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Collection > John Altoon >

Untitled

1961

No image available
  • Medium

    Gouache and colored crayons on board

  • Dimensions

    Frame (gold gild): 30 3/4 x 40 3/4 x 1 1/16 in. (78.11 x 103.51 x 2.7 cm)Image: 29 1/2 x 39 1/2 in. (74.93 x 100.33 cm)

  • Accession number

    97.5

  • Object label

    ​In John Altoon’s Untitled, the wobbly black outlines of phallic forms overflow with wildly nonrepresentational colors—anatomically incorrect greens, whites, blacks, and oranges. The messy, fleshy quality of these bright, abstract splashes adds to the bawdy, hedonistic tone of the work. Here Altoon navigates his dual impulses toward abstraction and an erotically charged mode of figuration. The work aligns pleasure in the aesthetic realm—color, texture, and shape--with sexual, sensuous, or bodily pleasure. When Altoon came of age as an artist in the 1950s, abstract expressionism was the dominant mode of painting in the United States. In this work he counters its high-minded rhetoric of inner turmoil and anxious struggle with a more casual, even cartoonish, painterly engagement.