Follow us on:


John Elderfield on Willem de Kooning

Phong Bui hosts John Elderfield, Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, and his associate curators Jennifer Field, Lauren Mahoney, Delphine Huisinga who assembled the exhibition and catalog for the first true Willem de Kooning retrospective since the artist's death in 1997 (through January 9, 2012) Bringing together nearly 200 works from public and private collections, the exhibition occupies the Museum’s entire sixth-floor gallery space, totaling approximately 17,000 square feet.

We have divided this 90-minute conversation into two sections: In Part 1 the group discusses other de Kooning surveys and museum exhibitions, how this show came about, the incredible period of 1945-51, the artist's relationship to sculpture, influences both implied and embraced, abstraction vs. figurative work, and his technique and medium.

In Part 2 the group turns to de Kooning's relation to other abstract painters, surrealism and cubism, moving into the sixties and beyond, transition from the wrist stroke to the full arm sweep, Franz Kline influence, speed of execution, the clue of the high heels, and the myth of the "Alzheiimer's" paintings among much more.


Off The Rail


Artist, critic, and curator, Phong Bui, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of The Brooklyn Rail, a free monthly arts, culture, and politics journal interviews artists, curators, and booksellers.