Al Held

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Current gallery exhibition

The Sixties

20 November 2020 – 27 February 2021
White Cube Bermondsey

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White Cube is pleased to present an exhibition by Al Held (1928−2005), the first solo presentation of his work in London since 2008. Focusing on paintings made in New York during the 1960s, the selection includes key works which exemplify Held’s unique exploration of hard-edge geometric abstraction. Featuring large-scale paintings and works on paper, the exhibition reveals the artist’s dedication to developing his own distinctive graphic language. As the poet Frank O’Hara saw it, Held was ‘one of the most controversial and powerful painters’ working in New York at that time.

The Sixties were a decade synonymous with an explosion of new styles and ideas aimed at expanding consciousness and bridging the gap between aesthetics and technology. During this period, Held became widely recognised for his individual approach to abstraction, leading fellow painter Alex Katz to comment of his 1960s works: ‘Some of them are as good as anything painted on the planet at that time.’ Held’s rigorous exploration of hard-edge geometry to distil the decade’s tumult into elemental forms and relationships resulted in two of his most well-known bodies of work: the ‘Alphabet’ paintings (1961–67) and the ‘Black and White’ paintings (1967–78).

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Past gallery exhibition