Glenn Dixon

  • Left: Larry Rivers, The Greatest Homosexual, 1964, oil, collage, and pencil on canvas, 80 x 61“. Right: Larry Rivers, Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1953, oil, graphite, and charcoal on linen, 83 x 111”.

    Larry Rivers

    When Barbara Rose started shopping the idea of a Larry Rivers retrospective, MoMA and the Whitney turned her down. She ended up at the Corcoran, and it’s a perfect fit. I’d guess that outside Washington the Corcoran is still thought of as home to the knuckle-under specialists who lost their nerve over Mapplethorpe; despite braver leadership since 1989, it nevertheless often appears as though the museum is attempting to cozy up to risk without getting into any real trouble.

    With “Larry Rivers: Art and the Artist,” the Corcoran hangs its hopes on an enfant terrible who’s pushing eighty, sporting

  • Sean Scully

    Before this retrospective I had never thought of Sean Scully’s painting as particularly controversial. But both the artist’s conversation and his admirers’ writing return to a defensive posture sufficiently often that Victoria Combalia begins her catalogue essay by noting this habit, which she explains as a craving to counter charges of conservatism levied by “those who, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, think in terms of progress in modern art.”1 This is a weird beast to have to slay. Still, the weapon Scully draws against it strikes me as equally odd. Scully is aware that the qualities