Critics’ Picks

Untitled (Girl Smoking), 2004.

New York

Joe Andoe

Kinz, Tillou + Feigen
529 West 20th Street, 11th Fl.
April 1–May 15, 2004

The shadow of Larry Clark looms large over this exhibition of Joe Andoe’s recent paintings. Clark’s seminal photographs are echoed in Andoe’s wall text describing his own upbringing on the east side of Tulsa, where the kids would hang out in cars near the highway to “get high, talk shit or have sex.” This kind of mythologizing might, under different circumstances, undermine the work itself. But Andoe’s monochrome oil paintings of girls, cars, and road-creased horizons are complemented by his affectless tough-guy prose (“We all took pride in our cars and motorcycles. . . . But our predators were the police and car crashes”). Together, words and images paint a picture of Tulsa that is bleak yet imbued with grungy American romanticism. While Clark’s photos of druggy-sexy teens had the aura of historical documents when they infiltrated visual culture in the '90s, Andoe’s paintings seem to straddle past and present, proving that some things—like ennui in the heartland—are truly timeless.