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Barnett Newman

Untitled (The Cry)

1946

Untitled (The Cry) features a vertical band masked out from the ink wash that saturates the paper ground. This and related drawings were precursors to Barnett Newman’s Zip paintings, monochrome canvases, each of which feature a piece of masking tape placed dead center, running vertically from top to bottom. The Zip paintings were breakthrough works for the artist, who stated: “The thing I feel in relation to these paintings is that they are more removed, or most removed, from the problem of association with biomorphic or abstract shapes or any other kind of thing.”

Barnett Newman (b. 1905, New York; d. 1970, New York)
Untitled (The Cry), 1946
Brush and ink on paper
36 x 24 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Bequest of Marcia Simon Weisman

I feel that my zip does not divide my paintings. I feel it does the exact opposite. It does not cut the format in half or in whatever parts, but it does the exact opposite: it unites the thing. —Barnett Newman