New York

Nicholas Krushenick

Pace | 32 East 57th Street

Nicholas Krushenick clearly is an artist of slick professionalism yet, within the larger issues of present-day pictorial consideration, the deficiencies of his pictures grow more palpably visible than his once self-evident virtues. Krushenick’s assorted vestiges of the Pop campaign—word balloons, lightning flashes—are inflated to the scale of history painting, and in their inflation more glaringly reveal the current balefulness, albeit gaiety, of his production. More than in any previous exhibition does Krushenick’s work appear to be a contingency of Roy Lichtenstein’s.

The new compositions are bright, simple and obdurate. Their mechanistic gag contours veer toward dogtooth configurations and avoid the more supple curvatures of two seasons back. At that time one suspected that Krushenick had peered into the vortex of Lichtenstein’s balls of twine for the source of his art-nouveauish twisted sinews. Now Krushenick appears to have turned to the Lichtensteins of the POW explosions in baked enamel for his current shapes and hardness, while, as before, rejecting Lichtenstein’s object identifiability. The general drift leads to several works which emphasize a diagonal composition. But here, too, the diagram appears to refer to Lichtenstein’s recent “canvas stretcher” series in which the subject of the painting is the struts and supports of the obverse face.

Krushenick, of course, emphatically rejects Lichtenstein’s literalism in favor of abstract patterns but still the derivation seems quite clear. Last, the current bluntness, the clean, firemanly range of poster colors, the occasional optical illusion and shaped support, the unflinchingly anonymous character, the Ernie Bushmillerishness of its comedy, and a resolute decorativeness, all conspire to evoke a thirtyish nostalgia which Lichtenstein too had earlier staked out as his province. But, then again, were Nancy ever really to capitulate to Sluggo, I suppose that they would make it behind a Krushenick.

Robert Pincus-Witten