From the collection of Kunstmuseum Basel and the Emanuel Hoffmann-Stiftung
Cy Twombly, whose instantly recognizable white canvasses are covered in delicate scribbles, is regarded as one of the most important American artists of his time. Together with his (very) close friends Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, he turned his back on American Expressionism at a time when the art scene - some say thanks to the CIA funding - was moving from Paris to New York.
The discrete and gangling American (he was 6’4” tall), settled into a life that allowed him to combine both worlds, with winters in Florida and summers halfway between Rome and Naples. While his canvasses became larger, some as large as a palace door, his private graffiti became smaller, and sometimes more colourful. He said that it was during his early time in the US army, when lights were out, that he learned to draw in the dark, a spontaneity that was hailed as new and adventurous art.
The exhibition taking place at Museum für Gegenwartskunst - while the Kunstmuseum Basel is closed for renovation - focuses on the paintings and sculptures from the 1950s to the 1970s, considered to be Twombly’s most outstanding artistic period. Although not branded a Minimalist, he incarnates a form of minimalism impossible to imitate, despite the repeated claims that any child could do better.
Admission to the Museum für Gegenwartskunst is free for all visitors through to mid-April 2016.
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