Frankenthaler’s art prompts new take on history at the Rose

Gagosian Gallery

Carrie Moyer’s “Four Dreams in an Open Room.”

WALTHAM — In May 1957, Life magazine published a photo spread headlined “Women Artists in Ascendance.” The Life article is the opening gambit in “Pretty Raw: After and Around Helen Frankenthaler,” a revisionist examination of painting from the 1950s to the present day, opening at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University on Feb. 11.

The story led with a full-page photo of Frankenthaler. In it, she’s seated — either on a painting, or on a drop cloth; it’s a sea of blue — in a neat pink blouse and a white skirt, her legs neatly tucked beneath her. She’s young and attractive. But there’s something defiant, something fed up, about her gaze.

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