Sunday, January 7, 2024

the last book I ever read (The Slip: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Forever, excerpt nine)

from The Slip: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Forever by Prudence Peiffer:

That fall, Twombly asked Indiana if he could borrow his studio to work on paintings for his upcoming show at Stable Gallery. He would paint during the day while Indiana was at his job at Friedrichs; Indiana welcomed the prospect of shared rent. Twombly’s “miserably small” apartment was just a little north at 263 William Street, where he had lived intermittently since 1954. He depended on other artists’ spaces to realize his ambitious work: he had already made a series of paintings in 1954 at Rauschenberg’s Fulton Street loft.

Twombly’s new canvases included thick surfaces covered over in layers of newspaper and wet white house paint mixed with overlaying graphite pencil in scribbled drawings that included words graffitied into the skein of lines like half-emerging messages. Johns and Rauschenberg came by 31 Coenties Slip together to see how Twombly’s paintings were going, and gave “a mind-blowing critique.” As Indiana remembered it, “one squiggle had to go this way, and another squiggle had to go that way. It was very illuminating, and very informing.” When Twombly left behind several of these canvases in Indiana’s studio, Indiana used them for his own monochromatic explorations, tearing off some of the newspaper and painting over other sections to produce a collage effect. Canvas was an expensive and coveted commodity at the time. But when Youngerman arrived from Paris, Indiana realized his Twombly canvases were too close to what Youngerman had been doing for some time, “and with great accomplishment.” Indiana was discouraged from pursuing this direction any further.

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