This past weekend, I went to an all day symposium for the artist Willem deKooning at the MOMA in New York. The exhibition was amazing in itself, but the lecturers and panel discussions for the symposium were interesting.
Here are some major ideas I walked away with:
1. de Kooning was a complicated artist and created complicated art.
2. Because his work is complicated, it is difficult to generalize his work and attach a cliche. Examples of other artists: Pollack, the "drip guy"; Mondrian, the "squares guy".
3. Because it is difficult to generalize his work, it is difficult to put him in an art historical context.
4. He worked in a process that was always changing.
5. The notion that de Kooning was a misogynist has “Petered out.”
6. Critics, historians, conservators, curators, and writers have much more to say about de Kooning than New York contemporary artists.
7. Although he had Alzheimer’s, and the works are simplified, de Kooning’s later works are not an indication of a decline.
In the next few weeks, I will post more from the symposium.