Gary Kornblau


LARI PITTMAN’s midcareer survey, the brainstorm of curator Howard Fox at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, was the highlight of the Los Angeles summer—and but for the timidity of museum directors, it could have been the highlight of the fall in Manhattan. As things stand, however, it just might signify the fall of Manhattan—or at least a failure of nerve on the part of its cultural arbiters—since this exhibition confirms what many have suspected for some time: Lari Pittman is the painter of his generation. Buzzing crowds filled the LACMA galleries for the length of its run, as queers, feminists, postmodernists, multiculturalists, WASPs, Euro jet-setters, and local boosters alike all shouldered one another aside to claim him for their own. But finally, it’s the full-tilt complexity of Pittman’s work—its viability as adult entertainment—that empowers its ethnopolitical

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