Christopher Knight reviews the exhibition Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void 1949-1962 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, on view through January 14, 2013.
Knight writes: "Abstract painting's bodily metaphor was the vehicle for a wide variety of artists. For the 26 represented in 'Destroy the Picture,' destruction was their chosen strategy.... Punctured, flayed, torn, tattered, sliced, peeled, shredded, bandaged — creating through destructive actions was a strategy that emerged simultaneously around the world. Some might regard it as merely an emblem of the capitalist cycles of boom and bust that Marx identified. But Europe was a pile of rubble, Japan a shocked mound of ash. America wasn't physically touched, except in the isolated Pacific, yet the psychic scarring went deep."