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BEDSIDE MANNER: DAVID REED

Every theory of painting is a metaphysics.

—Merleau-Ponty

The artist and dealer Nicholas Wilder once mentioned to David Reed that paintings by John McLaughlin were often moved by their owners into their bedrooms, as if the works somehow seduced them into more intimate relations. For Reed, his mentor’s anecdote was a revelation: A “bedroom painter” was what he had always aspired to be. At the very least this reveals that, though an abstractionist, he was not a formalist, since, however formally impressive his paintings, they are meant to beckon viewers to an almost erotic colloquy, as with Mary and the Angel of the Annunciation.

Not long after Wilder made his comment, Reed staged “Two Bedrooms in San Francisco,” an exhibition for which he modified clips from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 Vertigo by inserting images of his own paintings into the bedrooms of the film’s two main characters, Judy and

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