New York

Philip Pearlstein

Frumkin Gallery

There is a defiant didacticism to Philip Pearlstein’s paintings which I think I would find less offensive if I could draw some kind of nourishment from them. But I can’t. Seeing a group of Pearlstein’s nudes left me with the indefinable feeling of seeing a group of non-paintings, that is, Pearlstein’s repeated and emphatic presentation of a fastidiously doctored verisimilitude forced me to dwell on that and nothing else. It is not a verisimilitude which ultimately, I feel, answers to Pearlstein’s felt response to what he sees, but one which fairly evidently answers to some sort of posture he has adopted about a representation of nudeness in contemporary life. (His portraits pose other problems which I shall get to.)

Pearlstein chooses to present his models close up, closed off within the shallow confines of an obliquely angled wall and a tipped floor plane, flesh bleached, denatured almost,

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