New York

Elke Solomon

Droll/Kolbert Gallery

Using an artist’s previous work as a standard to gauge the success of present work is a common critical misstep. The dialectic of new work vis-à-vis earlier pieces is better the province of a monograph. The product of a vigorous coupling between dominant culture and personal expression, art is properly criticized when it is seen, at the same time, as a cultural artifact and an object for delectation. This month’s shows included new work by several artists who’ve been around.

Although performance art generally is given a birthdate roughly coincident with that of Dada, many overlook that performance has the longest lineage of any art form, ranging from Socrates to Laurie Anderson. Twentieth-century performance has found inspiration in dance, music, cabaret and theatre, but no one to my knowledge has ever before found inspiration in talk-show schtick. Elke Solomon does. An accomplished painter,

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