PRINT May 2000


Call it the mind/body problem. If I were preparing a slide comparison for class, I probably wouldn’t pair Jasper Johns and Lisa Yuskavage. He is a notably cerebral artist who traffics in reflexive visual puns and sets up intricate perceptual conditions. She is all T&A, turning to cultural flashpoints to make her trademark fleshpots. But, just as Johns reveals erotic subject matter on closer examination, a roomful of Yuskavages reveals what you would more likely expect from Johns—meaning of a deeply hermetic sort, much of it linked to formal features. Despite the fact that she is often saddled with some variation of the “bad girl” title—a mantle she shares with Cecily Brown and Sue Williams—Yuskavage has traced and played with a more complex set of issues that bridge the material, the personal, and the art historical.

In the wake of the harsh reception of Yuskavage’s 1990 solo debut, figures

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