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For over half a century, Larry Poons has been identified as heir to the heroic era of American painting - FAD Magazine

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For over half a century, Larry Poons has been identified as heir to the heroic era of American painting

Larry Poons. Photographer Jason Mandella

Almine Rech London is to present its first solo exhibition of American artist Larry Poons. For over half a century, Larry Poons has been identified as heir to the heroic era of American painting, following in the footsteps of such greats as Pollock, de Kooning, and Rothko.


Larry POONS Ash Nobody, 2000 Acrylic and mixed media on canvas 198.8 x 300.4 cm 78 1/4 x 118 1/4 in © Larry Poons Courtesy the artist and Almine Rech


In 1969, aged 32, Poons featured in the landmark exhibition New York Painting and Sculpture 1940-197 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Curated by Henry Geldzahler, who devoted the show’s culminating gallery to the artist, this seminal exhibition saw Poons’ work stand out alongside those American greats, the final room glowing with his early “Dots and Lozenge” paintings, as well as several then-recent expansive, colourful abstractions later regarded as iconic works in the Colour Field movement. The youngest artist included in the exhibition, Poons was at the time regarded as the promising, guiding star who could lead the way toward exciting new possibilities for contemporary painting.


Larry POONS Centaur, 2020 Acrylic on canvas 139.7 x 247.7 cm 55 x 97 1/2 in © Larry Poons Courtesy the artist and Almine Rech

Over the course of the five decades since the Met exhibition, Poons has more than fulfilled that promise. His trajectory was, however, not what that most critics and art-world observers were expecting, or perhaps were even equipped to understand. Poons, as it turns out, was a much more radical painter than anyone could have imagined. Indifferent to the demands of critics, curators, and the marketplace, he remained steadfast on his own, inimitable path, constantly evolving and always surprising his audience.  


Larry POONS Mme Penseroso, 2010 Acrylic on canvas 174.6 x 99.7 cm 68 3/4 x 39 1/4 in © Larry Poons Courtesy the artist and Almine Rech

This exhibition at Almine Rech London constitutes a concise Larry Poons survey that picks up where Geldzhaler’s show left off. Works from across the decades feature alongside those created in the past year, and in all Poons demonstrates his virtuosity with seemingly effortless panache. Already an art-historical figure, with the vibrant, energetic, and surprising works he continues to produce, he re-enforces his stature as one of the most significant artists of this moment. Fifty years on, and widely regarded as among the foremost colourists of the latter half of the twentieth century, Poons is as relevant today as ever.

Larry Poons June 3rd — July 31st, Almine Rech London alminerech.com

About the Artist

Larry Poons has been at the forefront of Abstract American painting since the beginning of his career in the 1960s. Having moved to New York in 1959, Poons became known for his Op-Art paintings in 1962, with his monochrome spatial and chromatic experiments. In 1967, Poons abandoned these structural paintings and began a new epoch of ‘drip paintings’, in which lozenges of paint in varying colours are poured from above onto a vertical canvas, creating monumental and energetically charged and textured paintings, recalling the work of Willen de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. Larry Poons was born in 1937 in Tokyo, Japan and currently lives and works in New York City.

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