1/2 Manila Curved Area
Not on view
Overall: 77 1/4 × 144 1/2in. (196.2 × 367 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art
Rights and reproductions
© Robert Mangold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
In 1967, the year that this painting was executed, Robert Mangold wrote a kind of manifesto entitled “Flat Art.” It began with the bold, uppercase declaration, “ART SHOULD BE TAKEN AT FACE VALUE,” and went on to observe, “One thing that is true of flat, two-dimensional art is that flat art can be seen instantly, totally.” Indeed, the overall form and regular internal divisions of 1/2 Manilla Curved Area, made of oil-based commercial paint sprayed onto board, are instantly accessible; likewise, the title describes exactly what the viewer sees. The work is part of the artist’s Area series, a group of paintings based on negative shapes. Here, as in all his work, Mangold avoids digressive compositional devices, such as shifts in scale or gestural brushwork, in favor of workmanlike technique and simple declarative geometry.