Robert Rosenblum


Now that Beauty is back, I don’t have a moment’s hesitation about the year’s best: ANDY WARHOL’s Rorschach paintings at Gagosian. This time round, they took even more of my breath away, confirming how huge canvases can still thrill us with both gorgeous, tapestry-like patterns and mysterious densities that, in a perfect tribute to their sources in the archaic days of psychobabble, trigger fantasies about internalized emotions and body parts. Moreover, this particular vocabulary in Warhol’s language of “found abstraction” is amazingly Janus-faced, looking not only backward to the close precedent of Victor Hugo’s high-romantic, symmetrical ink-blot drawings of the 1850s and, a century later, to the macho rhetoric of the AbEx generation, but also forward to the lush, neo-Orientalist splendor of Philip Taaffe’s painted filigrees. Watershed masterpieces in the history of

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