PRINT December 2009

Matthew Higgs


1 Don Bachardy (Cheim & Reid, New York) Bachardy’s wrenching, nearly life-size drawings of Christopher Isherwood, his partner for more than thirty years, were made shortly before the celebrated writer succumbed to cancer in 1986. Simultaneously portraits of life and reflections on the imminence of death, Bachardy’s rarely seen and profoundly observed images of the ailing Isherwood are, to my mind, among the most poignant and emotionally complex works of the twentieth century.

2 James Castle (Philadelphia Museum of Art) Organized by Ann Percy, this exhilarating retrospective provided a unique opportunity to fully consider one of America’s most idiosyncratic self-taught artists. Castle (1899–1977) was born profoundly deaf; he had little schooling and no artistic training. Working with found and improvised materials—a combination of soot and spit was his preferred medium—he created

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