John Ashbery’s tribute to Jane Freilicher

Freilicher-2John Ashbery at Poetry Magazine:

I met Jane Freilicher the day I arrived in New York in the summer of 1949, just after I graduated from college and decided to move here on the advice of my friendKenneth Koch. He was away at the time but said I could stay in his apartment until he got back. I could pick up the key from Jane, who lived on the floor above his. Thus I found myself ringing the bell of a not very prepossessing-looking small loft building on Third Avenue near 16th Street. Jane came down to let me in and invited me up for coffee. I think that was the first time 
I saw her paintings, though it might have been slightly later. In any case, 
I wasn’t terribly interested in contemporary painting then, and 
I have only a vague memory of some partly geometric, partly loose semi-abstract landscapes. I certainly wasn’t aware that the year 1949 was going to be a momentous one, not just for me, but for American art, which had been slowly coming to a boil for several years thanks to the efforts of de Kooning, Kline, Pollock, Motherwell, and a handful of other revolutionary geniuses. It was in 1949 that LIFE magazine, unwillingly no doubt, tipped the balance in their favor with a splashy article about Pollock, topped with a half-sarcastic, half-serious headline: “Is he America’s greatest living painter?”

more here.

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