Christopher Knight


Any number of satisfying and significant shows scanned global art history, up to and including artists whose mature work began to develop in the ’50s (such as Jasper Johns and Ellsworth Kelly). But most memorable 1996 museum exhibitions kept their distance from work by younger artists, about which we lately seem rather reticent. Maybe that’s why the knockout midcareer survey of LARI PITTMAN’s brash, queer, in-your-face paintings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art seemed doubly vivifying: flat-out artistic confidence is in otherwise short supply these days. Since 1985 Pittman has made boisterously decorative, demandingly beautiful, generously information-laden paintings; in turn, they have made him arguably the most important painter of his generation (he’s forty-four). Pittman’s politically and aesthetically astute pictures surreptitiously colonized the museum’s

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