PRINT November 1995


FROM FRANK STELLA’S fat and fucked-up objets de hood to the highly caffeinated überabstractions of artists like David Reed, Fiona Rae, and Fabian Marcaccio, ultraneurotic painting continues to make the global rounds. In a quest for true emptiness, every conceivable nonrepresentational utterance—whether the hand of the artist is manifestly present or totally absent (well, how did those brush strokes get there, Doctor?)—has been well rehearsed, walked through, and played out. Sure, the fate of contemporary painting is sublime/tragic: painting as painting, or painting as “painting” (the canvas as Philosophy 101), has been the meat and potatoes of paint culture ever since Barnett Newman brought the medium to its knees. Simply setting out to paint a great picture, is what? too easy? impossible? old hat? romantic?

Articulating reality was once a decent enough pursuit. It still is, depending on

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