New York

Jennifer Bartlett

Paula Cooper Gallery | 529 West 21st Street

When Leonard Bernstein was lecturing on a passage from Beethoven, he said, “You see, it is a model of the mind.” Jennifer Bartlett’s Rhapsody is a series of almost a thousand one-foot-square paintings on white enameled 16-gauge steel. It covered three walls of the gallery. The medium is the lacquer that is used on plastic model kits. The work is meant to be read from top to bottom, row by row from left to right, and the whole arrangement requires that one read it this way. I started taking notes on the number of motifs and the changes they went through and found that only by following the prescribed reading could I make the changes work.

Getting back to the “model of the mind”; how does Bartlett’s mind work? She seems both obsessive and detached. Her themes are both images and shapes. The images are the mountain, the house, the tree and the ocean. The shapes are grids, dots, lines (straight,

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