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Belly Laughs and Haunting Beauty

Much has already been said about George Condo's retrospective Mental States at the New Museum. His riff on old master painting styles -- the likes of Goya, Velázquez, Picasso, and the Surrealists -- is wonderful madness. The regal subjects of Condo's imaginary portraits are oblivious to their bizarreness, driven to madness by a crazed world.

Divided into four sections -- Portraiture, Melancholia, Manic Society, and Abstraction -- this survey brings together over 80 paintings and shinny gold-coated bronze heads (which reminded me of Jeff Koons's Michael Jackson and Bubbles sculpture). I've been a fan of Condo's work for some time: he's a very good painter and when he nails his subjects you can't help the belly laugh. Several broke out in the galleries the day I visited, and that's all too rare and wonderful.

Another retrospective at the New Museum, that couldn't be more removed from Condo, is that of Lynda Benglis,. Benglis, whose career began in the 60s and 70s, creates work out of pigmented latex, cast aluminum, and phosphorous pigmented polyurethane.

Those tongue-twisting materials were at the time all new inventions of modern science, and Benglis boldly experimented with all of it. Luckily the curators have laid out a thoughtful, well-designed exhibit. With the cast aluminum shape titled Wing, it's at times a gravity-defying installation.

And lucky for me, Stephen Haller extends his shows a bit longer, as I wanted a second look at Linda Stojak's ghostly images. The solitary female figures that inhabit Stojak's canvases captivate. These dignified souls have had untold experiences, of which the lush complex painting surfaces are clues.


makati condo said...

Beautiful place. Great artworks too.

Deirdre G

Mark Barry said...

Indeed Deirdre

Mark Barry said...

Indeed Deirdre