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the broad

Untitled [New York City]

Cy Twombly
1953
oil based house paint and wax crayon on canvas
52 x 52 in. (132.08 x 132.08 cm)

Cy Twombly, Untitled New York City, 1953

 

NARRATOR

This is one of the earliest works in Cy Twombly's career: "Untitled, New York City 1953."

 

In the early 50s, Cy Twombly got a grant to study abroad. And kind of mischievously, he divided the grant with Robert Rauschenberg and they traveled together, to Rome and Morocco to study art, essentially.

 

And that was really a point of genesis for Twombly's work. He's looking at so many different aspects inside of Morocco, from its history to its ziggurats to its eroticism. And when he gets back to New York, he makes a series of paintings including the painting in this room "Untitled: New York City 1953."

 

Those could be towers, those could be ziggurats, but they're also very much phalluses. And you can see that finding its way into the sculptures that he would make over the next 40 years. So many of the ideas inside of the sculptures in this room are very erotic, thinking about deep myths of fertility that you find inside of cultures from all over the world. And so that painting really works together with these sculptures in the room to dazzling effect, I think.