In March 2005, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will publish a scholarly compendium of papers presented at the symposium Reconsidering Barnett Newman, held at the Museum April 5 to 7, 2002, during the run of Barnett Newman, the critically acclaimed special exhibition at the Museum. Reconsidering Barnett Newman [ISBN 0-87633-187-8] features 12 papers by a wide array of scholars, artists, conservators, and Newman’s own personal friends, which survey the breadth and scope of the artist’s life, dramatic works, and the themes contained therein.
Edited by Melissa Ho, former research assistant at the Museum who worked on the exhibition and symposium with Ann Temkin, curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and former Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, the papers present a vigorous new look at the oeuvre of this master of spatial effects and evocative color and are meant as a companion to the eponymous exhibition catalog [ISBN 0-87633-157-6]. Scholarship includes papers by artist Mel Bochner; Yve-Alain Bois, Joseph Pulitzer Jr. Professor of Modern Art at Harvard University; Ben Heller, a close friend of Newman and one of the first to purchase some of his works; Suzanne Penn, Conservator of Paintings at the Museum; and Nan Rosenthal, Senior Consultant for Nineteenth-Century Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, among others.
The special exhibition Barnett Newman was presented at the Philadelphia Museum of Art March 24 to July 7, 2002, and assembled more than 100 works not seen together in over 30 years. The exhibition traced the dramatic shifts in Newman’s works, from the Surrealist-inspired drawings of the 1940s through the development of “the zip,” his trademark vertical stripe. After Philadelphia, the exhibition traveled to London, where it was shown at Tate Modern.