Gagosian announces the publication of "Cy Twombly and the American Critics, 1951 - 1995: A Reception History"
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Gagosian announces the publication of "Cy Twombly and the American Critics, 1951 - 1995: A Reception History"
Cy Twombly and the American Critics, 1951–1995: A Reception History (New York: Gagosian, 2023).

NEW YORK, NY.- Gagosian and Fondazione Nicola Del Roscio announced the publication of Cy Twombly and the American Critics, 1951–1995: A Reception History. The first in-depth study of its kind, the book analyzes the reception of Twombly’s work from his first solo exhibition in 1951 through 1994–95, the year of his comprehensive retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Written by Richard Leeman, author of Cy Twombly: A Monograph (2004), it was originally published in French by Les Editions du Regard, Paris (2022). The book is available for purchase in Gagosian’s physical and online shops.

This newly translated account offers fresh perspectives on Twombly’s career, and on developments within American art criticism across almost half a century. It charts evolving interpretations of Twombly’s work in relation to contemporary artistic movements, and of his status as an American artist who worked primarily in Italy. For much of his career, Twombly’s practice was often dismissed or ignored in the United States, despite his long-term representation by leading gallerist Leo Castelli. As Leeman notes: “The history of Twombly’s reception by the American critics is the history of a misunderstanding, or rather of successive misunderstandings associated with the changing criteria underlying critics’ expectations and judgments.”

Delving into contemporaneous reviews of Twombly’s gallery exhibitions and institutional retrospectives, Leeman contextualizes assessments of the artist’s oeuvre in relation to presuppositions that emerged with Abstract Expressionism, Post-Minimalism, Conceptual art, Neo-Expressionism, and other movements. With the revival of critical interest in painting and the development of postmodernism in the 1980s, Twombly’s work was reappraised, leading to his widespread recognition.

The book’s focused analysis illuminates tropes that have long structured criticism and analysis of Twombly’s oeuvre. In his foreword, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh notes: “Leeman’s exquisitely detailed account and subtle, yet sustained method of only studying the reception process of one of the greatest painters of the second half of the twentieth century, yield a tremendous—and at times utterly unexpected—depth of insight into Twombly’s processes of signification.”

Gagosian has represented Cy Twombly since 1989, when the gallery exhibited his Bolsena paintings in New York.

Gagosian’s extensive in-house publishing program has produced over six hundred books, including catalogues raisonnés, artist monographs, scholarly exhibition catalogues, and limited-edition artist’s books. The gallery started publishing in 1985 and today its output rivals that of traditional arts trade publishers, averaging between twenty-five and forty books a year. Recent and forthcoming subjects include Richard Avedon, Georg Baselitz, Chris Burden, Walter De Maria, Helen Frankenthaler, Katharina Grosse, Damien Hirst, Tetsuya Ishida, Donald Judd, Titus Kaphar, Rick Lowe, Brice Marden, Nam June Paik, Ed Ruscha, Jenny Saville, Jeff Wall, Mary Weatherford, Rachel Whiteread, Stanley Whitney, and Jonas Wood. The gallery also produces Gagosian Quarterly, a celebrated print and online magazine.

Cy Twombly was born in 1928 in Lexington, Virginia, and died in 2011 in Rome. Collections include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Menil Collection, Houston; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum Brandhorst, Munich; Tate, London; and Louvre Abu Dhabi. Exhibitions include Cycles and Seasons, Tate Modern, London (2008, traveled to Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, 2008–09; and Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome, 2009); The Natural World, Art Institute of Chicago (2009); Sensations of the Moment, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna (2009); Paradise, Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2014, traveled to Ca’ Pesaro, Venice, 2015); Treatise on the Veil, Morgan Library and Museum, New York (2014–15); and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2016–17). Twombly received numerous accolades during his lifetime, including the Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association, Tokyo (1996), and the Golden Lion award at the 49th Biennale di Venezia (2001). In 2010, Twombly’s permanent site-specific painting Ceiling was unveiled in the Salle des Bronzes at the Musée du Louvre; on that occasion he was named Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by the French government.

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