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Barnett Newman: The Stations of the Cross: lema sabachthani
Contributions by Lawrence Alloway and Barnett Newman
Published in 1966
44 pages, fully illustrated
This catalogue accompanies Barnett Newman's first American museum exhibition, Barnett Newman: The Stations of the Cross: Lema Sabachthani exhibited in 1966 at the Guggenheim Museum. Curator Lawrence Alloway's introduction provides a brief history of Newman's artistic approach and thematic interest, before sinking into the religious implications embedded within The Stations of the Cross. Alloway explores the parallel between Newman's life and the development of this series, the spatial embodiment required by his paintings, and his interpretation of Christ and the Stations. The catalogue is prefaced with Newman's artist statement and includes a presentation of the fourteen "stations" of the series, in addition to a single color plate. A selected bibliography and exhibition history is annotated with quotes by the artist.
Gesture becomes the artist's act, not that of his subject, and in this form is accessible without the particularities of musculature and drapery. Thus, when Newman paints the Stations of the Cross in terms of his gesture, he is taking possession of the traditional theme on his own terms, but these terms include his homage to the original content. His concern with religious and mythical content never delivers an idol but a presence. The presence is one that the artist shares with any evoked hero or god because it is in his work that the presence is constructed and revealed.