The Easel

Shades of White

The impact of some paintings is immediate but others shout quietly. Robert Ryman’s white paintings are in the latter category. With white, he claims, “you can see more of a nuance; you can see more.” The reviewer thinks these are classical paintings but frets “The mental toughness that defined sophistication in art [in the 1960’s] is rare now. [W]hat’s missing is a confident assumption that there will be an audience eager to put up with it.”