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Rewriting Art History at the Parrish Museum: My WSJ Review of “Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet”

"Victorias" watercolors by Alfonso Ossorio, as installed at the Parrish Art Museum Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

“Victorias” watercolors by Alfonso Ossorio, as installed at the Parrish Art Museum
Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

NOTE: More on this, here.

Alfonso Ossorio, better known for throwing great parties and collecting great art than for producing significant works of his own, is the improbable but engrossing central figure in “Angels, Demons, Savages: Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet,” a revisionist show now at the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY, that attempts to give overdue recognition to the least known of these three friends and colleagues.

You can learn more about the show and my take on it in my review for the tomorrow’s “Leisure & Arts” page of the Wall Street Journal (online now)—Rewriting the History of Abstract Expressionism. (At this writing, the images that will be included with the piece are not yet online.)

Above is the wall of the small, vibrant “wax-resist” watercolors that, to my mind, were the exhibition’s showstopper. These haunting “Victorias Drawings” (named for the mill town in Ossorio’s native Philippines where they were created) convey the disturbing emotions unleashed by the artist’s bittersweet homecoming after having been sent away as a child for a British and American education (including a Harvard B.A.). They’re like nothing else in the show and they’re riveting.

I’ll have more to say soon, including more images and a CultureGrrl Video, which will take you not only to the Parrish but also to the nearby warehouse where the Ossorio Foundation has drawers full of these drawings, as well as an eye-popping array of his outrageously glitzy assemblages (not in the Parrish show) that came later—his “Congregations.”

Here’s one particularly over-the-top example:

OssCongreg

Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

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