All My Bags Are Packed, I’m Ready to Go

big things get stuffed in small “suitcase paintings.”

Franz Kline, Untitled, c. 1958, oil on collage on paper laid down on canvas, 17 3/8 x 14 7/8 inches © 2007 The Franz Kline Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York, collection of Art Enterprises, Ltd., Chicago.

Can the heroic grandiosity of abstract expressionism be compacted into a miniature? Yes. In the Suitcase Paintings exhibition at LUMA, works that typically overwhelm us with scale are brought down to size. No painting is over nineteen inches. Being brought down to size, however, only intensifies the power of each painting. The suitcases become compartments of transformation. Packed into smaller spaces, the bold strokes, drips, dashes, swirls, and layers of paint suggest a journey to some larger infinite realm: ideas, emotions, and sensations lurk in darkened corners, folded up and crammed in, ready to be unfurled in full at some future destination.

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