Harvey Quaytman and social justice

Andrew Russeth, the editor of GalleryistNY, highlights his favourite passage from our new Quaytman book
For Sonia Delaunay (1991) - Harvey Quaytman
For Sonia Delaunay (1991) - Harvey Quaytman

We're huge fans of the New York Observer's dedicated arts site, GalleristNY. So, it is nice to see that the feeling is mutual. GalleristNY's editor Andrew Russeth published a brief write-up of our new Harvey Quaytman book on the site yesterday. Russeth praised art historian Dore Ashton's introduction, the book's wide array of illustrations, as well as the more telling insights it offers, such as, interestingly, Quaytman's aversion to the colour green.


Moon Fancy (1969) - Harvey Quaytman
Moon Fancy (1969) - Harvey Quaytman

However it was an exchange between Quaytman and the Finnish artist and curator Kimmo Sarje that really appealed to Russeth. The book reproduces an interview conducted between the pair back in 1987. It is pretty wide ranging, yet it is this exchange, about painting and social justice, that Russeth liked and reproduced:

KS: "You said that you are more interested in values than the visual look of the artworks. How do you see the relation of your paintings to social values and criticism?"

HQ: "I'm interested in making paintings with a one hundred percent guarantee of moral integrity, which I think is the only contribution a painter can make to social justice. I mean, if you are able to concentrate everything you believe into your work, then it's ethically and socially valuable. The sense of integrity and avoidance of easy answers - these kind of paintings can be like moral signposts in society. The moral is the result of the aesthetics. When the aesthetic decisions are made with absolute integrity, then I hope they also have a moral resonance."


Swingline Grape (1965) - Harvey Quaytman
Swingline Grape (1965) - Harvey Quaytman

These feel like ephemeral concerns, in an age when hammer price dwarfs almost everything, so it is encouraging to hear how deeply ingrained moral justice is within Quaytman's hard-edged works. For more, go here, and to buy a copy of the book go here.

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