Richard Diebenkorn: The Californian Abstract Expressionist That Is Teaching the English How to Paint

April 14, 2015 7:45 PM

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What does an artist (or any human being, for that matter) do after realizing he has been channeling his creativity to fulfil someone else's expectations? In an art world where the difference between fashion and art is blurrier than ever, this is not a minor question. Richard Diebenkorn's retrospective at the Royal Academy of Art in London shows the work of an artist who dialogues with other artists only to make it clear that his art is neither trendy nor visionary. With pigments he walks that cornice that separates presentation and representation; abstraction and figuration; cartographic description and naturalism.

Although the Royal Academy show is wonderful, its catalogue is pedestrian and, worse of all, far too clinical. Steven Nash seems to set the tone by focusing, as if this truly mattered, on Diebenkorn's European influences which range from Henri Matisse to Carl Friedrich. But Diebenkorn is a Californi...

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