Now through July 29, the Pace Gallery on East 57th Street is presenting the work of abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning in The Figure: Movement and Gesture. The exhibition comprises nearly 40 paintings, drawings, and sculptures, including private loans and rare pieces, from the late ’60s through the late ’70s—a period in which his work evolved from figuration into abstraction and then into sculpture.
The artist de Kooning approached the human form from all angles. He was known to contort his own body while painting to convey motion in flat figures, and to blur the distinction between figure and landscape. His painting Woman (1969)—on view for the first time in New York—exemplifies these qualities: the figure emerges from a pale background to reveal limbs swinging out from a central axis. The artist creates a similar effect in the sculpture Hostess (1973), in which he pinches and molds wet clay around a wire armature. (212.421. 3292, www.thepacegallery.com)