Will Barnet on Artists Flinging Paint Around

Still from “Will Barnet, Male and Female, 1954” (Courtesy WhitneyFocus)

Today, we were tickled by this video of painter Will Barnet talking about his 1954 painting Male and Female, which was posted by WhitneyFocus in anticipation of the artist’s inclusion in the Whitney’s “Signs and Symbols” show opening on June 28. The exhibition was organized by Donna De Salvo, chief curator and deputy director for programs, in collaboration with Jane Panetta.

We enjoyed hearing the painter, who turned 100 last year talk about the “powerful vertical expansion” and the “horizontal push” that characterize the structure his abstract work Male and Female. But his description of painters that bring to mind the Abstract Expressionists most warmed our hearts.

“The structure of a painting was very important to me,” says Mr. Barnet, “more than it was to the artists who were flinging paint around. And, I mean, they really were flinging paint. You go to an artist’s studio and the whole place is a mess.”