Willem de Kooning

Diane Waldman, Author ABRAMS $45 (156p) ISBN 978-0-8109-1134-5
While some critics see an artistic decline in de Kooning's output from the 1970s onward, Waldman, deputy director of the Guggenheim Museum, champions his ""great and innovative late body of work.'' Countering charges that his flamboyant ``Woman'' series is sexist because it portrays females as objects of male manipulation, the author retorts, ``This is how women were perceived in the 1950s.'' She finds de Kooning's goddess-whore icons ``as resplendent as any Venus that has come down to us through the ages.'' Combining stuffy solemnity and critical overkill, this study is nevertheless useful for its analyses of individual paintings. Its 112 reproductions (half in color) include urban landscapes, portraits fusing the real and the imaginary, black-and-white abstractions, knotty sculpture. Also here are the simple paintings of the '80s, an emptying out of all but essential shape, line and color. (April)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
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