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Roberta Smith did this with Steven Parrino’s death notice as well–managed to convey her boredom and a faint whiff of disapproval in a forum where it’s not appropriate. I mean, the guy’s dead, he is now beyond the iron grip of the Times’ judgment. Grimes’ term “high modernist” is a better way to describe Noland–to me “formalist” carries the implication of pedantry. What’s more annoying about Smith using that word to describe him, though, is the “perhaps to his detriment” without any explanation. Detriment in Smith’s mind certainly. The ultimate detriment will be if later artists see nothing inspiring in his work, and that has proven not to be the case again and again during Smith’s tenure (everything from Neo Geo to Monique Prieto to Marc Handelman shows the influence of Noland’s school, even if it is ironic.)

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