‘To Make These Connections in This Moment Is Invaluable’

Rocío Aranda-Alvarado anticipates an insightful grouping of American painters at Frieze New York 2018

BY Rocío Aranda-Alvarado in Frieze New York | 22 APR 18

A core of the history of American 
art, the painters Ralph Humphrey, Al Loving, Howardena Pindell, and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith are featured in ‘Thick Paint: 1957–2002’, presented at the fair 
by Garth Greenan (D11). Key artists in their own right, significantly, all four of them exhibited together historically— both sharing galleries and also appearing in important group shows.

Howardena Pindell, Artemis, 1986, mixed media on canvas, 1.8 x 2 m. Courtesy: the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York


To me, they constitute a cross-section of artists who can be called upon to help us think about urgent questions of history, technique, and representation: a welcome reminder that entire histories of creative production continues to inform those artists working today. While the appeal of this grouping of artists lies in their formal connections to one another — they were often included in exhibitions exploring the processes and surfaces of painting, and variously explore the possibilities of
a thickened surface of pigment — this strategy is also a great way to demonstrate the art historical advantage 
of exploring the works of art by people of color, women, and mainstream artists all together.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, I See Red: Indian Hand, 1992, mixed media on canvas, 1.8 x 1.8 m. Courtesy: the artist and Garth Greenan Gallery, New York

Indeed, under a rubric of “American Art,” a selection like this allows for a more expansive, meaningful, and inclusive exploration of historical moments than some pre-existing categories. To make these connections in this moment is invaluable.

Frieze New York takes place from May 4—6, with Preview Days on May 2 and 3.

Rocío Aranda-Alvarado is an independent art historian and curator based in New York City, USA