new-york

Joe Brainard and Paul Thek

Multiple Galleries

In my criticism I have tried to avoid merely gratuitous observations—for reasons that are evident, not the least of them being the futile vanity inherent in calling shots. Still, I would like to record my negative response to the recent exhibitions of the work of Joe Brainard and Paul Thek if only because their present offerings may render doubtful the claims which have already been put forth in defense of these artists. Joe Brainard, some four or five years back, if I remember correctly, attracted the free spirits easily moved by the surrealizing poetics of accumulations of cheap manufactured religious gimcracks. Brainard assembled pious picture cards and poppit rosary beads with a neat eye for ironical pictorial contrasts and a perfect sense of bad taste, a taste which had grown out of the earlier Pop campaign and which was central to the Hippie and Love Child’s refusal to judge or be

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