This exhibition highlights contemporary artworks by 47 intergenerational and internationally based artists made between 1963 and 2022. These works are part of a larger gift to the Museum in 2018 comprising artworks made by the recipients of The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation Award.
The exhibition title is inspired by Barnett Newman’s 1950 painting The Wild. Standing at 8 feet tall and a mere 1 ½ inches wide, the work consists of a dark orange “Zip” set against razor thin bands of black. It contrasts sharply with the heroically scaled paintings for which Newman is well known. In Newman’s own account, The Wild was meant to test whether something modest could hold its own against something grand: in its first presentation, it was shown opposite the painting Vir Heroicus Sublimis (1950-51), a room-filling magnum opus.
Barnett Newman (1905-1970) is among the most influential artists associated with Abstract Expressionism. Largely overlooked by critics, curators, and collectors until his later years, he was nonetheless a stalwart and generous supporter of his colleagues, befriending and mentoring countless younger artists. To them, Newman appeared not as an old master but as a true peer—curious, engaged, and as eager to delve into the nuances of technique as to art’s philosophical underpinnings. After his death, Annalee Newman, his widow, created The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation to help further the spirit of great art that Barnett Newman so clearly exhibited, by giving grants. Diverse in style, training, background, and age, the Foundation’s grantees—whose works comprise this exhibition—share Newman’s seriousness of purpose, as well as his unflagging drive to explore the outer limits of his own ideas.
More information at: Jewish Museum