Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray, We Meet Again (2004), 31

“Ms. Murray belonged to a sprawling generation of Post-Minimal artists who spent the 1970s reversing the reductivist tendencies of Minimalism and reinvigorating art with a sense of narrative, process and personal identity. Her art never fit easily into the available Post-Minimal subcategories like Conceptual, Process or performance art. This may have been because her loyalty to painting, which was out of fashion, was unwavering. At the same time, her blithe indifference to the distinctions between abstraction and representation or high and low could put off serious painting buffs.

Both tendencies enabled her to be one of a small group of painters — including Philip Guston, Frank Stella and Brice Marden — who during the 1970s rebuilt the medium from scratch, recomplicating and expanding its parameters and proving that it was still ripe for innovation, in part because of its rich history. Her sources ranged from Cézanne, Picasso, Gris and Miró to Stuart Davis, Al Held and Agnes Martin. As she remarked in the 1987 catalog to her first big museum show, which traveled to the Whitney in 1988: ‘Everything has been done a million times. Sometimes you use it and it’s yours; another time you do it and it’s still theirs.’ “

Roberta Smith for The New York Times

Elizabeth Murray

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