previews

San Francisco

Wayne Thiebaud

Legion of Honor
100 34th Avenue
June 10–September 3

How come a Norman Rockwell retrospective occasions gasps and sneers, but the upcoming Wayne Thiebaud survey (eighty works from the ‘50s on) provokes nary a hiccup? You say Norm's an “illustrator.” Thiebaud isn't? You say Rockwell's work is sentimental Americana. Well, take another gander at Thiebaud's pies, sundaes, and high-school football stars. You say Rockwell painted thin in antique-shop pales, while Thiebaud lays it on thick, creamy, and bright. Hmmm. And, you say, Thiebaud's timing was counterintuitively impeccable: After all, he did create his cuddly version of academic realism in the teeth of Warhol's acid Pop and Judd's ’ airless Minimalism. OK, now you're talkin'!