College of Communications and Fine Arts Art Museum of the University of Memphis
Ad Reinhardt, Untitled, Silkscreen

(Audio Commentary)

Ad Reinhardt

American (Buffalo, N.Y., 1913-1967, New York, N.Y.)



Ad Reinhardt installation photo

Ad Reinhardt considered himself to be a member of the abstract expressionist movement, but instead of channeling the primal creative urge through the artist's subjectivity and physical action like Jackson Pollock, Reinhardt insisted that a painting should be, "pure, abstract, non-objective, timeless, spaceless, changeless, relationless, disinterested...self-conscious, ideal, transcendent, aware of no thing but art." This branch of AbEx was named color field painting, and it is characterized by large areas of a single hue. The "black" paintings of Reinhardt's final decade best achieved his goal, and he considered them "ultimate" works of art. The paintings and this print are not simple rectangles of black. If you stand slightly to one side or the other and look carefully, you can see nine equal squares, three up by three across, each of a slightly different color or surface characteristic.


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Last Updated: 11/2/12