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New exhibition opens Saturday at MOCA: ‘It’s about rendering an emotional response’
The feature exhibit, “Abstraction Over Time: The Paintings of Michael Goldberg,” opens Saturday at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
There are 38 paintings in the exhibition, many of which have never before been seen by the public.
Michael Goldberg’s “Chic Web,” 1979, bronze powder and pigment with alkyd spray on canvas.
"Abstraction Over Time: The Paintings of Michael Goldberg," the new feature exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, traces six decades of work by one of America's significant post-World War II painters.

So why have you probably never heard of him?

"I think he was underappreciated as a 20th-century figure. He is definitely one of the major abstract expressionists of the mid-20th century," said Ben Thompson, MOCA curator. "It's hard to know why artists don't get recognition."

The exhibition traces the evolution of Goldberg's work from 1947 through 2007, the year he died.

Of the 38 paintings in the exhibition, 10 are loaned from private and institutional collections, with the remainder loaned from Goldberg's estate. Many of the works have never before been seen by the public.

Thompson said Goldberg's work is remarkable not only for his 60-year progression of styles, but also for its accessibility. While the paintings are not renderings, the exhibit includes landscapes, figure studies and architectural themes.

"Whereas they are abstract paintings, they have references to something tangible. But as with all abstract artists, it's not about rendering a scene, it's about rendering an emotional response from the viewer," said Thompson.

To complement the exhibition, MOCA will present "Red," the 2010 Tony Award-winning play about a period in the life of abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko. Goldberg took over Rothko's studio in New York City after Rothko committed suicide in 1970 and was influenced by his work.

The production is directed by Ian Mairs and is scheduled for three performances Sept. 25-27. Café Nola at MOCA is offering a three-course dinner before each performance with a menu inspired by Rothko's work.

New York-based independent curator and art critic Karen Wilkin will present Oct. 24 "Michael Goldberg in Context," a lecture about Goldberg's work and the work of his contemporaries in New York City.

"Abstraction over Time" opens to the public at 11 a.m. Saturday and will be in the museum's third-floor gallery through Jan. 5.

For more information about the exhibit, the associated programs and MOCA membership opportunities, visit mocajacksonville.org.

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