New York

Jim Dine

Pace Gallery

Jim Dine’s new paintings are very ugly. This is best said at the outset because I do not want to seem to equivocate about them out of deference to his reputation. Nevertheless, Dine has been an outstanding, highly intelligent artist through most of his career, and I would like to be able to think of his new pictures at least as steps in a good direction.

All of them are still lifes, composed mostly of the classic still-life elements—vases, bottles, glasses and fruit. These objects are extremely abundant: there are more than fifty in one painting. Amid the swarm one can sometimes find a grisly item: a skull, a severed hand, a snake. At places in each picture they all merge together glutinously, for few are rendered as hard, tangible objects. The colors which suffuse them all are at once ethereal and gaudy, and Dine’s fruit and vessels mostly hover in a cloud of such colors. Except for an

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