Late ‘Adamantine Crudeness’

Roberta Smith faults Hauser & Wirth for “an exhibition of mostly bland self-portrait drawings showing the artist [Luchita Hurtado] as a simple outline or silhouette… redeemed by too few of her more intense acrylic paintings from the last two years…”

It is actually two shows, or more accurately, halves of two shows, neither sufficient. For one thing, Hurtado on paper is not always Hurtado at her best. She is a rather remote, cool-handed artist who needs color, canvas and the malleability of paint to shine.

The nine late works that form the show’s smaller second half — most in acrylic and maybe ink on wood, linen or canvas from 2018-2020 — are relatively powerful, even though their adamantine crudeness suggests waning artistic powers.

(Roberta Smith, “Luchita Hurtado: The Elusive Artist Portrays Herself,” NYTimes,

I’m glad to see more instances of Hurtado’s work. Her death at age 99 was commemorated in the NYTimes (and here) earlier this year. Also, I’m affected by Smith’s comment that Hurtado “needs color, canvas and the malleability of paint to shine.”

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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