Jack Tworkov, RWB #3 (1961)

Collection of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York.

James writes:

In 1960 the Abstract Expressionist painter Jack Tworkov complained that "I've been second-rated by every critic, large or small." Two first-rate productions now allow us to reconsider this estimation. At no other moment, including 1964's Whitney survey and 1987's Pennsylvania retrospective, could this artist be so fully examined. At the UBS Art Gallery in midtown Manhattan, the curator Jason Andrew has assembled a must-see show called "Jack Tworkov: Against Extremes" which remains on view through October 27.

The exhibition presents numerous Tworkov drawings and twenty-nine major paintings, from Untitled (Still Life with Peaches and Magazine) (1929) to the large Compression and Expansion of the Square, completed just before the artist's death in 1982. At the same time, Yale University Press has published the definitive collection of Tworkov's writing in a book called The Extreme of the Middle, edited by Mira Schor. This 480-page volume brings together Tworkov's artist statements, published reviews, and correspondence, but most notably it unearths extensive selections from Tworkov's diaries.

I have a review of both show and book in my next "Gallery chronicle," in the forthcoming issue of TNC (it will post on the first of September). It's now the August doldrums in New York galleryland. The impressive UBS exhibition, which opened last night, is the exception. And if you visit be sure to stop in the Archives of American Art just down the lobby hallway to see some of Tworkov's journals, which largely make up the collection in the Yale book.