The Art Newspaper
Benjamin Sutton & Gabriella Angeleti, January 14, 2022
From an artist couple’s colourful daring at the Museum of Arts and Design to the last chance to see Alexander Calder at the Museum of Modern Art
Alice Trumbull Mason: Shutter Paintings
Until 22 January at Washburn Gallery, 177 Tenth Avenue, Manhattan
More than five decades since the Whitney Museum of American Art mounted a posthumous retrospective devoted to the late abstract painter and printmaker Alice Trumbull Mason, the artist’s work is being revisited in an exhibition that aims to recontextualize her as a pioneer of American abstraction, whose work was overshadowed by that of her male peers. The daughter of the Neoclassicist painter John Trumbull, known for his patriotic depictions of the American Revolution and its political figures, Mason was an early advocate for abstraction. Alongside Josef Albers, she co-founded the American Abstract Artists group in 1936 but, although well-connected in the art world, received little recognition. The “shutter paintings” on view, painted following the death of her son and heightened struggles with alcoholism, comprise vertical, rhythmic stripes of colour. Several pieces by the artist are also featured in a small exhibition at the Whitney titled Labyrinth of Forms: Women and Abstraction, 1930-1950 (until 13 March)—a show named after a work by Mason that profiles abstract women artists whose contributions have been previously overlooked.