PRINT May 1999


Gary Hume has created a New Look for painting with the satin-gloved fist of a militant. “New Look” capitalized, because of its contagious fashionability: The devotional appeal of his nullified subjects, from the quizzical doors of the late ’80s and early ’90s to the more recent Pop-ish figures and slivers of freeze-framed landscape, has made its inexorable way westward from London to Los Angeles, which at present is witnessing a burgeoning painting style whose abstracted attitude and offhand panache seem indebted to Hume’s nacreous palette and freedom with regard to subject.

I say “satin” rather than the usual velvet, because of the chill gloss of the Humean surface. The all-but-abstract paintings of doors—generic, mute portals—were so shiny you could see yourself coming and going in them. To the mildly depressed New York art sector, circa 1992, they looked like just what the doctor

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