cover image Cy Twombly: A Retrospective

Cy Twombly: A Retrospective

Kirk Varnedoe. Museum of Modern Art, $55 (175pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-6129-6

American painter Cy Twombly, who has lived in Rome since 1957, embraces abstraction, figuration, writing and calligraphy in a seductive art of great expressive power and depth. In his canvases, turfs, swirls, twig bundles, ideograms and ornamental motifs confront one another in implied narrative; biomorphic entities resembling orifices, polyps, fringes or erupting effluvia conjure a protean sexuality; delicate cross hatchings and tracery interacting with graffiti or detached letters and words evoke multiple associations. Combining 187 plates, 94 in color, and an eloquent essay by Varnedoe, chief curator of painting and sculpture at New York City's Museum of Modern Art, this rewarding catalogue of a MOMA retrospective exhibition covers the full spectrum of Twombly's art, from spare white-on-gray paintings to fragile clay sculpture to the epic pictures inspired by Homer's Trojan War. (Jan.)