New York

James Rosenquist

Castelli Gallery | Uptown

At Castelli James Rosenquist showed two new large multi-paneled paintings in the same space, occupied by his Horizon; Home Sweet Home late last spring. The new paintings, like Horizon, incorporate panels of stretched mylar, here flanking the assembled panels of images which cover opposite walls. The new paintings seem to be about taking the notion of artistic feedback with Pop liberal-mindedness. The real space of the room is visually turned into the funhouse space of Rosenquist’s paintings largely by there being nothing much to look at other than the paintings and their and one’s own distorted reflections. The mylar panels produce visual parodies of stripe painting and lyrical abstraction, partly incidentally and partly due to the design of the painted panels. The implication seems to be that abstraction is easy and making images difficult.

The situation of the viewer within the painting is the most literal way of forcing the question of how someone who takes this as a painting ought to take himself. A great deal is implied simply by the ability to read an image as an image; the political and sexual motifs in Rosenquist’s work seem to be tied to the image as an instrument of power. Perhaps only a Pop painter could successfully make paintings that would raise the question of what sort of reality paintings have for us now.

Kenneth Baker