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Garry Kennedy: Painting Painting Itself

DOES IT MAKE SENSE TO speak of “post-Conceptual art”? Is the new painting of the ’70s a return to the old painting of the ’60s—or has it been transformed by the lesson of radical alternatives? Was there something wrong with painting before?—or with Conceptual art? It would be a disservice to perpetuate an awkward term by compounding it. The facts may not even sustain belief in any general revival in the art of painting. Yet just asking such questions puts Garry Kennedy’s work in perspective. He began as a painter, but there was a phase of conceptual experimentation. Kennedy’s new paintings necessitate an understanding of at least some conceptual strategies, but they manage to read as an endorsement of the tradition of painting—as well as of the conceptual alternative.

In practice, this all has more to do with the person he is than with what he thinks about art. At the point where Conceptual

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