Critics’ Picks

Dr. Lakra, Untitled, 2003.

Dr. Lakra, Untitled, 2003.

New York

“Deliver Us from Evil”

Matthew Marks Gallery
523 West 24th Street, 522 West 22nd Street, and 526 West 22nd Street
July 8–August 20, 2004

Most of these artists have been accused of delivering people into evil rather than from it: R. Crumb, with his sex- and drug-addled comics; Jake and Dinos Chapman, represented here by a comically grotesque coloring book; even Honoré Daumier, who was jailed for two years in the 1830s for his incendiary caricatures. Add to these Dr. Lakra, a Mexican artist who decorates vintage pinup posters with raucous tattoos and applies his stylus to plastic drinking cups and Tupperware, and Keegan McHargue, a young San Franciscan whose figures look like a psychedelic cross between Art Deco dandies and Aztec warriors, and you have a bizarrely eclectic lineup. What binds these works on paper together is that the artists are all invested in “subverting social norms” (as the press release puts it). And there are plenty of subversive pleasures to be had, such as the devilish perversity of showing etchings by the Chapmans, who scandalized purists by defacing prints from Goya’s series “Disasters of War,” alongside lithographs by another politically engaged nineteenth-century artist. With plenty of virtuosic draftsmanship on view—Crumb’s and Lakra’s, in particular—the show skirts sensationalism by forcing viewers to slow down and examine things. It’s a rewarding exercise in concentrated looking.