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exhibition: Wall, Window, Area: Robert Mangold: Early Paintings, 1964-1965

dates: 12 September - 26 October 2002

Robert Mangold was one of the inventors of Minimal art in the early 1960s, though his very first abstract paintings, dating from 1964 and 1965, are rarely shown and so remain relatively unknown. This installation is the first devoted to these works since Mangold's 1965 Fischbach Gallery show. The current exhibition includes nearly half of these rare works still extant, including the earliest painting and the only painting from the period made on canvas rather than wood. Several of these seminal paintings have never before been exhibited.

Mangold made paintings by isolating the form of what is usually overlooked. His eccentrically shaped wooden constructions, painted in muted nondescript or industrial colors, explored an abstract minimal vocabulary generated from found architectural situations, from shapes seen or from the spaces glimpsed between buildings.

Like Richard Tuttle's intuitively shaped wall reliefs of the same years, or Richard Serra's earliest sculptures (1966-67) in which manipulation of a material generated unexpected geometric forms, Mangold's early abstract paintings followed a non-formulaic generative premise for making minimal paintings that was in stark contrast to the more formal and familiar geometries used by Carl Andre, Donald Judd, and Sol LeWitt. And while these paintings retain some sense of the anonymous or the industrial–as with much minimal art–they also clearly speak of being hand made: eccentric shapes; assertive material combinations; subtle, graduated color variations of sprayed paint.

In order to make this installation possible, several museums have agreed to lend works (the National Gallery, Washington; the Williams College Museum of Art; the Weatherspoon Art Museum), as have a number of artists and several private collectors.

Wall, Window, Area: Robert Mangold: Early Paintings, 1964-1965 is the first exhibition in Peter Freeman, Inc.'s new space. A private dealer since 1990, Mr. Freeman will make several shows each year of historic material, with a particular focus on Minimal and Pop art of the 1960s and 1970s.