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Robert Ryman
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Adopting as her lodestar the artist's assertion that the question that engages him is not what to paint but how to paint, Suzanne Hudson incisively addresses 'meaning insofar as it attends method' in Ryman's work over the past five decades. As she explores the extraordinary level of formal invention he has brought to bear on this bedeviling question, she persuasively grounds his practice in a form of Dewey-derived Pragmatism, and thereby brilliantly circumvents the twin shoals of 'antiaesthetic historicism and anticonceptual hedonism' on which most previous commentators have foundered. -- Lynne Cooke, curator, DIA Art Foundation This is an indispensable study of Ryman's painting, distinguished by its brilliant and original analysis of Ryman's pragmatism. Hudson pries Ryman's work from the silent critical interstices to which it has too often been relegatedstuck between warring critical parties; pinched between postwar art movements that cannot securely encompass it. In doing so, she reveals the non-interchangeable specificity of each and every Ryman painting, showing how each emerges from its own procedural and material moment, how each has a history even as each refuses to contribute to traditional art-historical narrative. -- Jennifer L. Roberts, Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University In Robert Ryman: Used Paint, Suzanne P. Hudson detaches the painter's 'white' paintings from the usual stylistic and polemical framings. Her focus is Ryman's practice (its recycling and recombination of the painter's concerns: support, paint, edge, wall) and its emergence in the pedagogical milieu of modernism's temple, the Museum of Modern Art. Hudson's Ryman is both pragmatic and pragmatist, a devotee of Dewey and James, D'Amico and Barr: a Ryman for whom idea and action, the what and how of painting, are inextricable terms. In these pages we encounter a Ryman who staves off doubt through the assertion of belief, a belief in painting not as medium or essence but as a cognitive and bodily activity. Her account persuades. -- James Meyer, Winship Distinguished Associate Professor of Art History, Emory University

About the Author

Suzanne Hudson is Associate Professor of Art History and Fine Art at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Robert Ryman: Used Paint (MIT Press) and Painting Now.

Reviews

"Adopting as her lodestar the artist's assertion that the question that engages him is not what to paint but how to paint, Suzanne Hudson incisively addresses 'meaning insofar as it attends method' in Ryman's work over the past five decades. As she explores the extraordinary level of formal invention he has brought to bear on this bedeviling question, she persuasively grounds his practice in a form of Dewey-derived Pragmatism, and thereby brilliantly circumvents the twin shoals of 'antiaesthetic historicism and anticonceptual hedonism' on which most previous commentators have foundered."--Lynne Cooke, curator, DIA Art Foundation "In Used Paint, Suzanne P. Hudson detaches the painter's 'white' paintings from the usual stylistic and polemical framings. Her focus is Ryman's practice (its recycling and recombination of the painter's concerns: support, paint, edge, wall) and its emergence in the pedagogical milieu of modernism's temple, the Museum of Modern Art. Hudson's Ryman is both pragmatic and pragmatist, a devotee of Dewey and James, D'Amico and Barr: a Ryman for whom idea and action, the what and how of painting, are inextricable terms. In these pages we encounter a Ryman who staves off doubt through the assertion of belief, a belief in painting not as medium or essence but as a cognitive and bodily activity. Her account persuades."--James Meyer, Winship Distinguished Associate Professor of Art History, Emory University -- James Meyer "In Robert Ryman: Used Paint, Suzanne P. Hudson detaches the painter's 'white' paintings from the usual stylistic and polemical framings. Her focus is Ryman's practice (its recycling and recombination of the painter's concerns: support, paint, edge, wall) and its emergence in the pedagogical milieu of modernism's temple, the Museum of Modern Art. Hudson's Ryman is both pragmatic and pragmatist, a devotee of Dewey and James, D'Amico and Barr: a Ryman for whom idea and action, the what and how of painting, are inextricable terms. In these pages we encounter a Ryman who staves off doubt through the assertion of belief, a belief in painting not as medium or essence but as a cognitive and bodily activity. Her account persuades." James Meyer , Winship Distinguished Associate Professor of Art History, Emory University

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