When I first walked into Starting Out: 9 Abstract Painters 1958-1971, I didn't immediately remember that the pristine space on Fifth Avenue was the site of an raucous opening I had attended decades ago for a 40th Anniversary Exhibition -- where Larry Rivers was present.
And in neighboring spaces are a 17-foot-high black wax-surfaced American flag sculpture that appears to be crashing through the gallery's floor and a poignantly solemn detail image of the riderless horse that led JFK's funeral procession.
It was 1950 when Helen Frankenthaler came back to New York after graduating from Bennington College. Frankenthaler set up a studio on East Twenty-First Street and wasted no time in stirring up the art world.
Larry was intellectual, literary, and one of the most brainy artists of his generation, but there was always the feeling in the art world that the more intellectual the artist, the less talented the painter.