Ed Schad reviews the exhibition Four Abstract Classicists at LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art, on view through June 29, 2014. The show features works by Karl Benjamin, Frederick Hammersley, John McLaughlin, and Lorser Feitelson.
Schad writes: "The origin of the hard edge most likely can find root in the dispersal of the International Style of architecture and the principles of the Bauhaus during World War II. Forced out of Europe, exiled architects and artists populated the earth bringing optimism about the social role of design… Evidence of this expansive moment exists now at LACMA in the way, way too small and horribly titled Four Abstract Classicists, in the form of Lorser Feitelson, Karl Benjamin, John McLaughlin, and Frederick Hammersley. In each of these painters, you can either posit a rejection of New York Abstract Expressionism – again pitting coast against coast and brushiness against crisp lines in the most boring way – or you can find these four incredibly original and genuinely weird painters among their sympathetic confederates, which amazingly were sprouting up all over the world. Each painter is very different, with their own story, and the rubric of the hard edge barely contains them."