Sean Scully's Wall of Light series of paintings, watercolors, and pastels at the Met has been getting inspired, almost effusive responses from critics. In this past weekend's NYT, Grace Glueck calls them "bold and energizing paintings, surely among the most powerful contemporary works you'll see this season." Fellow New York Sun critic David Grosz wrote a near perfect review of the show last week.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Scully for Artinfo about the paintings a few months back, and reading that conversation again recently [cut down from nearly 2.5 hours], I noticed how insightful and generous he had been in discussing his work, the genesis of the paintings, his long-term dedication to the form, and his career. He also turned out to be a witty and often acerbic critic:
I'm going against the current trend towards bizarreness, oddness; as you just called it, the 'esoteric', which of course was around in the 1930s. That's what is being revisited now. In between the two great wars, there was a very strong period, particularly in Europe, of a strange, bizarre, distorted and perverse kind of figuration, with freaks in the paintings. Very disturbing twins, subjects like that. These paintings were mostly coming out of Italy and Germany. Now we have a return to that again in a strange period, after the end of Modernism.
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