. Weinberg. Comprehensive biographical notes and a selected exhibition history and bibliography have also been added to this edition.

Julie Sylvester is Associate Curator of Contemporary Art of the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, and is the Hermitage's first non-Russian curator. She is the author of John Chamberlain A Catalogue Raisonne of the Sculpture. Cy Twombly at the Hermitage was the second major contemporary exhibition in the history of the State Hermitage Museum.

British historian Simon Schama has written numerous award-winning books on the cultural histories of countries including Holland and France, and is the author of the three-volume History of Britain. He is currently a professor at Columbia University, New York.

Review:

When the Hermitage in St. Petersburg celebrated the city's 300th anniversary in 2003, they assembled a selection of 50 years of Cy Twombly's works on paper, coinciding with the artist’s seventy-fifth birthday. At first look, even the most savvy and well-heeled art lover is apt to think "my kid could do that," and there is a (very surface) bit of truth to this. Twombly, an American who moved to Rome in the 1950s, was obviously influenced by Jean Dubuffet's idea of art brut, as well as the work of Paul Klee, and of children. But it doesn't take long to see Twombly's genius. He created something very new with the pure gestures of abstract expressionism, and in this survey it's a joy to see the ways his work constantly changed, from adopting some of the formal strictures of minimalism in the 1970s to embracing vivid colors in the 1980s. Like the graffiti scratches (ancient and modern) that are perhaps Twombly’s greatest influence, it's very playful, often rather dirty work. Unlike graffiti, it's exceptionally labored over. Once you can decipher his scratchy line, you notice that the subtle interplay of words and images is matched by very few others, though the work of Raymond Pettibon and Nancy Spero do spring to mind. Assembled for the St. Petersburg's show's arrival at the Whitney Museum in New York City, this book is a joy. Simon Schalma's essay is ribald, terse and excellent, while Roland Barthes’ writing is, unsurprisingly, worth the price of the book alone. In a review for the New York Times of the show at the Whitney that this book accompanies, Holland Coter wrote that Twombly's early highly referential works are "as if Western cultural history was unfolding on the walls of a toilet stall." It's hard to think of higher praise. --Mike McGonigal

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