Edward Hopper at The Whitney Museum of American Art

[Photograph of Edward Hopper]George Platt Lynes, Edward Hopper (1950), silver gelatin print; courtesy The Archives of American Art

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Edward Hopper (1882-1967) is a vexing case.  As his imagery becomes more entrenched in the American psyche, as it gains in popularity and ubiquity, the more inscrutable–the more lean and astringent, elusive and tensile–Hopper’s vision becomes. He’s our most accessible inaccessible artist. Hopper will never be a great painter on the scale of Mondrian, from whom the dour American cadged a few compositional tics, but the work continues to gain in stature all the same.  The Whitney’s current Hopper show is as good an opportunity as any to ponder his essential strangeness, as well as to drag this out of the archives.

© 2010 Mario Naves

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