At 303, Mary Heilmann Condenses Power

THE DAILY PIC: A tiny abstraction is the game-board art's played on.


THE DAILY PIC (#1449): One of the glories of Mary Heilmann’s work has always been its eccentric modesty, and this piece, on view in her solo show at 303 Gallery, is a distillation of that. It’s called Family Tree, and it’s just six inches square. Despite its size (or rather because of it) it feels like it mounts a full-bore resistance to the overblown, macho pretensions of so much classic abstraction.

One way or another, all art is a game – it’s all about a bunch of players who make up rules, play by them, break them, and make up new ones, and onlookers who understand what’s going one. Family Tree recognizes that, even revels in it, but also recognizes that in the end it’s only a game. (©Mary Heilmann, courtesy 303 Gallery, New York)

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